Monday, October 29, 2012

The Hurricane Cocktail

Never let it be said that I fail to capitalize on an opportunity to make a cocktail that is relevant to current events. Since Ms. Dawn was so kind as to bring me a packet of Pat O'Brien's Hurricane Cocktail Mix from her last trip down to New Orleans I've decided to crack the packet open and make us some Hurricanes. Now before I go into the making of the cocktail, I wanted to shed some light as to how the cocktail came about. According to the Pat O'Brien's bar's website:
In the mid 1940's, Pat O'Brien's Bar (718 St. Peter Street, New Orleans) propelled when the Hurricane Drink was created. At that time, there was short supply of liquor such as whiskey, bourbon and scotch. There was, however, access to rum coming up the river. Bar owners were forced to buy large quantities of rum, 50 cases or so, in order to purchase other liquor. Through trial and error, they came up with a drink that everyone loved! Pat O'Brien paired it up with a glass shaped like a Hurricane lamp and the drink was perfected!

So after I followed the following instructions:
Pat O'Brien's Hurricane Cocktail drink mix.
Half fill a clean quart container with cold water.
Add Pat O'Brien's Hurricane drink mix to water and stir thoroughly.
Add water to fill container and shake again.

Fill drinking glass with ice.
Add 4 oz. dark rum to drinking glass.
Add 4 oz. liquid Pat O'Brien's Hurricane drink mix to drinking glass.

Stir, garnish with orange slice and maraschino cherry. Serve with straw.

I'm using Bacardi Select Rum since I don't have any Amber/Gold Rum. Here is what I got (sans orange wedge):

For those of you out there, be safe while that sassy lassie Ms. Sandy is paying our lovely city a visit.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

Adult Arnold Palmer aka Sweet Tea Palmetto

I decided that since I'd be home for a few extra days due to Hurricane Sandy that I would try something new in terms of spirits. I've had my eye on the Seagram's Sweet Tea Vodka for some time now and decided to finally pick up a small bottle. I have to say that I am not disappointed. Here is how the Seagram's Sweet Tea Vodka website describes the Sweet Tea Vodka:
Seagram's Sweet Tea combines all the charm and refreshing sweetness of Southern sweet tea with five-times distilled premium vodka making a highly mixable spirit that has the potential to turn any night into a hot Southern night.
I found that straight up it tasted somewhat "herbally" but actually quite tasty. It did remind me of the Southern style Sweet Teas that I have had in the past though Momma-San found it to be too strong for her straight up. Naturally, to make it more palatable for her, I thought about what does well with Sweet tea and so I decided to come up with what I called an Adult Arnold Palmer. The Arnold Palmer is Iced Tea mixed with Lemonade named after famed golfer Arnold Palmer. The recipe sheet calls a similar version of this cocktail the Sweet Tea Palmetto. Here is how they list the recipe:
Sweet Tea Palmetto
1 ½ oz. Seagram’s Sweet Tea
3 oz. Lemonade

Mix together in a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon wedge.
My version was a bit stronger since I used 2oz. of Sweet Tea Vodka and 3oz. of Lemonade. I found that the addition of the Lemonade helps to quell some of the herbal taste of the sweet tea while not making it too sweet.

I can see this cocktail not lasting too long, especially on a warm summers night. Well in this case awaiting the arrival of that sassy lassie Ms. Sandy. Be safe out there.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sitting on the Dock of Sisco Bay

Here we are on the cusp of the arrival of the Frankenstorm in NYC and I find myself with a rare four day weekend. Since the MTA is closing the subways at 7pm and stopping bus service at 9pm getting into the city from the Bronx will be somewhat difficult. So I was given a staycation and a chance to rest and do some writing...and some drinking too. For today's post, I've decided to make a cocktail that my friend Izzie Steele recommended to me.

Before I go into the cocktail, I just wanted to thank Izzie and give her a quick shoutout. She is an up and coming actress who will be featured in an upcoming episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. The episode will air on November 14th at 9pm. Make sure to check her out. On to the cocktail.

