Speaking of my journey, partly as means of staying sane during the ongoing Coronavirus-related quarantine here in the States, I’ve been sharing drink recipes with my Facebook friends the last week. They’re a little overly explanatory if you’re used to drink-mixing steps and techniques, but I figure a little education never hurt (and I’m confident that I’ve got some stuff wrong or at least mixed up that could do with a good correcting!).
So, without further adieu, I present the first week of Armando Penblade’s #Quarantinis!
Tonight, two bracing drinks for a warm, lonely spring evening. First, the Elderflower Gimlet, a tangy, sweet gin cocktail with a heavy presence of floral notes and cucumber to cool it out.
The Elderflower Gimlet
- 1oz Lime Juice
- 1oz Elderflower Liqueur
- 2" piece Cucumber, chopped
- 1.5oz Gin (Hendricks is perfect, or your favorite London Dry)
- Ice to Shake
Muddle the cucumber with the lime juice and Elderflower liqueur in your cocktail tin. Add in the gin and ice to shake with, seal the tin, and shake vigorously until the tin is chilled, about ten or fifteen seconds. Double strain into a chilled coupe or Nick and Nora glass and serve up.
Next, the blackberry caipirinha, a fruity, tangy drink highlighting the sugarcane flavors of Brazil’s national beverage, cachaça. The fruit, citrus, and mint combine for a bright and refreshing drink that goes down very easily.
- 1/2oz Creme de Mure or Blackberry Liqueur (or Creme de Cassis in a pinch)
- 1/2oz Simple Syrup
- 1 Lime, rinsed and quartered
- 4-5 Blackberries, rinsed
- 6-8 Mint Leaves, plus more for garnish
- 2oz Cachaça (or your favorite Rum in a pinch)
- Cracked or Pebble Ice to Shake
Add the mint leaves to the shaker, then the lime, and then the blackberries. Pour in the creme de mure and simple syrup, then muddle well enough to break up the blackberries and extract juice from the limes, but try to avoid shredding the mint too badly. Add the cachaça and ice to shake with, seal the tin, and shake vigorously until the tin is chilled, about ten or fifteen seconds. Open pour into a double rocks glass, garnish with a sprig of mint (slapped or whacked lightly to enliven the natural oils), and serve with a straw.
Tonight, the simple margarita, in its most classic configuration. Bright, tangy, and highlighting the quality of your tequila.
- 3/4oz Lime Juice
- 1oz Orange Curaçao or Triple Sec
- 2oz Tequila (I went Blanco, but a Repasado is also very nice)
- Ice to Shake
Combine the lime juice, curaçao, tequila, and ice in your shaker tin and seal it shut. Shake vigorously until the outside of the tin is frosted over, about ten to fifteen seconds. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve up with a lime wedge garnish.
Optionally, you can run the lime wedge along the edge of half of the glass and press the outer side of the wetted glass into flaky salt.
Tonight’s #Quarantini is the classic Trader Vic’s Mai Tai, in many ways the progenitor cocktail of the tiki movement. Although the rum that Vic favored back in the day isn’t available anymore, this blend gets a pretty similar flavor - tangy-sweet with a bit of savory richness from the almond-derived orgeat and some good funky novelty from the Jamaican rum and grassy notes from the Rhum Agricole.
Trader Vic’s Mai Tai
- 1oz Lime Juice
- 1/2oz Orange Curaçao or Triple Sec
- 1/2oz Orgeat Syrup
- 1oz Aged Jamaican Rum (Appleton Estate is great here, but any flavorful aged rum works well)
- 1oz Martinique Rhum Agricole (Aged or white works well; if you lack that, feel free to just double the other rum you’re working with)
- Crushed or Pebble Ice to Shake and Serve
- Lime Wedge and Mint Sprig for Garnish
Combine the lime juice, curaçao, orgeat, rums, and a small scoop of ice to your shaker tin and seal it. Whip shake vigorously to froth the lime and dilute/chill, about ten to fifteen seconds.
Pour into a double rocks glass or tiki mug and fill/top with crushed ice to form a nice little snow cap if possible. Garnish with a lime wedge and a sprig of mint.
Tonight is the quintessential cocktail, the Old Fashioned. Crafted to replicate the “old style” of bitters-sugar-water-alcohol drinks in the mid 1800s when more complex drinks had come into popularity, it is a potent display of the flavors of your whiskey of choice, tempered by the grainy sweetness of the sugar and the complex spice of the bitters.
The Old Fashioned
- 1 Sugar Cube
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters (4 dashes from a Japanese-style dasher)
- Splash Regular or Soda Water
- 2oz Whiskey (usually Bourbon or Rye)
- Orange Twist and optional Maraschino Cherry for Garnish
- Ice to Stir
In a rocks glass (or your preferred mixing glass), muddle the sugar cube, bitters, and a small splash of soda water until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Pour in your bourbon and add one large rock of ice, or a few medium sized. Stir with a bar spoon until the glass is frosted and the dilution is to your preference.
If you used a stirring glass, use a strainer and pour over a rock of ice into a glass. Garnish with a spritz of orange oils from a thin strip of peel and, optionally, a maraschino cherry. Enjoy :-D
A little late, but tonight’s drink is the beloved Mojito. A classic rum sipper simply flavored with lime and mint. I’m working through my open bottle of soda water now, so expect at least a couple more fizzy drinks!
- 8-10 Mint Leaves
- 1/2 Lime, cut into Quarters
- 3/4oz Simple Syrup
- 2oz White Rum (Cuban is traditional, but I’m using this lovely Barbadian rum from Mount Gay tonight)
- Soda Water
- Ice to Stir and Serve
Put your mint leaves down into a tall narrow glass, like a Collins glass. Put the lime quarters on top of them. Add the simple syrup and muddle gently, pressing the lime juice out slowly while taking care not to rip up the mint, which can lend an unpleasantly vegetal flavor.
Add ice cubes and stir with a bar spoon until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Top with soda water and, optionally, use your spoon to arrange mint and lime amidst the piled ice in the glass. Serve!
Tonight, we’ve got the lovely Paloma cocktail. The so-called working man’s cocktail, the simplest versions come together in seconds. My take works with fresh ingredients for brighter flavors, highlighting the grapefruit.
- 1/2oz Lime Juice
- 2oz Grapefruit Juice
- 3/4oz Simple Syrup (up to 1oz if you want to balance the grapefruit’s natural bitterness with more sweetness)
- 2oz Tequila
- Ice to Shake and Serve
- Soda Water to Top
Combine the lime juice, grapefruit juice, and simple syrup in your shaker tin, along with the tequila and ice to shake. Seal the tin and shake vigorously until the tin is frosted and the drink is frothy.
In a tall glass with ice, add a little soda water at the bottom, about an ounce. Double strain in the cocktail to catch any bits of fruit pulp or seeds, then top with additional soda water. Serve!