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Cocktails with Chris

hosted by Christine Potter   //   Friday at 4p est

"I'm just a gal who likes to mix things up: music, strange cocktail ingredients, and a swanky Nick & Nora ambiance with old school free form rock and roll radio.  It's no secret that I'm a little obsessive about all things Robyn Hitchcock, but my husband's OK with it.  Besides, I end every Cocktails with Chris by standing next to one of the world's great pipe organs for a few minutes and subjecting my listeners to the sometimes-deafening results.  I promise you a tasty cocktail recipe every week, along with music that starts with The Comedian Harmonists, careens through psych and prog rock, and often smashes into the shoals of roots and jazz.  Not to mention a sprinkling of indie pop, and Brit folk. Join me high atop the Potter building, in a swanky neighborhood near you." - cp

Thursday
Jul262012

Stormy Weather

Because my radio show happens Thursday late afternoons, I frequently seem to be competing with  heavy downpours and thunderstorms for my audience's attention during the summer.  The Hudson River Valley gets legendary t-storms; our topography makes thunder here sound like it does nowhere else.  Or to put it another way, I really believed my grandfather all those years ago when he told me not to be scared, that it was just the elves bowling.  Our thunder rooooolllss, seeps in through studio walls, infiltrates the mic.  Like it's probably going to today. 

In fact, the other t-word, tornado (bah! GO AWAY, Tornado!) has been mentioned by a few weatherfolk in conjunction with this afternoon whilst yours truly will be hosting her show. 

So yeah, we've got to think (again) about Dark And Stormies.  A highball that comes to us from the cocktail-loving yachting community (now THAT'S swanky), it's easily made, tasty, and not uber-potent.  In short, a Dark And Stormy is not a bad thing even for a land-lubber pleased to have gotten home from her radio show without being pelted too hard with hail.

Two things, though: you HAVE to use Gosling's Rum. It is the DARK in Dark and Stormy. Myer's works in a pinch, but there's something charcoal-y about Goslings that makes this drink.  And you need decent ginger beer. Ginger ale won't cut it. Purists say to use Barritt's, although Fever Tree has its fans. Regatta brand is also good.  All three, by the way, can be got through Amazon if your local gourmet store or mega mart has let you down. Tonight, we're trying out Gosling's own ginger beer, which we've heard some buzz about. 

A further note: those of us who try to avoid sugar can buy diet Gosling's or Regatta ginger beer.  Can't speak to the Gosling's, but the Regatta diet brew is not bad.  Once you've put the black rum and a squeeze of lime in it, you won't taste the fake sugar, really.

So:

The Dark And Stormy

2 oz of Gosling's Dark Rum

a lime wedge

good ginger beer to taste

Build in a highball glass over ice cubes, squeezing the lime wedge in last and giving it a stir with a swizzle stick.  I usually toss the squeezed lime wedge into the drink, although some purists say this is revisionist.  I've also seen recipes that call for shaking the rum with some fresh lime juice over ice before building the drink, but I find that a little fussy. 

Cheers!  See you on the air at four--and let's hope no one gets a ride to Oz on a tornado!

 

Wednesday
Jul182012

Cukes, mint, gin!

If ONE more person takes a picture of his or her car thermometer measuring upwards of 96 degrees and posts it on the Facebooger, I'm gonna...um...well I oughta...TURN THE GARDEN HOSE ON 'IM (or 'ER)!

Have I mentioned it's still really hot and I'm getting kinda crabby?  Plus we're finally getting The Potter Building painted by an adorable and hard-working crew of nice local guys.  My heart goes out to them, laboring in this mean 'n' nasty HEAT!  But you know what painters do at 7 in the morning? Caaa-reeeek caaa-reek up go the scaffolds.  SCRAPEY SCRAPE goes the old paint off--right outside the bedroom window!  And my life turns into a Nick and Nora movie--not in a good way.  ("Nicky!  There's a MAN at the window!") 

Reality note: If you want a GREAT paint job, call Roy Wanamaker.  The early wake-ups will be good for you and cut down on your dern drinkin'!  Seriously, he rocks and his crew is delightful.  It's just...o...contractor's hours...

There may not be an app for all this, but there are a number of cocktails.  I've so far recommended beer, watermelon...and now I come across this in Imbibe magazine.  I'll quote the recipe as they ran it:

 

That Cucumber Cocktail

4 cucumber slices
3 mint sprigs
1 1/2 oz. gin
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1/2 oz. fresh lime or lemon juice
Ice cubes

SELTZER!!! **


Tools: shaker, muddler, strainer
Glass: wine
Garnish: cucumber slice and mint sprig

Muddle cucumber and mint in the bottom of a shaker. Add gin, syrup and lime juice. Shake with ice, strain into chilled wine glass (balloon red), top off with seltzer to taste, and garnish.

It's essentially a Tom Collins, served in a balloon red wine glass, with cuke and mint.  Refreshing, delicious, and just what the doctor ordered.  Don't forget the seltzer!!**  Shall we meet, say at 4PM on Thursday and have one?  See you on the air!

