Homemade Coffee Creamer (Amaretto Version!)

Amaretto Coffee Creamer:

  • 3.5 Cups- Water
  • 1.0 Cup- Granulated Sugar
  • 0.5 Cup- Brown Sugar
  • 2 TBL- Almond Extract
  • 2 tsp- Vanilla Extract
  • Milk or Heavy Cream

 

  1. Combine Water, Sugar, and Brown Sugar in a pot on the stove and heat until all sugar has dissolved, and a hot syrup results
  2. Let syrup cool
  3. Add and mix Almond and Vanilla Extracts
  4. Brew your favorite mug of coffee and add Amaretto Syrup and Milk/Cream to taste!

Like many Americans willing to be honest about it, my girlfriend and I sometimes love a good dram of flavored coffee creamer in our coffee. However, we at the same time dislike spending the seemingly $937 that one must shell out to stock our house with a single week’s worth of delicious flavored coffee creamers.

Thus, a quick check of the internet revealed that it can be exceptionally easy AND economical to make flavored coffee enhancements at home! Above is the recipe for Amaretto Coffee Creamer that I have tweaked and developed. Stay tuned for the Irish Coffee Creamer version next week!

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Highway Robbery: Up, or on the Rocks?

Rob Roy_1820s_sc_262x325The Rob Roy is the black sheep of the illustrious martini family. It is simply a Manhattan made with scotch, instead of bourbon. However, unlike the Manhattan, it’s namesake can be traced back to a a single and specific entity. This drink is named after an 18th century Scottish outlaw.

Born into a family of bandits in 1671 Robert “Roy” MacGregor grew up cattle rustling. As he grew older he adopted the moniker “Roy” because it means “red” in Gaelic, and by all accounts he was a big ol’ ginger. In addition to overseeing several roving bands of cattle thieves, MacGregor operated a protection racket that would charge nearby farms 5% of their annual rent to guarantee that their cattle would not be stolen.

When a business deal with the Duke Montrose went sour, MacGregor absconded with some of the duke’s assets, and then proceeded to sneakily raid Montrose’s property over the next eight years. Eventually he settled down, and even received a full pardon from the king.

In honor of this scotch cocktail in honor of this Scottish highwayman, here are another pair scotch recipes.

Rusty Nail:

  • 1.0 oz. blended Scotch
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • 1 dash absinthe
  • 1 dash pomegranate grenadine
  1. Stir all ingredients pour straight up into a coupe glass

 

Hair of the Wolf:

  • 1.5 oz. Scotch
  • 0.5 oz. Kahlua
  • 0.5 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 6.0 oz. stout
  1. Shake Scotch, Kahlua, and Grand Marnier and pour into empty rocks glass.
  2. Top with stout

Strawberry Vodka à la Spoon!

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Step 1: Infuse Vodka with sliced Strawberries!

  • Slice up enough strawberries to fill your container HALF WAY.
    • Whether you use a 106 oz. jar like I did below, or an 8 oz. mason jar fill it half way with SLICED Strawberries, and then TOP with Vodka
  • Let sit 5 days, flip it over daily, and then strain out the strawberries

Step 2: Add Gelatin

  • In order to avoid cooking out the alcohol add your STRAINED Strawberry Vodka to a cold pot, THEN turn heat to medium.
  • Add 1/3 of the recommended amount of Unflavored Gelatin, and stir constantly
  • As soon as small bubbles begin to form at the bottom of the pot TURN OFF heat, and continue to stir until gelatin disappears.

Step 3: Set the Vodka Gel

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  • Portion Strawberry Vodka with Unflavored Gelatin into bucket glasses
  • Allow to set until firm in fridge with 3 oz. shot glasses placed into center of each bucket glass
  • When Gel is firm, remove 3 oz. shot glasses to reveal a void through the center of the Strawberry Vodka Gel
    • Pouring hot water into the 3. oz shot glasses can help loosen them and make for a more clean removal!

 

Step 4: Add Whipped Cream Through Center and Over Top to Taste!

  • I whipped Heavy Whipping Cream with Vanilla Extract and Crême de Menthe, then piped it all the way down and over top with a Pastry Bag, but your preferred delivery system (including spray can if you’ve already waited long enough!) will do nicely.

Enjoy!