So the cocktail is called 'Sisco Bay and here is how the recipe calls for its creation:

'Sisco Bay
1.5 oz of Citron Vodka (I used Ketel One Citron)
4oz Sour Mix (I used the Homemade Sweet and Sour)
Splash of Cranberry Juice
Splash of Orange Juice
Splash of Lemonade

Pour the vodka, sour mix and cranberry juice into a shaker, shake with ice and strain into an ice filled glass. Top with orange juice and lemonade. Place a slice of lemon in to the glass as garnish.

I wish I could say that I thoroughly enjoyed this cocktail but I gave Momma-San a sip and she just took the glass with her. LOL. Like the Mikey of Chex fame "She Likes It". The cocktail has a nice tartness with a hint of sweetness with a light pink color that is very light and refreshing. I can definitely see someone sitting with their legs dangling over the side of the dock on the bay, watching the tide roll away...wasting time (Thanks to Otis Redding for the wonderful words and Izzie Steele for the recipe).

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I didn't seem to realize when I bought the orange juice that I had actually bought an orange mango juice blend. I'm not sure how it would change the taste of the cocktail from the original recipe. I guess I'd have to experiment to find out.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

La Cucaracha Shot

Sometimes during my travels and adventures I come across the most weirdest of drinks. Here's the case of one such drink. I was out with Momma-San Tuesday night on the rare date night without the kids. Where I had the idea of going downtown to visit some bar friends of mine, my being tired from a long stretch of having worked 11 of 12 nights, I decided to stay local in the Bronx. We decided on Willie's Steakhouse on Westchester Avenue for drinks and food. My sister joined us a couple of hours later and we were having a good time doing shots. The gentleman sitting to my right saw that we were doing shots and asked if I had ever tried the Cucaracha shot. This peaked my interest.

Now I normally wouldn't do a shot like the Cucaracha shot but just like with the post on the Nutcracker, sometimes you have to just throw caution to the wind, try something new and live a little. So here I am revisiting Bacardi 151 as I did in the Flaming Dr. Pepper post. Here is how the shot is made:
La Cucaracha Shot
1oz Vodka
1oz Kahlua
Bacardi 151 float

Build in a shot glass. Float Bacardi 151 on top. Light with a match. Stick a straw down to the bottom (while still lit) and suck it up.

Now this can also be called a Flaming Black Russian since the two main ingredients of this shot are the ingredients that make up a Black Russian. So how was it? It tasted like a Black Russian. LOL. Sorry, it was quite tasty. Can't beat the coffee flavor of the Kahlua. I even add it to my coffee at work to give my joe a bit more of a coffee flavor. So I would definitely recommend it to someone who is daring.

But I had one question that no one at the bar seemed to know the answer to. Why is it called "La Cucaracha"? Any ideas?

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Five Dollar Shake

First off thanks to the Kahuna for the naming of this cocktail. I wish I had come up with it originally. This is a case of putting the wagon before the horse. How so? Allow me to elaborate.

The Kahuna was celebrating his centennial at the Bleecker Street Bar (his 100th consecutive check-in to the bar on Foursquare) and he wanted something "chocolatety". So I look at the bottles that we have and decided to make him something containing chocolate and milk. Something of a milkshake of sorts. Here is what I came up with:
The Five Dollar Shake
1.5oz Jim Beam Bourbon
1oz Dark Creme de Cacao
.5oz Cinnamon Schnapps
.5oz Milk

Build Over Ice, shake and pour over ice
I decided to use Jim Beam bourbon since I've decided to forgo the Vanilla vodka for a while. I also added the Cinnamon schnapps to add a little spice to the cocktail. As you can see, it isn't very thick. I would probably use half and half or heavy cream in order to thicken it up a bit. Ideally, ice cream and a blender would do the job in that regard but we don't have either one so this would have to do.

The Kahuna at first couldn't quite tell what was in the cocktail. It wasn't until I told him that there was Cinnamon schnapps that he started to taste it. The more he drank it, the more he said he could taste the cinnamon. I guess the schnapps settled to the bottom. The cocktail was actually quite tasty. Now for the name.

