Showing posts with label bitters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bitters. Show all posts

8.07.2008

Infusing...This Time With Wine

For those of you who are familiar with Bermuda, you are also familiar with that most wonderful of Bermudian condiments: Sherry peppers. Since I have been cooking regularly, I have found that I am almost unable to cook without my secret ingredient, the aforementioned sherry peppers. They are quite hard to come by in the States, and I didn't get to Bermuda this year.

What to do? Well, I could just get off my lazy butt and, you know, make them. In addition, Outerbridges, the only company which makes sherry peppers commercially (as well as rum and sherry-rum peppers) gets quite the pretty penny for them: $7 for a five ounce bottle or $23 for a fifth. On the other hand, I can make a batch of about half a liter of peppers for under ten bucks, and about ten minutes of my time. Moreover, I can then customize the sauce to my liking.
Sherry Peppers (Basic Recipe)
  • 2 c. - Sherry (Amontillado, preferably, just stay away from cream sherry)
  • 3-6 - Hot Peppers, quartered (Bird peppers or Scotch Bonnets would be traditional, but go with what you like.)
Allow to steep for at least two weeks, and up to a month, then strain and bottle.
There you go. Simple, easy, and while it takes a while, it barely takes any active time. However, I wanted to get a bit more flavour out of my sauce. If it was really that easy, the Outerbridges would be out of business. To get a bit more flavour out, I used a mix of peppers, and added a little more spice:
Scrivenal Spiced Sherry Peppers #1
  • 640 mL - Sherry (Taylor Gold)
  • 1 tsp - Ginger root, grated
  • 1 - Scotch bonnet pepper, quartered
  • 2 - Jalapeno peppers, quartered
  • 25 - Cloves, whole
  • 1 nut - Nutmeg, coarsely crushed
  • 1 stick - Cinnamon
  • 10 - Peppercorns, whole
Put ginger root, peppers, and sherry in airtight jar and allow to infuse for two weeks. Add cinnamon stick and peppercorns, and infuse for two more weeks. Add cloves and nutmeg and infuse for one to two days. Strain, season appropriately, and bottle.
That is the recipe I am following. Hopefully it will work out. I am hoping to get more complexity out of this batch, preferably something which I can also use as cocktail bitters.

This is the second of four posts I am presenting for Wine Blogging Wednesday. You can read the others from the original post, which you can find here.

This is the the first of several posts documenting my August Dramproject.

Well, that's all I got. Enjoy,
The Scribe

7.29.2008

Drink Softly, and from a Big Glass

If you look at cocktail blogs and sites across the 'Net, you can find literally millions of way to combine alcohol with everything from Tabasco to rock candy to bacon. People will turn it into a gummy bear, shake it up with ice and myriad other ingredients, or simply drink a pure solution of ethanol and water. Mixologists around the world are concerned with taking whisk(e)y, rum, brandy, vodka, gin, and a variety of more exotic spirits and turning them into interesting drinks. But why must all mixed drinks be either alcoholic, and usually extremely so, or overly sweet concoctions? Whether it is to allow children to sit with their parents at a bar, even to let college students just over and just under the legal drinking age to hang out together there, simply to make it easier for the designated driver to have a good time, or if it is only to expand our drinking horizons, we should also try non-alcoholic and minimally alcoholic cocktails.

The easiest drink is to take a soda and put in a generous splash of bitters in. Stirring's bitters are even non-alcoholic, making them quite well suited to the task. One drink I have been enjoying recently is:
Ginger Tonic
  • 1/2-1 oz - Bitters (Stirring's Blood Orange)
  • 4-8 oz - Ginger Ale (Canada Dry)
Build in a long glass with ice. Garnish with a cherry or orange wedge.
This is, of course, a very simple drink. However, we have the juices of a hundred fruits, bitters, sodas, waters, and a thousand different syrups. We can even use ice cream, as in the beloved root beer float, or coffee, or both as in an Israeli cafe au lait. We can infuse various herbs and spices into the drink as we please. An iced chai is little more than water infused with herbs and spices, and then mixed with milk.

If you have some interesting virgin drinks, either post them on your blog, or let me know in the comments. They may not help your heart, but they may help a friend.

Cheers!
The Scribe

(For any of you who may be scarred, I will not switch to non-alcoholic drinks. It is just a subject I have been thinking of a bit recently.)

7.25.2008

Welcome to My Life...

So I get home from the liquor store and read the review of orange bitters over at Oh Gosh! and discover the Stirrings blood orange bitters I had bought weren't really cocktail bitters at all, though I suspect they'll go nicely in soda, and a bitter soda is another treat I enjoy. Anywho, I headed back to Downtown today and picked up a bottle of Regan's #6, and discovered that between when I went in on Monday and when I was there today, they had also gotten in a shipment of Peychoud's. Anyway, now I'm well stocked up with bitters. Next subject to pursue: Getting my modifiers up to snuff. I need some vermouth, some triple sec, and maybe some St. Germain or Chartruse, and possibly even a bottle of le muse verte.

Incidentally, looking at Regan's and Peychoud's bitters together, I noticed that they are almost identically packaged. The bottles are the same, they both have a stylized letter on the plastic seal, the label even has the same textured feel. I wonder if they are commonly made or bottled. If you know anything, please drop it in the comments.

7.24.2008

A Bitter Victory

About six months ago I went to my better spirits shop looking for bitters (yes, I have three package stores, my cheapie, Hillside Liquors, with crappy selection but good prices, my better spirits shop, Downtown Wine & Spirits, which is more expensive but has whatever you are looking for whether it's premium spirits, exotic beers, or wines, and my big box, Kappy's which is pretty far, but has the advantage of being cheap and having a pretty decent selection, but I digress) and they had one, count it one bottle of Angostura bitters collecting dust on the shelves behind the counter. When I went there the other day looking for Peychoud's bitters, they had expanded their selection to Regan's #6 and Stirrings...and they said they were looking into more! They recently remodeled and now every concievable cocktaily treat is within easy read, from arrack (and arak) to ahm....zwetchenswasser. Actually, I somehow doubt they have zwetchenswasser, since CocktaiDB says it's hard to find outside of Germany, but you get the point.

Anywho, I just thought I would share this news about the local occurance of this national phenomenon.

Best of health!
The Scribe