Category Archives: Original Recipes

A New Invention – Lime Strength Pineapple Juice

In Dave Arnold’s ‘Liquid Intelligence’, he talks about about a method he uses to increase the acidity of orange juice to make it act as a substitute for lemon or lime as the sour component in a cocktail. This got me thinking about other juices that might be suitable for the same treatment. Pineapple juice seemed like a likely candidate, as it’s got some acidity already, and conveniently pineapples have just gone on sale here.

I did some research on the acid content of pineapple juice, wading through various industrial science papers from the pineapple industry, and, as best as I can determine, pineapple juice has an acid content of about 1.2 g/100ml, of which 87% is citric acid and 13% is malic acid (the same acids as in lime juice, just in different proportions).

I picked up a small pineapple, peeled and cored it, and threw it in a blender. Then I strained it and squeezed it through a nut-milk bag to get rid of as much pulp as possible. My final yield was 400 ml of juice. I knew I wanted a final acid content of 6 g/100ml, so I needed to add 4.8 grams of acid per 100 ml, or 19.2 grams acid total for the 400 ml. I went with a mix of 15.6 g citric acid and 3.6 g malic acid (about 4:1, part way between the acidic composition of lime juice and that of pineapple juice). Then I stirred until dissolved.

Based on the combination of acids, I figured the taste would work best as a substitute for lime. I substituted the juice for lime juice in a gimlet and in a daiquiri, and both were spectacular. A couple nights later, at the local cocktail book club meeting (where we were, not coincidentally, discussing ‘Liquid Intelligence’) we tried it in a Last Word. Aside from being a bit to sweet (the pineapple juice has about 8 times the sugar as lime juice), this was also quite good. The only recipe I’ve found it to be an unsatisfying substitute for lime juice is a margarita.

Next time I’m going to try getting the acid ratio a little closer to the 7:1 ratio of pineapple juice (so 4.2 g citric and 0.6 g malic per 100ml) to see how that affects the flavor. My guess is that this will make it a better candidate for replacing lemon than lime.

Lime Strength Pineapple Juice
Peel and core a pineapple. Blend and strain, or run through a juicer. For every 100 ml of juice extracted add:
3.9 g citric acid
0.9 g malic acid
Stir until dissolved. Refrigerate, keeps at least a week, but the flavour is best right away. Use in place of lime in any recipe, but reduce the amount of simple syrup or liqueur or it will be a bit too sweet.

Pineapple Gimlet

Pineapple Gimlet
60 ml gin
25 ml lime strength pineapple juice
20 ml simple syrup
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

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Art of the Cocktail 2013 – El Humo Grande

Wow, it’s been a while. To do a bit of catching up, about a month ago it was Art of the Cocktail here in Victoria. I went to a couple excellent workshops (“Cocktail Archaeology” with David Wondrich, and “Culinary Techniques” with Jeffrey Morgenthaler), had a bunch of delicious drink and food at the Grand Tasting, and, most relevant to this blog, entered the Best Home Bartender competition.

This was my 2nd year entering, and I’m pretty pleased with how things went. I was much more relaxed than last year – still nervous, but I felt reasonably confident in my performance. I think that came from a combination of being quite sure I had a delicious drink, and doing a lot of rehearsing. It also helped that there were a lot of familiar faces both in the audience and behind the bar (all the other competitors were friends – we’d all brainstormed, created, and tinkered with our entries as a group).

My drink came in a very close 2nd place. One place I lost points was that my drink was a little too diluted. When I make it at home it’s with ice right from the freezer, but the ice at the competition had been sitting out and was therefore pretty wet, and I didn’t think to factor that into my planning. Something to keep in mind for next year.

Anyway, the drink I entered, El Humo Grande, is a variation on a drink I’ve posted on here before – the Margarita de Ajonjoli.

El Humo Grande
35ml reposado tequila
20ml sesame-seed syrup
15ml lime juice
Small piece of chipotle pepper
Shake well with ice. Double strain over ice in a Margarita glass. Garnish with a wheel of lime.

AotC2013
Photo Credit: Michael Beach

Mixology Monday LXXIII: Jack Dandy

mxmologo

This will be my first attempt at a Mixology Monday post. I thought about keeping to my ongoing project instead of coming up with an original drink, but that would make sticking to Cardiff Cocktails‘ “Witches’ Garden” theme a bit tricky since the only fresh herb (or root, spice or bean) used in the entire “Playboy’s Host and Bar Book” is mint, which seemed a bit too obvious a choice.

