Sunday, June 10, 2012

Old Fashioned

I thought these were ThunderCats napkins...

The Old Fashioned is just that, old fashioned. It's simple, a classic, and fucking perfect. Most bars make them wrong, but a few make them very well, and you can too. The homemade Old Fashioned is the best kind. It's one of my three favorite cocktails, and since I'm watching Mad Men, it seems an appropriate choice for tonight's post.
This version isn't much different, except that I used coconut syrup instead of a sugar cube. You don't get to do any muddling, but there is still a bit of ritual involved. Some bartenders will muddle an orange slice and a cherry in the glass. Don't do this. It's way too sweet and it's gross.
I'm not totally convinced that coconut sugar is that much better for you than table sugar, but it seems like it and I have some, so I'm going to keep using it. Also, it has more flavor to it than plain sugar, a little caramel-ish, kind of like dark brown sugar.
2 ounces rye whiskey (I like Copper Fox)
2 dashes bitters
1 barspoon of coconut syrup
Soda water
The coconut syrup I have is pretty solid at room temperature, so after putting in the glass I splash some hot water in to dissolve it. Once it's dissolved, tilt the glass and rotate it to coat the glass. Now stick the glass on ice for a minute while you fetch the whiskey, bitters, and soda water.
Now add the bitters, whiskey, some ice, and fill the glass with soda water. Stir, and garnish with a large orange peel and if you have one, a bourbon-soaked cherry (I'll write about those, later). Leave the stirrer in the glass.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lilikoi Daiquiri

 lilikoi, or yellow passion fruit

This one is so simple that it's barely a cocktail, but sometimes the best cocktail is the one you have. I'm currently visiting home in Hawaii and the place I'm staying is pretty limited in the bar department. I'm not about to go broke stocking this place, so I'm making due with what's here.
This has turned out surprisingly well. I picked up a bottle of Koloa white rum (my favorite white) for about $25. This usually costs me about $35 and a couple of hours of driving, so that's pretty awesome.
I just ran out of limes and was looking for something to use instead when I found some lilikoi growing on a vine in the yard. I cut one open and looked around the kitchen for something to juice it with--no tools into this place, either. If you aren't familiar with a lilikoi, they are full of seeds. In fact, all the juice/flesh is on the seeds. Finally, thirsty and tired and digging through the kitchen for a juicing/straining solution, I juices scooped the whole mess into my glass, filled it with ice, and poured my rum in. A thorough stir and I was in business.

  • 2-3 ounces Hawaiian white rum
  • juice, flesh, and seeds of a whole lilikoi

The result was delightful. The lilikoi is sweet and sour at the same time, and tastes excellent with rum without requiring a sweetener for balance. As a bonus, th ice kept all the seeds at the bottom and out of the way. There weren't many ripe lilikoi on the tree outside, but through some lazy experimentation I discovered that adding only ice and rum to my glass kept most of the flavor going without needing additional fruit.

What do you do if you don't have these growing in your yard? I don't know, you figure it out.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Rum Coco

The holidays are over, so I guess it's about time for another recipe. This one is very simple, but very refreshing and delicious. Perfect for a hot day at the beach, or if you don't live where I do, pretending it's a hot day at the beach.
If you really want to caveman it up, I'd recommend climbing a tree and cracking open a fresh young coconut yourself. For most of you, this isn't really an option. You can still grab a whole coconut from the grocery store and break out your machete, but the easiest option is to find some coconut water in a can. There are plenty of options, but usually use Amy and Brian's since it's easy to find (near me) and is just coconut water with no added sugar. One note about this: I've found that canned coconut water is still sweeter than the stuff you get straight from a coconut, so you might want to use less.
Use a tasty white rum (I like Koloa) or a light-bodied gold rum so you don't overpower the coconut water.

  • 2 ounces white or light gold rum
  • 2 to 4 ounces coconut water
  • Squeeze of lime juice, if desired

I like a little lime juice in mine, but it's not necessary. Watching Night of the Iguana while you drink it is purely optional.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Paleo Eggnog

Ah, the holidays. Time for gingerbread lattes, family dinners, and my new favorite, eggnog. I'd never even had it until last year, when a buddy of mine made some on a whim. His recipe called for "a few ounces" of bourbon, for which I subbed in a half bottle of Zaya rum. This year, I'm making a paleo version.
Originating in England, it's said that the name eggnog was shortened from "egg 'n' grog." Grog being a common Colonial term used for a drink made with rum. Since brandy and wine were heavily taxed in the colonies across the Atlantic, rum from the Caribbean was a cost-effective substitute. The inexpensive spirit, coupled with plentiful dairy products, made the drink a favorite in America.