Pete came up with the name when he made the connection to the cocktail with the movie Pulp Fiction. Think back to the scene where Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) are at "Jack Rabbit Slims". Here is the dialogue:

Vincent Vega: Did you just order a five dollar shake?
Mrs. Mia Wallace: Ummhh.
Vincent Vega: That's a shake . . . that's milk and ice cream.
Mrs. Mia Wallace: Last I heard.
Vincent Vega: That's five dollars? You don't put bourbon in it or nothin'?
Buddy Holly: No.
Vincent Vega: Just checking.

Well Mr. Vega, my "shake" has bourbon in it and I hate to break it to you it doesn't cost five dollars. Seven to Eight dollars perhaps. ;) Some come on down daddy-o and have yourself one.

Until Then, Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It Was An Impromptu Sunday Night

Like the wise philosopher Forrest Gump was quoted as stating: Momma says Life is like a box of'll never know what your going to get. Sometimes I feel that way working at the Bleecker Street Bar. It seems to be even more like that when its Melvin and I working. Allow me to elaborate.

Sunday night October 14th started as planned with Game 1 of the NLCS between the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals. Since 2010 we've become something of a San Francisco Giants bar thanks in part to Rhea and Justin to name a few. I mean we're nowhere in the league of Giants bars in NYC like Finnerty's but I think we do well for ourselves with the Gigantes fans. Though it was a tight game, the Giants lost Game 1 6-4 (as we all know today the Gigantes came back from a 3-1 deficit in the NLCS to earn a trip to the World Series against the Detroit Tigers). At the same time the Green Bay Packers were defeating the previously unbeaten Houston Texans. At this point we feel that the mass exodus was upon us and an empty bar would be staring us in the face. That true believers was not to be thanks to the crew from Dos Caminos.

Like most bar and restaurant crews (including Bleecker Street Bar's) getting everyone out at the same time is a rare event due to schedules and personal lives. But for some reason it seemed like the whole of The Dos crew (including friends) were out for a raucous night of Sunday Funday at the Bleecker Street Bar. One of the friends, a lovely lady named Jessica who is a fellow bartender was giving me tips on how to use the previously posted Domaine de Canton and Jack Honey in cocktails. I'll go into that aspect of the conversation a later time. But another drink that we spoke about was a simple but tasty cocktail that she ordered for her friend called a Malibu Margarita. I must have given her a weird look because she just laughed like someone who gets that look often when ordering that cocktail. She says I should make it exactly like a standard Margarita just substituting the Malibu Coconut Rum for the Tequila. Here is how I made it:
Malibu Margarita
2oz Malibu Coconut Rum
1oz Triple Sec
.5oz Sour Mix
.5oz Rose's Lime Juice

Build over ice and shake. Serve with a lime wedge.
I have to admit, that after taking a taste of the cocktail that it was very light and tasty. The sweetness of the Malibu and Triple Sec was balanced nicely by the tartness of the Lime juice and Sour Mix. I can only imagine how this cocktail would taste with fresher ingredients like homemade sweet and sour and agave nectar. It is definitely a drink that I will add to my list of must make cocktails when someone wants something light and sweet. Here are Melvin and the Mayor posing with a pair of Malibu Margaritas I made for them at the end of the night.

There's one added twist to the night that I have yet to mention. One of the lounges in the area has a jazz band that plays every Sunday night and after they're done, they come by the bar to unwind and play darts and have a few beers. On this day, all three members of the band show up and as they are playing darts, my friend Jaime notices that musical equipment by the jukebox. She asks me who's equipment that is and if they would mind playing some music. I direct her to where they were and after a few minutes to everyone's surprise they band set up and was throwing down a bad ass jazz set in the dart area at 3am in the morning for what has to be a first in the 20 years that Bleecker Street Bar has been open.

A good time was definitely had by all. What can we come up with for this weekend? Tune in to find out true believers.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Neapolitan

One of the new spirits that I tasted last Tuesday at Bailey's was a flavored vodka by Three Olives Vodka. Now to the chagrin of many mixologists and alcohol purists, the explosion of flavored vodkas on to the market has brought about a tremendous amount of possibilities when it comes to making cocktails. Aside from Three Olives Vodka, Pinnacle Vodka and Van Gogh Vodka are two other companies that are making a wide variety of flavored vodkas. I do see where the mixologists who are anti-flavored vodkas are coming from, Bailey's also had the Three Olives Bubblegum flavored Vodka which smelled just like a chewed up square of Bubblelicious. But to be honest, I don't want to drink something that smells like that. But I digress.

