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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

Wednesday
Sep122012

Blue Drinks

Mr. Potter and I once went to a rooftop bar that served only blue drinks.  Come to think of it, it was a REVOLVING rooftop bar.  Outside of the fact that everything had blue curacao in it and was kind of too sweet, it was quite diverting.  The place was in Atlanta, Georgia.  I'd go back if I were in Atlanta.

Blue drinks are very Star-Wars-lounge-scene-Space-Age-Bachelor-pad.  Not that there's anything WRONG with that.  You just have to be in the right frame of mind (silly).

When I first met dear Mr. Potter, he was mixing a drink I've referred to before in this blog, something he liked to call a Tidy Bowl Margarita.  It was equal parts tequila (cheap), blue curacao, and lime juice, spun in a blender with lots of ice.  Turned your tongue blue like a blue popsicle, and had the extra added side effect of being slightly lethal; people didn't taste the considerable amount of booze therein and slurped, with predictable results.  We don't make the Tidy Bowl too often these days, and when we do, we've tweaked the recipe: less curacao, more and better tequila.  It's actually a stronger drink, but since it TASTES like a drink, folks treat it as such and cocktail hour does not become Spring Break.  And yes, it did (and still does) look like toilet bowl cleaner, frozen in a margarita glass.  Mr. Potter in his bachelor days found that a plus point. I think there's blue and then there's too blue.

That said, the first time I drank Bombay Sapphire gin, I recall being bitterly disappointed that only the bottle was blue.

So I guess it's not too surprising that I finally met up with Magellan Gin.  It's infused with iris blossoms.  And yes, Virginia, it is a lovely shade of blue, the color of glacial ice.  Some friends turned us on to the stuff whilst we were vacationing.  I'm here to tell you that it makes a fine, fine drink--easy on the eyes and on the tongue.  The iris gives it a very floral (no duh) taste.  It's not hyper-junipery.  It's got clove in it, and grains of paradise: delicious.  Although I've read it makes lovely Aviations, what I do with Magellan gin is going to shock regular readers of this blog: it's for Martinis.  Or more exactly, Gibsons.  A Gibson is a Martini with a cocktail white onion in it instead of the olive.  With Magellan Gin, the visuals are just gorgeous: an undersea pearl.  And I love the taste of the stuff so much that I can sip it at a rate that enables me to not get utterly goofy on it--which is to say I don't dislike the drink as it warms a little, which I often do with other gins mixed this way.   Get yourself a bottle.  And mix this:

Magellan Meets The Gibson Girl

2 oz Magellan gin

1/2 oz good white vermouth

Shake hard (yes, I know this is heresy, but I like a drink this strong to at least start out very cold) and pour into a chilled cocktail glass. The slight haze and the blue color are really very pretty. Garnish with a cocktail onion.  "Tipsy" onions, put up in white vermouth, are especially nice for this purpse. 

Got that?  See you on the air, Thursday at 4!

Tuesday
Sep042012

Havana Memories, Nova Scotia Division

Ah yes, the Canadians are a sensible people!  Perhaps their booze is way more expensive (and it's hard to find the better liqueurs and wines in the state-run liquor stores, but I understand you can buy that stuff online) but their health care system is available to all.  I'd rather pay a few more bucks for my hooch...and I'd ALWAYS rather have access to delicious, delicious Havana Club Rum.

Oh, Havana Club, how shall I describe thee?  It's golden, with notes of vanilla and molasses.  It has some funk to it.  Bacardi tastes kind of (shall we say) spay/neurtered alongside.  Havana Club in a drink lets you know you are DRINKING RUM.  Of course, the problem is that to the tourist from the States, gathering proper cocktail ingredients to set off this lovely elixer is tough north of the 45th parallel. Good thing Havana Club is also good sippin' rum, yummy on the rocks, after a good meal.

I stuck to a basic sour recipe most of the time, one not unlike a drink I named the GET ME OUT OF HERE a couple of months back. So here's what we were drinking in our rental cottage in a little fishing community a few miles outside of Lunenburg--but a zillion miles away from worry and woe.  The place was called Stonehurst.  Hence...

THE STONEHURST

2 oz Havana Club rum

1/2 oz fresh lemon juice

1/2 oz fresh lime juice (or a little more)

3/4 to 1 oz Cointreau

a few drops of orange or Angostura bitters

Shake hard over ice and strain into the lovely cocktail glasses you bought for no money at the Atlantic Super Store that you have kept in the freezer of your rental cottage.  Garnish with a quarter of a lime wheel 'cause citrus is a fortune in Canada and you want to keep your paltry supply of lemons and limes for DRINKING.  It does look kinda minimalist and cool....Sip and ENJOY. 

