Drinking at Home: Cocktails by the Minty
Whenever I get invited to dinner parties, I tend to bring the booze and take it upon myself to make drinks. In the last few years, my “bartending” skills have gotten better as I’ve gotten more interested in craft cocktails. I had wanted to make beer cocktails, punch and bring a dessert wine for an intimate dinner last week with a few friends. It didn’t quite go as planned. I gathered up an arsenal of supplies (mostly unopened bottles I had) and then bought a bottle of rum along with some fresh produce.What amused me the most was probably my “six-pack” which I dubbed the Minty six-pack; two bottles of Deschutes Mirror Pond pale ale and Deschutes Black Butte porter along with a couple of mini sparkling wines.
Last week someone asked me what cocktail ingredient must I have (assuming booze, simple, citrus and ice were a given) and I replied mint. Since we are getting close to the Kentucky Derby, I decided to create a spicy rum version of a julep. First I muddled jalepeno, sugar and mint together, added rum and stirred before straining into glasses with fresh ice. Yes, I know I probably should have hand-cracked the ice but I’m an enthusiast making drinks for friends. Smack that mint and garnish the cocktails.
A note on this cocktail, I used organic, unrefined sugar. This created a coffee aroma and taste that wasn’t bad with the mint. Though next time, I’d probably use a regular sugar or simple syrup. I recently read about making a minted simple syrup that sounds pretty good as well.
The spicy rum julep went well with the homemade beer bread with fried egg and spicy mustard. Originally I had wanted to do beer cocktails for this course but decided to save the beer for later.
When I’m at home, I make a simple cocktail that follows a formula of gin + citrus + and some sort of liqueur. This could sometimes be an amaro but lately I’ve been into Becherovka, a Czech liqueur. Sometimes I may add a sweet vermouth or agave (I tend to use agave over simple syrup) but Becherovka is sweet enough on its on. Then I added a couple of dashes of Arizona Bitters Lab Orange Sunshine bitters. I garnished with lemon zest and a mint leaf (not necessary but it’s pretty).
The gin cocktail was paired with the garbanzo bean salad. This main course salad also featured bleu cheese, fennel, apple, pom seeds and dried cranberries. The citrus in the gin cocktail echoed the dressing of the salad.
You’re going to see that mint again though as mentioned before, its purpose here was to look pretty. Maybe next time I won’t buy four bunches. For this drink, I still had one jalepeno pepper left. I muddled it with ripe avocado, lemon juice (lime would work just fine, too), agave and arrack (White Lion VSOA). Then I strained onto fresh ice, topped with the Deschutes Mirror Pond pale ale and garnished with mint and a slice of avocado. This was the favorite drink of the night.
I also served a Sauternes with the banana egg rolls (the Filipino turon dessert) and coconut ice cream. My friend actually made frozen yogurt since the “ice cream” is made with Greek yogurt. Incredibly healthy and full of protein!
I thought I was done making cocktails but my friend handed me one of her cocktail books. I flipped through it quickly. Most of the cocktails seemed to be recently created and by recently I mean post-Prohibition by several decades. There were a handful of classics. I kept looking through the stylish and mod book– I have a weakness for design and found a recipe called the Dada. It was created by Kathy Budas for the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art’s Dada Ball. Mainly it jumped out on me because it used mint as a garnish (grin).
Here are her specs:
- 1.5 light Barcadi rum
- 1.5 fresh lime juice
- 1.5 creme de cassis
Although I had limes, I decided to use what was left of the Meyer lemons I had juiced and as I didn’t have creme de casis handy, I used Kirsh. After sipping, I decided there was way too much lime and added agave. It was much too tart. It came out tasting like a Hemingway daiquiri which kind of makes sense as Kirsch is cherry flavored as is maraschino.
Now who’s going to invite me over next?
More Minty Mixology over at LA Cocktails.
© The Minty 2012
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