Now we're going to make it a favorite of cavemen.
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup, and one tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 pint coconut milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream (raw, if you like)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 egg whites
  • 6 to 8 ounces of rum (I prefer half a bottle, but you can use less if you prefer)
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks, gradually adding the coconut sugar until it's dissolved. Stir in the coconut milk, heavy cream, rum, and nutmeg.
Separately, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add the last tablespoon of sugar while beating until you get stiff peaks. Whisk this into the rest of the mixture and chill before serving.
Serve in a glass of your choice and garnish with a dash of nutmeg.

Don't use a rum that's spiced or too sweet. Mount Gay Eclipse works nicely. Cheers!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hot Buttered Rum

I don’t know where you live, but around here it’s starting to get a little chilly—and by chilly, I mean anything less than 70 degrees. That means it’s time for something warm to drink. Something you can curl up with in front of the fireplace, or in my case, your HD TV with a video of a fireplace.
Hot buttered rum is an easy choice, especially since you don’t have to change much to fit it into your paleo lifestyle. Use coconut sugar for sweetener, and I recommend Kerrygold grass-fed butter (from grass-fed cows, they don’t actually feed the butter).
  • 2 oz aged Jamaican rum
  • hot water
  • 1 or 2 tsp coconut sugar, depending how sweet you like it
  • 1 slice of butter
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp allspice dash cinnamon /cinnamon stick / orange peel
Warm a glass mug with some hot water and then empty it out. Add the sugar and stir in an ounce or so of your hot water until it’s dissolved. Add the rum, cloves, allspice, and top off the mug with hot water. Stir in the butter until it’s melted, then garnish with your cinnamon stick and/or orange peel.

I prefer to make these in the glass one at a time, but you can easily pre-batch the butter and spices into a batter and store it in the fridge for quicker drinks. Just throw a slice of the batter into your mug of rum, add hot water, and go. Well, don’t actually go anywhere. Just sit down and relax.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Coconut Sugar

One of the ingredients you'll see me use is coconut sugar. This is not to be confused with palm sugar, which is different. I use Coconut Crystals by Coconut Secret. Is it still sugar? Yes, but there are a few reasons for using it in paleo style cocktails.
Coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index (35), very low fructose, and a better macronutrient profile than other types of sugar. It's also raw, unrefined, organic, and gluten-free. Lower GI means the carbs are digested and absorbed more slowly, usually resulting in a lower insulin demand. We want to minimize fructose due to it's useless, fattening nature and the damage it does to our livers (the booze doesn't need any help with that). Coconut sugar is made from coconut blossom sap, which is a little as 1.5% fructose. Compare that to agave syrup, which is can be up to 90% fructose, cane sugar at around 50%, and even honey which has up to 40%.
Coconut sugar can be made used about 1:1 in place of sugar, and makes a pretty good simple syrup. It will make your drinks darker due to its brown color, so some of the cocktails made with it will not look as pretty as their cane sugar counterparts.
Why don't I use artificial sweeteners? First of all, they sound nasty, and I try to use as many natural ingredients as possible. I'm no doctor, so I don't know anything about whether they are cancer causing, fattening, or anything along those lines. It has been shown, however, that anything sweet, including calorie/sugar free sweeteners, still trigger an insulin response from the body. If you are going to get it anyway, you might as well get it from something with nutrients in it. You rarely get something for nothing, anyway.
At the moment, I don't really know much about stevia leaves, but I am looking into them, and into how well they will work in cocktail recipes. Stay tuned.

Friday, September 2, 2011

NorCal Margarita

We might as well kick this off with the NorCal Margarita, made famous by Robb Wolf in his book, The Paleo Solution. It's not really a margarita, and it's barely a cocktail, but it's a good place to start for a few reasons:
-Tequila is made from agave, which is not a grain and therefore gluten free. Is it more gluten-free than any other spirit? Not at all, but unlike vodka or whiskey, there were never grains involved. This might make a different to some of you.
-Lime juice is your best friend in a paleo cocktail. It blunts insulin response, preventing the complete disruption of the insulin sensitivity your otherwise you've worked toward with your otherwise paleo diet. Also, since most foods provide a net acid load, it's nice to be able to even that out with the net alkaline load from the lime juice.
-The CO2 bubbles in soda water will accelerate the ethanol getting into your bloodstream, making you drunk faster. This is good in couple of ways, but the key is that you don't need to drink so many before you feel them.

  • 2 to 3 oz tequila (a nice reposado)
  • juice from 1 lime
  • club soda
Shake your tequila and lime juice with ice, then strain into chilled glass with ice and top off with soda. Garnish with a slice of lime, or just drink it and make caveman sounds. Your call.

You can obviously use this basic model for many cocktails,just swap out the spirit for any other that goes well with lime. My go-to drink at most bars is white rum on the rocks, lime juice (not Rose's!), and a splash of soda. That is of course unless it's a proper cocktail bar, which I will take full advantage of.