VARIATION: THE ST. JOHN HILTON

(named for where I mixed this, in New Brunswick on the beginning of our way home)

2 oz Havana Club

2 oz freshly squeezed orange juice, bought at the Public Market around the corner from the hotel

1 oz lime juice from your last lime

1/2-3/4 oz Cointreau (to taste)

Shake and strain as above, into the hotel room drink glasses, which look a little like cocktail glasses.  You will, of course, have pre-chilled them with the copious amounts of ice available from the ice machine.  No garnish because you are now out of citrus (and you can't take it over the border tomorrow anyway).   Also good on the rocks.

Sigh....See you next summer, Havana Club.  And see YOU on the air this Thursday at 4, when I SHALL BE HOME!

Wednesday
Aug152012

Heading North!!!

House-sitter in place high atop the Potter building?  Check.

Last radio show before vacation getting planned right now?  Check.

There's only one cocktail to have before crossing the US border, and it's one that is named for that very act.  I've written before about the Twelve Mile Limit, a drink invented during Prohibition, supposedly served on sailing ships once they'd gotten twelve miles out from the States and no longer subject to that silly law.  It looks lethal on paper (it's not, but it is a strong drink).  And it is tasty.  Check it out:

1 oz White Rum
1/2 oz Rye  (I used Old Overholt, my go-to for mixing, but Sazerac is good here, too)
1/2 oz Brandy (some recipes call for Cognac, but there's so much else going on here that I think it's a waste.  Don't use your best stuff.)
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake hard over ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

You can use either a lemon twist or a brandied cherry as garnish. 

 

*********

I'll post my Havana Club experiments (we always get a bottle once we get past the US Border and can buy it from our sensible neighbors to the North).  Those of you lucky enough to be reading this in countries that trade with Cuba can try this recipe with Havana Club rum.  I've done it in Canada with the stuff, and it works quite well.

See you on the air this week at 4!

 

Wednesday
Aug082012

So I read the NY Times and...

...they were going all Aperol this week.  Aperol is a Campari-like substance that is hip enough these days that it's not hip anymore, almost.  So says the NYT, anyway.  And I'd heard of it, but amaras are not always my favorite things, so I'd never tasted it.  Picked up a bottle and I intend to play with it this evening at the hour of cocktail experimentation.

What the Italians seem to do with the stuff on their own turf is make a sort of highball with it with seltzer.  That's called a Spritz, and since Aperol is an orange-y amara, that sounds tasty.  But it's very low in alcohol, and I wanted something with maybe a little more kick to it for an evening cocktail.  One could substitute Prosecco for the seltzer; I've seen recipes for that, too, and it sounds good.  A maybe.

Here's what I'll probably do, though:

Aperol Negroni (OK, not imaginative, but one starts somewhere and I like bittersweet things with gin)

1 and a half oz of Aperol

1 and a half oz of gin

half an oz of sweet vermouth

Stir with plenty of ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Could also be served over the rocks with a spritz of selzer if you are planning to sip it while floating on a noodle in a swimming pool.

 

See you on the air tomorrow (Thursday) at 4 PM.  And don't forget we've got live music coming up at 7, right after my show! 

Thursday
Aug022012

A Bourbon Milkshake!

So there I was, browsing my cocktail books and the internet for a new thrill in the drinks department, when THIS came up, and I quote directly from Imbibe Magazine, who got this drink from a place called the West Egg Cafe in Georgia:

THE BOURBON CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKE

2 oz. bourbon
2 oz. chocolate syrup
1 cup vanilla ice cream
Tools: blender
Glass: milkshake or 16 oz. pint

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Wow.  Just wow.  Now, I am generally an ice cream-less gal.  Outside of my experiments in the world of tippling, I don't do sugar.  But at the holidays I do make a bourbon chocolate cake strong enough to (in the word's of Area 24 radio's Rich Jackson) make your lips numb on the second bite.  And perhaps I should mention that it's a really GOOD chocolate cake--even considering that when I fall upon it at Christmas time, I haven't had chocolate cake in, oh, about a year and so my standards may be somewhat lower (or not).

So what I'm saying here, people, is that chocolate and bourbon go really well together.  And that an evil, evil voice in my head is saying that the health food vanilla ice cream with no sugar in it that I buy so I can have dessert when we have dinner parties might be vastly improved by a good slug of bourbon and some chocolate syrup (OK, the full-sugar kind; sugar-free chocolate syrup is pretty universally awful).

And for those of you who allow yourself C12 H22 O11, drink 'em up!  Sounds like just the thing after a late-night swim at the end of one of these scorchers we've been having lately. 

See you on the air at 4 today, August 2nd!