 

**Not in the Imbibe recipe, but really--a Collins sans seltzer?

Tuesday
Jul102012

It's Too DAMN HOT Watermelon Daiquiri

No sane person would think of drinking this except during a heat spell, but honestly, it's soothing and good.  Here's another recipe for when you have a bunch of folks over and need to make things by the pitcher.  It's a bit approximate, so adjust to your own taste.

Soothing, Cooling Watermelon Daiquiri For Extreme Heat (serves about four-six)

One quarter of a small seedless watermelon, cut away from its rind

about 9 or 10 oz white or amber rum (silver is good, as is Cuban-style amber)

1) Puree the above in a blender (you may have to do two batches)

2) Mix rum/melon mixture with the following in a pitcher big enough to hold it:

4 oz lime juice, freshly squeezed

2 (or a bit more) oz curacao or triple sec

3) Adjust the sweet/sour balance to your taste with a little more lime or liqueur.  Remember that this will be diluted with LOTS of ice cubes

4) Blender-freeze in two or three batches with as much ice as you can whirl into it and still get a nice slushy drink (don't make it too stiff or liquidy; if one batch is too loose, make the next icier).  Taste again for balance, and correct.  Pour into a big pitcher and put on a table in front of your overheated friends.  Garnish with mint.  Drink through those slender black straws from Ikea.  Also good in plastic highball glasses in the swimming pool. 

5) Drink.  Feel MUCH MUCH cooler.

 

See you on the air on Thursday at 4!

Thursday
Jul052012

A Cold One

Back when I was cooking for a living in my thirties, a gal pal of mine used to tend bar at a local watering hole known for its excellent jazz in the evenings.  I enjoyed many happy concerts there, but what I really liked was getting off work in the kitchen, changing out of my whites into my civvies, and stopping by that dark, deeply air-conditioned,  afternoon-quiet establishment for a really cold beer on the way home.  My quaff of choice was Rolling Rock. Back then, it was still made in those old glass-lined tanks of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. 

I like beer.  I used to love it.   As a youngling, I was very macho about what I drank.  Didn't want none of them girly lite brews (I still don't like them).  I used to order up the Guiness (which  I find still good in the winter) and the heavy Porters, and the hoppy hoppy microbrews with the funky names from little breweries.  Dabbled in the Belgians, which still taste like dessert to me. 

It was my true love Mr Potter who finally gave me permission to love the brew I enjoy the most: something like those long-ago Rolling Rocks, cold, golden, and to be savored in the heat of summer (or after the heat of a day spent over the giant Vulcan ranges of the joint where I once worked).  I don't want a lot of bitter hops.  I don't want grains of paradise, or odd flavorings, or raspberries.  Wheat beer is OK if it's on tap and there's a lemon slice to squeeze in.  Lager is what I'm talking about, crisp and dry.  And colder than you can dream of.

I'm done with the shaker for the week.  Tonight is for a bottle opener and a cold mug.  Cheers and see you on the air at 4!!!

Thursday
Jun282012

The Mojito, improved

The Mojito, once a rather exotic quaff, has become as commonplace as a Cosmo--especially in the summertime.  I burned out on the drink for a while because it was around so much on menus and at parties, but high atop the Potter Building, we DO have our usual Mint Problem this year.  The Mint Problem is that you can't grow just a little mint.  It grows so fast you can almost see it taking over your garden.  And lovely as it is in iced tea and tabouli, it's pretty hard to keep up with it.  There's always Too Much Mint. 

So around now, I usually drop my Mojito prejudice and make some.  Last night, I figured out how to properly do them more than one at a time, as in for a party or long cocktail hour with friends.  The following is a very lime-y take on the drink, a  wee bit bitter from the lime rinds' oil--and it uses LOTS of mint!

A Pitcher of Mojitos

(makes about seven)

In the bottom of a good-sized glass pitcher, muddle the following with a wooden spoon. Don't be delicate; it's OK to mash the stuff up.

The juice of five or six limes (you want about seven oz)

Two limes, skin on, sliced into thick-ish rings

A big bunch of garden mint, slug-free, carefully washed (only remove the tough ends of the stalks)

3 and a half oz or so (a little less or more to taste, but watch it 'cause this is sweeter than most simple syrup) medium agave syrup

then, add 12 to 14 oz of silver rum (I like 2 oz per drink)

Muddle a bit more.  Make sure the agave is mixed into the rum and juices.  Taste for balance and adjust with lime juice or agave. 

LET THIS SIT WHILE YOU MAKE COCKTAIL SNACKS.  Check the fridge to make sure you have lots of seltzer.

Then, after about a half hour, dump plenty of ice in the rum/mint/lime/agave mix and stir.  Offer people chilled Old-Fashioned or highball glasses (also with plenty of ice), and let them mix their own drinks with about half to two-thirds rum mix topped off with seltzer.  I like to scoop one of the muddled lime slices into my drink.  Garnish with mint springs.

 

See you on the air at four today!!