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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
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!!

Thursday
Jun212012

The Orange Sunshine

Yes, that was a kind of LSD back in The Day.  Seems incredible to me that some of my generation's idea of a good time was to take a drug that they didn't know EXACTLY the effects of (but this batch is mellow, man) and then wait around for it to kick in.  Yikes. 

You see, this is the glory of cocktails: you DO know.  There's a recipe.  And they TASTE GOOD.

Now, acid flashbacks aside, I've always thought apricots were much sunshiney-er than oranges.  And with poor old Mr. Potter's nasty surgery on the cheek, we've had a lot of non-alcoholic fruit juices around for his cocktails these past couple of weeks.  Fear not, though: this is a "real" drink, and Mr. Potter, having received a clean bill of health from Doctor Snippy, is sipping along with us these nights.  I made this with Ceres Apricot Juice (which also contains a bit of pear juice).  Any good bottled or boxed apricot juice would work.

 

THE ORANGE SUNSHINE

1 and 1 half oz apricot juice

1 and 1 half oz silver rum (you can use amber, too)

about 3/4 of an oz lemon juice

1/2 to 3/4 of an oz apricot brandy (I used Apry), to taste

dash orange bitters

Shake hard over ice.   Strain into chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a pretty nasturtium flower from the garden. 

See you on the air today--Thursday--EARLY, at one, for a three-martini lunch!!

Wednesday
Jun132012

Dry Curacao (Ancienne Method, no less)

When I was honking around on drinkupNY.com a couple of weeks ago, looking for some blended Canadian rye I'd loved last summer, I came across so much goodness that I forgot about the rye, which I'll purchase the next time I'm feeling flush.  My chief distractor was Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao, a bottle that cocktail writer and historian David Wondrich had a hand in formulating.  It's supposed to be closer to what Curacao was in the 19th century than the sweeter stuff we know today, and it is that--and darned interesting, to boot. It's got all kinds of bittersweet, herbal stuff going on. Really, it's as complex as Cointreau, and lots of fun to mix with.

A few days after that, I happened upon a bottle of Vizcaya Cuban-style rum in a local booze-eria.  It's from the Dominican Republic.  I like it.  No, it's not my beloved Havana Club, but it does taste a bit like it.  I made a daiquiri-ish cocktail with the two bottles and some lime juice, in these proportions.  And because you do not even want to KNOW what my last week has been like (but let's just say things have gotten much much better since), I think we will name the drink I formulated thusly:

 

The Get Me OUT of Here

2 oz Cuban style rum or Havana Club

1 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz Dry Curacao (less if you use the sweeter stuff, or I imagine you could sub Cointreau)

Shake hard over ice.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a lime wheel.  Drink while taking slow, steady breaths.  Try not to gulp it (maybe you should make two).  I bet you could snazz this up with a dash of orange bitters, by the way.  I didn't, but I'll experiment with it when I make it next.

*********

 

See you on the air at 4 PM on Thursday!  I have much more Kenny Young and the Eggplants--and all sorts of news from that band about their upcoming visit to Area 24!!

Wednesday
May302012

Swedish Punsch at last!

I'd been wanting to try Swedish Punsch forever.  I kept running across it in antique cocktail recipes and it sounded romantic and...um...Swedish.  But when I did find the stuff for sale, it was tres expensive, and for a bottle I'd use only rarely, I couldn't quite bring myself to buy it.

Thanks to the good folk at drinkupnewyork.com, though I have found a reasonably priced bottle and am now in possession of it.  The nice UPS man brought it to the door just today.

I tasted a little.  It's spicy, not unlike the Falernum/Allspice Dram end of liqueurs, but not nearly as sweet, which is a good thing, I think.  And it's rum-based, so it'll be fun to experiment with the summertime rum drinks I make with it.  But it's best to start, I think, with the classics.  

Ted Haigh is one of my gurus in classic cocktail-age, so perhaps this week's drink should be his namesake tipple.  He's known as Doctor Cocktail.  Here's what I'll be mixing up in just a few minutes:

The Doctor Cocktail

2 oz Jamaica rum

1 oz Swedish Punsch

1 oz fresh lime juice

 

Shake over ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a lime twist.

 

Cheers!  And see you on the air at four Thursday!

Tuesday
May222012

A Cocktail Named After My Grandfather

My grandfather taught me a lot of things: how to fly a kite, how to do long division, and also how to drink whiskey.  He liked a whiskey sour, made with the sour mix that everyone used back in the 60's.  It was foamy on top, and he saw no harm in someone ALMOST done with high school having one before dinner.  Drinking age was 18 back then.  But more often I remember him with a bourbon and ginger, a highball I'm still partial to.  I miss my grandpa. 

Flash forward to the future: it's the year (turn on the echo chamber effect) 2012!  And I am being given a bottle of Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur by our stalwart, cocktail-loving program director, Treavor Hastings.  What to do with the delightful stuff?  A quick search for recipes on the 'net turned up a lot of stuff I feared would be a little too sweet for my tastes.  But then I remembered my grandpa.  Ladies and gentlemen:

The Edwin Bright

1 and 1/2 to 2 oz bourbon (Old Grandad, of course)

3/4 oz Domaine de Canton (or slightly more)

3/4 oz lime juice (or slightly more)

ice and seltzer, a cocktail cherry

Shake the lime juice, bourbon, and liqueur over ice and pour into a highball glass with several ice cubes in it.  Top off with seltzer to taste.  Garnish with one quarter of a lime ring and the cherry and sip through one of those pretty, slender straws they've been selling in Ikea this year (worth a trip just to get 'em; they're PERFECT for cocktails). 

Note that quantities are not exact because different people have different tastes in this kind of drink.  It shouldn't exactly be a bourbon and ginger--more like halfway in between that and a lime rickey.

About that cocktail cherry: home-steeped maraschino cherries (with maybe a little brandy, too) are good here--but this is one place where you could get away with a commercial one.

Bonus recipe:

The Edwin Bright In Florida

(My grandpa did love to vacation there)

Same recipe, but substitute amber rum for the bourbon and a sprig of fresh rosemary for the cherry.  The rosemary is for rememberance, of course--and also because it slips into the drink as you sip and makes it taste even more delicious.

Cheers, Gaga!

And I'll see you all on the air at four Thursday!