So I decided to mix up something original with about the only ingredient I could gather right outside my window – dandelion. I thought perhaps dandelion-root coffee might perform well as a substitute for coffee in certain cocktails. I didn’t want anything that had coffee as the main ingredient, though, which eliminated a good chunk of the spiked-coffee type drinks. However, the Black Jack (or at least one of the drinks by that name) seemed a likely starting point. This cocktail apparently originated in 1914, and consists of equal parts brandy, kirschwasser, and cold coffee, with a sugared rim.

So I went out, dug up a dandelion root, and took a trip to the emergency room (long story). Once I was back on my feet I washed, dried, and roasted the root, which luckily gave me just enough for making 4 test drinks.

Substituting dandelion-root coffee worked better than I expected – I thought it would be a reasonable, but not perfect, stand-in. Instead, it hinted at coffee but was also very much its own thing. I tried a few proportions, but I like the equal parts the best. I also took the sugar off the rim and put it directly in the drink. The combination of ingredients really showcases the dandelion root flavours well – the smokiness from roasting the roots plays nicely with the brandy, and there’s a sort of nutty, chocolate flavour that enhances and is enhanced by the kirsch.

So here it is, a dandelion variation on the Black Jack:

Jack Dandy

Jack Dandy
20 ml brandy
20 ml kirschwasser
20 ml dandelion-root coffee*, chilled
10 ml simple syrup
Stir all ingredients together with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a dandelion flower.
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*Dandelion-Root Coffee

Dig up dandelion roots. Wash them, chop them fine, dry them on a baking sheet for about 2 hours at 200° F. Add 2 tablespoons dried root to a saucepan. Roast over medium high heat until nicely browned. Pour in 1 cup of water. Let simmer, covered, for about 15 min. Strain. NOTE: 2 tablespoons per cup makes a pretty strong coffee, which is good for the cocktail but might be a bit much for drinking straight.

Edit: Here’s the roundup of this month’s Mixology Monday entries. Some great looking drinks there!

Sesame Cocktail

Sesame Cocktail

Sesame
1½ ozs. light rum
½ oz. lime juice
½ oz. sesame-seed syrup (ajonjoli)
Shake well with ice. Strain into prechilled cocktail glass. […] A rummy and offbeat drink.

For this recipe I used Bacardi and homemade sesame-seed syrup (recipe below). The book says that the syrup is available in stores featuring Caribbean products, but I couldn’t find any and it didn’t seem too tricky to figure out a recipe for.

From the moment I discovered this recipe I’ve been itching to try it. Sesame-seed syrup struck me as a really interesting ingredient with a lot of potential, so it seemed strange that it is only found in 2 recipes in the Playboy Host & Bar Book.

I’ll say this for the Sesame, it’s well balanced. It also has a nice creamy texture from the sesame-seed syrup. But other than that it’s surprisingly plain. The flavours play so well together that it loses any distinctiveness. There’s a hint of sesame in the finish, but the ingredient isn’t showcased at all. It’s not a drink I’d make again by choice.

I’ve only found this recipe in 2 places: the PH&BB and CocktailDB (plus sites that pull recipes from CocktailDB). The recipes in both places are identical, so it is possible the recipe originated in the PH&BB. If anyone knows of an earlier citation for this drink, please let me know in the comments.

I decided to play with the sesame syrup some and see if I could improve on the original recipe somewhat. I think I succeded with the Margarita de Ajonjolí (I love it, at the very least).

Margarita de Ajonjoli

Margarita de Ajonjolí (Sesame Margarita)
50ml gold tequila
30ml sesame-seed syrup
20ml lime juice
Shake well with ice. Strain over ice in a Margarita glass.

The smokiness of the tequila really shines in this, and the sesame flavour stands up for itself much better than in the Sesame Cocktail.

Sesame-Seed Syrup
1½ c. sesame seeds
3 c. warm water
1½ c. sugar
Lightly brown the seeds in a frying pan. Allow the seeds to soak in water for 4 hours. Grind the seeds and water in a blender. Strain. Heat over medium heat and add sugar. Stir until dissolved.

I used a basic sesame milk recipe I found online and then sweetened it, so this is essentially a horchata (orgeat). I did find this difficult to strain effectively, so for my next batch I’ll try skipping the blender entirely, increasing the amount of seeds, boiling them in the water, and then straining the whole seeds out.

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For anyone interested in trying some other sesame-based cocktails, check out the Domo Arigato at The Cocktail Virgin Slut, and Tess Posthumus’ La Ninja.

This post is part of my project to make, and where possible improve upon, all the cocktails in “Playboy’s Host and Bar Book” from 1971.