So Pete serves us the Three Olives S'mores vodka. As per the Three Olives website, the S'mores is:
S'MORES: A mouth-watering blend of imported English vodka and chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker.
At Christina's suggestion, we have it served on the rocks with a squeeze of a lemon wedge. After a quick stir, a took a taste of it and it was quite delicious. Both Christina and Myron remarked that it tasted like a chocolate biscotti. Once I looked at the selection of other flavored vodkas and liqueurs that were behind the bar, I was struck with an idea. Here is what I came up with:
The Neapolitan
1/3 Three Olives S'mores Vodka
1/3 Stoli Vanilla Vodka
1/3 Arrow Strawberry Liqueur
Build over ice in a shaker, shake vigorously and serve in a shot glass.
Optimally I would have preferred to having the shot be a bit creamier so a Chocolate liqueur such as Godiva would have probably better suited what I was looking for but the Three Olives S'mores gave the shot its own special flavor. The S'mores gave it a little saltniess that seemed to feel like the flavor that you would get from a cone. So in essence, the shot tasted like melted Neapolitan ice cream with the cone included. And for those of you who know me, I'm an ice cream fiend. So this shot was just what the doctor ordered.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Impromptu Birthday Tasting

Yesterday I decided to go out to Bailey's Corner Pub on 85th Street and York Avenue to visit my friend Pete for a few pre-Birthday drinks. Joining me were Myron, Christina and Haley. As I am prone to do, I look for spirits that I have never had before and taste them. Luckily for me, Bailey's has a very good selection and here is a list of the new spirits that I tried out:
- Tanteo Jalapeno Tequila
- Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka
- Three Olives S'mores Vodka
- Basil Hayden Bourbon
- Veev Acai Spirit
- Pyrat Rum XO Reserve
I'll be posting my thoughts on these spirits within the next few days. Tonight's plans? Off to Yankee Stadium with Momma-San to hopefully see the Yankees clinch the AL East and the #1 seed in the American League. Happy Birthday to me!!!!

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Blueberry Ginger Vodka Cocktails

Today I popped the lid off the Blueberry Ginger Vodka infusion that I have been working on. The aroma was amazing. The Ginger just took over the Vodka. It smells strong and spicy. The Vodka has a nice deep blue purple color due to the Blueberries.

I decided to keep the first drink I make simple. Here is what I made:
Blueberry Ginger and Soda
1.5oz Blueberry Ginger infused vodka
Club Soda

In a glass with ice pour in vodka. Fill remained with club soda.
The cocktail was very light. The spicy flavor of the ginger is clear on the tongue with some subtle tones of the Blueberry at the end. I feel a nice tingle to the back of my tongue. I like the sensation I get with each bubbly taste and that's saying something since I am not fan of club soda. If you want something a little sweeter maybe a Diet 7-or a Diet Ginger Ale would help to boost up the sweetness levels.

I decided to take different take with the following recipe:
1 1/4oz Blueberry Ginger infused Vodka
1/4 Grand Marnier
Squeeze of a Lime Wedge
Soda Water to Fill

Build over ice in a glass. Shake quickly, add more ice, top with Soda Water and serve.
How does it taste?

The Grand Marnier adds a subtle sweetness that the earlier cocktail did not have. The lime juice also lurks around in the background adding a slight tart layer to the strong flavor that the ginger gave the Vodka infusion. To be honest, I think the only thing the Blueberries gave was some coloring. Of the four flavors, the Blueberries are the least noticeable. I find that the second cocktail is a much more balanced drink than the first one unless you like a more ginger taste and feel to your cocktails. Overall, it is a refreshing cocktail to have to remember that Summer is gone and Autumn has arrived.