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Plum Wine Sangria

Plum Wine Sangria_sc_244x325Plum Wine Sangria:

  • 1.5 litres Gekkeikan Plum Wine
  • 6.0 ounces Raspberries (halved)
  • 2.5 ounces Lychee (peeled & sliced)
  • 1 naval Orange (cut into quarter slices)
  • 2 Star Anise pods
  • Dry Sake
  • Club Soda
  1. Combine Plum Wine and prepared fruit in a large serving pitcher
  2. Let sit 24 hours
  3. Cut level of sweetness with a dry Sake to taste
  4. Scoop fruit into serving glasses, fill with ice, pour 3/4 full with sangria, top with soda water.

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Madeira: the Drink of Nationmakers

File Jul 04, 08 50 28Violet Madeira:

  1. Shake Madeira and Violet Jelly vigorously, and strain into coupe glass.
  2. Garnish with dollop of Violet Jelly

And here’s the story behind it!

America’s founding fathers could hardly get enough Madeira. It is a wine fortified with neutral grape spirits, which boosts its alcohol content to almost 20%, and comes from an island bearing the same name off the coast of Portugal.

Early colonists arriving to America from Europe naturally liked to bring as much of their former lives as they could fit onto a cramped ship. Who wouldn’t want the comforts of home when establishing a new life on a wildly different continent?

While architecture, livestock, and cultural customs transposed nicely, European wine-grapes did not. Thus, anyone thirsty for wine in the early days had to import it, and adding liquor to the wine casks (as was done for Madeira) helped it survive the long hot trans-Atlantic journey. By the time July 4, 1776 rolled around the likes of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin were drinking Madeira daily. 

Alcohol & American Voting

Campaigning with AlcoholVoting is lofted as the cornerstone of democracy, and today there are a myriad of laws in our country defining acceptable behavior at polling places. For instance, each state has a legally defined buffer extending from the front door of the voting place (usually 30-200 feet) in which no one is allowed to do any campaigning. In colonial America however, things were much more lax. For his 1757 Virginia Assembly bid George Washington blew his campaign budget on 144 gallons of beer, cider, punch, and wine—which he distributed among polling places.

It worked. Washington won that election, and no one put up a fuss about it since buying votes with booze and feasts was common place back then. Some candidates would even arrange to have polling places located inside of saloons, and would offer a drink to any man who voted for him. In 1876 republicans in Brooklyn trotted a pair of oxen through the streets before slaughtering and roasting them in Myrtle Avenue Park. I don’t know if there is enough meat on two oxen to make 50,000 sandwiches, but those are the reported attendance numbers for this campaign ploy.

Such campaign tactics were considered the norm until Prohibition killed the tradition of buying votes with booze on Election Day. To this day the sale of alcohol is still illegal on election day in Kentucky and South Carolina.

How Sailors of Old Shaped Contemporary Drinking Habits

18th Century Sailors_Drinking_sc_579x325_bg_whiteWe tend to love stories about and insight into our drinks when we sit down to enjoy a few. In that vein, I’ve found some fun stories about how sailors in the olden days—both pirate and legitimate alike—have influenced the way in which drinks are enjoyed to this day.

SUGAR CANE was introduced to the Caribbean by Christopher Columbus, from which rum ultimately came to be distilled.

SPICED RUM resulted from impatient sailors receiving rations of high-proof and unaged rum. Instead of choking down the rum equivalent of rum-moonshine, they opted to enliven it with spices.

RUM AND COKE: let’s face it, it’s rum with a pile of sugar and garnished with a lime. In 1740 British Admiral Edward “Old Grog” Vernon for some reason decided that taking sailors into battle who had been issued rum-moonshine wouldn’t be as effective as if their rum-rations were diluted with water. To make this rum & water more palatable he suggested adding sugar and lime. This sweetened & lime flavored rum concoction took on his nickname and came to be called “Grog”.

JUNGLE JUICE is descended from grog that evolved into punch when sailors returned to Europe. In France they spiked it with brandy, in Holland and England it was gin, and back to rum again when the British navy took over the West Indies.

GIN AND TONIC actually originates in preventative medicine. Quinine is the ingredient in tonic water that makes it taste different from soda water. It also helped the British navy ward off malaria in the tropics. When you combine this with the limes that also helped them prevent scurvy—along with the fun of drinking gin—you get history’s first gin & tonic!

There you have it. Several cocktail staples ubiquitous in bars throughout the world today can trace their roots to the daily life of 18th century tall ship sailors.