Speaking of Autumn, I've been researching some interesting cocktails that I will look forward to making and profiling. So get ready for some more darker and robust cocktails that are soon to come.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Honeysuckle Fro

Before I go into today's cocktail, please allow me to say a few words about my friend the talented Chuck Collins. He's an amazing artist whose art will be on display at the Medialia Gallery 335 West 38th Street, 4th Floor, New York, New York in the Art of Neon Soul exhibit with other talented artists such as Grey Williamson, Eric Nocella Diaz, Nelson Ancensio, Manuel Jesus, Rodney Jackson and Kilroy III. The exhibit runs from October 10 to October 27. Go check it out. In addition to that, Chuck has one of his main works DSX set to be made into an upcoming live action series in the year 2014. So expect big things from Mr. Chuck Collins in the near future.

Another thing about Chuck is that he is an aficionado of the Afros on the ladies. Yes folks, he loves them. The bigger, the better. So what does this have to do with a cocktail? I'm getting to it so don't rush me. Back to the Afros.

I recently told Chuck about an upcoming exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum showcasing the works of artist Mickaline Thomas whose work coincidently contains voluptuous women of color who in many of the painting have? Yup you guessed it: Afros!! In the New York Times article Loud, Proud and Painted ‘Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe,’ at Brooklyn Museum that I forwarded to Chuck, there was one particular image that he was astounded by. In this “Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe: Les Trois Femmes Noires,” Ms. Thomas’s 24-foot-wide reprise of “Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe,” Édouard Manet’s masterpiece from 1863 there are three women of different shades with big Afros. Now Chuck saw this picture and said the following: "Wow, three different flavors of afros. There's mocha fro, dark chocolate fro and honeysuckle Fro".

HONEYSUCKLE FRO!!! Now how can I not hear that and not want to make a cocktail with that name. Thanks for the inspiration Chuck, LOL. Off I went to the bar and looked at what we had that had honey. Obviously I naturally gravitated to the Drambuie. Then I thought to myself, what would add an extra level or two of sweetness to tame the scotch that's in the Drambuie. I wanted some orange flavor so I chose Cointreau. I also wanted some herbal essences so I chose Benedictine DOM. Now these three liqueurs are somewhat thick and sweet, so to avoid having something that was overpoweringly sweet, I decided that some fresh Lemon juice would do the trick to cut the drink a bit. I would top it off with club soda for a little fizz.

This is what I came up with:
The Honeysuckle Fro
1.5oz Drambuie
.5oz Cointreau
.5oz Benedictine DOM
1oz Fresh Lemon
Soda top
Lemon twist

Add all ingredients (except soda) in ice filled shaker. Shake vigorously until super cold and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Top with soda water. Stir slightly, add lemon twist

So what does this taste like? Lemonade. I have to admit, the cocktail came out much smoother than I expected it to. The flavors were balanced. Not too sweet and not too tart. The cocktail has a nice yellow color that invokes a feeling of sunshine and golden goodness, like the lady and her afro in the picture.

Here's to you my brother. Continued success in your artistic career and thank you for the inspiring comment for the Honeysuckle Fro!!!!!

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

Black Plum Infused Vodka Part II

Since the weather is getting cooler, the leaves more colorful and the days shorter it can only mean that Fall is on its way and Summer on its way out. I've been asking people their opinion on what flavors they feel embody the spirit of Autumn and Marta peeked my curiosity with one of her answers. She tells me that plums are an Autumnal fruit. In Poland, their peak growing season is from Late-Summer to Early-Fall. Funny she should mention that, I have a Black Plum Infused Vodka that I have been working on since the middle of August. Now I'm not sure if black plums are autumnal per-se but in this case, a plum is a plum is a plum. To see what other infusions I have in the works, click on the following link: New Round of Infusions.

The vodka has taken on a nice brown/amber color and is a little aromatic. Now I could do something with it right now but it doesn't come off as quite an Autumnal infusion. I rummage around my spice cabinet and decide that I'm going to further infuse the Black Plum Vodka. As you see from the picture, I've decided to add two whole Cinnamon sticks and one whole Bourbon Vanilla bean (sliced down the middle). Back in the cabinet it goes.

I think I might want to add a few more spices to the mix. Any suggestions?

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla