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What are you drinking tonight?

In the spirit of the great, endless "what are you cooking today" thread over on home cooking...

In my case, it's what one or two drinks I am going to have this weekend, since I am not metabolically gifted enough to manage those extra calories on a daily basis.

It's gone back to yucky, cold and sleety here, so I suspect I will feel like a rye Manhattan. Dolin vs. Carpano Antica depending my sweet tooth.
My mint patch is just getting going, so I'll look forward to that and some actual spring (drinking) weather.

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  1. The weather now in central Connecticut is spectacular. So I'll be sitting on my back porch sipping Eagle Rare bourbon (one ice cube, thank you).

    1. I am on a Martinez jag right now, but heavier on the gin than the proportions I most often see. I'm really loving this drink right now (with Plymouth and Carpano Antica).

      1. Reposado - three fingers - neat.

        1. I've been working my way through a bottle of strawberry liqueur that I made last spring. Still surprisingly flavorful after almost a year. A few ounces of the liqueur, an ounce of lemon (lime is too overpowering), half an ounce of Gran Classico for a touch more sweetness and some complexity, then shaken and strained. Upscale strawberry Daiquiri done right.

          13 Replies
          1. re: davis_sq_pro

            Would you share your recipe for strawberry liqueur? It sounds delish. I love fruity but most fruit liqueurs are just too overpoweringly sweet to me.

            I also love a Martinez. So far it's our favorite use of the Boomsma oude I picked up a while ago.

            MGZ--I was just saying last night that I don't think I have ever actually had straight tequila of any sort. Somehow I missed out on the whole tequila shots thing in my partygirl days :)
            What is your favorite brand? Did you have a gateway drink(s) to the good stuff neat?

            1. re: splatgirl

              We like the Espolon as an affordable "everyday" brand. Sometimes, I'll splurge on the Herradura. Honestly, though, I'm pretty good with most any reposada. In a way, I actually prefer them to some of the anejos I've tried.

              And, to answer your question, I've had a hellofalotta gateways in my life.

              1. re: MGZ

                MGZ - El Ultimo has a very nice bargain repo, I think it has a little more agave flavor than Espolon, though it is a touch sweeter.

                Some really outstanding reasonable priced (<$30) repos I have had recently - if you can find them in your area or online - are Don Celso, Don Fernando, Muchote, Don Nacho, 30-30.

                1. re: ncyankee101

                  I will make a note, nc, thanks. I have never seen most of those, but will try to seek some out. I have had the 30-30 and it is truly good stuff, but it's only sold in a store a coupla towns over.

                  When Sandy came blasting away at my hometown, we hunkered in with a bottle of the KAH anejo. What better way to deal with a "Superstorm" than a skull full of expensive tequila? Needless to say, I slept through the worst of it . . . .

                  1. re: MGZ

                    Unfortunately other than the 30-30 none of the ones I have listed above can be found in my area, or are even easy to find online. I had to order them from California. I got a couple bottles of the 30-30 repo last year for $10 after a mail in rebate, which was quite a deal.

                    I have yet to try KAH though if I can find a decent price it is on my list. That does however remind me of another surprisingly good bargain brand, Costco's Kirkland brand - which is from the same NOM as KAH. No repo but I do like the anejo, and for $21 for a liter it is tough to beat. The blanco is a very nice mixer with good agave flavor, maybe a little on the sweet side, at around $20 for a 1.75.

                    1. re: ncyankee101

                      Well, Costco doesn't sell booze in my part of NJ, so that one's out.

                      As to the KAH, I'll simply say this: If you're ever sittin' in your house while 90 mile per hour winds rip around you, the salt water is comin' up your street, and the power goes out, that Black Skull is somehow awful comforting. Plus, it makes a great candlestick holder for the followin' fifteen days without electricity.

                      1. re: MGZ

                        (FYI Costo Rt. 70 Brick/Lakewood, exit 88 sells booze. Generally some great deals on wine)

                        1. re: jrvedivici

                          They have good deals, but they are not a "Costco Liquor Store." Apparently, it is separately owned and just a discounter. Last I was there, they did not carry any of the Kirkland brands. Besides, even if they did, I'd have to venture into the (s)lower OC . . . .

              2. re: splatgirl

                Strawberry liqueur:

                Step 1: Go pick your own strawberries somewhere. Go for small ones. Pick at least three or four pints.

                Step 2: Bring them home, wash them, eat a bunch of them. Make your hands turn red.

                Step 3: Get a bottle of overproof rum. I like Plantation's Dark Overproof. Vodka or grain alcohol would be a more typical choice but I don't personally see the point.

                Step 4: Cut the berries up into smallish chunks and fill a couple of 16oz canning jars 4/5 of the way full with the berries.

                Step 5: Add an ounce of lemon juice to each jar and top up with rum. The lemon juice supposedly keeps the berries from getting a chalky flavor. I suspect citric acid would work just as well and then you could get more alcohol into the mix.

                Step 6: Walk away for two or three days. At this point the berries will be greyish pink. No need to infuse any longer than that in my humble opinion.

                Step 7: Strain.

                Step 8: Put a bunch of granulated sugar on the remaining berries in the jars and let it sit for an hour or so. This will suck a lot of the juice out of the berries.

                Step 9: Strain the solids out of the syrup. Rinse with a bit of additional rum. Keep the syrup in a separate container from the rum you strained in Step 7.

                Now you have a choice: At this point you'll have some crystal clear (at least mostly) strawberry tincture and some really tasty bright red strawberry syrup. Most recipes recommend dosing the tincture with the syrup until it reaches the desired level of sweetness, but I'm not sure that's the best idea. The syrup is full of suspended strawberry solids. And the raw tincture is quite pretty and flavorful on its own. Combining the two will result in a cloudy mess, although it's a delicious cloudy mess.

                What I've found is that if you do combine the two, you'll never be able to filter out all of those suspended solids (about 10 trips through coffee filters verified that). But given enough time (several weeks), they will drop out and you will be rewarded with a crystal clear product, sitting on top of a bunch of sediment. So if you do feel like combining them, and you do feel patient, just be sure to make enough liqueur so that you can decant without winding up with next to nothing. That's my plan for this year.

                Enjoy :-)

                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                  "Vodka or grain alcohol would be a more typical choice but I don't personally see the point."

                  The point is generally "pure essence of <whatever>."

                  I have several lovely essences of citrus - winter is boring in Michigan - and I love that they aren't corrupted by flavors of other spirits. I look forward to corrupting them at will with various spirits as the mood hits me.

                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                    Thanks for this! I'm in the process of making my own liquers right now. I already have the amaretto and coffee. This would be the next one.

                    1. re: davis_sq_pro

                      I wanted to give a quick update on this year's effort. A bit too late for strawberry season but maybe good for some autumn fruits.

                      I followed all of the above, mostly, and learned some new lessons:

                      A) Don't be tempted to "speed up" Step 8 by putting way too much sugar on the berries. That's probably common sense, but it's exactly what I did this year, and after mixing everything together I had way too much sweetness. Luckily, I was able to balance it ...

                      B) Step 5 calls for lemon juice, but I upgraded my game this year by purchasing a bottle of citric acid to use instead. Why add lemon aroma to your strawberry liqueur? With the acid I feel like I have a lot more control, less dilution (I can make it super-concentrated), and fewer unwanted side-effects.

                      C) I didn't attempt any kind of filtration this year. Instead I followed the guidelines listed here. I let it sit in a bottle for 6 long and painful weeks, until I finally decanted (through a fine mesh strainer). Interestingly, there was a "cloudy" looking layer on the bottom which turned out to be, effectively, strawberry jelly. This held all of the other solids in place pretty well and I lost very little actual liquid in the decanting phase. The result is a beautiful and very clear liqueur.

                      D) If you're running low on high proof spirits, be careful what you reach for. I had a bottle of Goslings 151 sitting there and thought, "why not use it to top up these jars?" Mistake. My liqueur has a weird bitter aftertaste that I can only attribute to that rum. Luckily, it seems to hide pretty well in any mixed applications, so I guess that's where this stuff is headed. Very interestingly, the dark color doesn't seem to have impacted the color of the liqueur at all. It seems to have been absorbed into the berries -- those that were in the jars I topped up were markedly gray as compared to the other jars where I used a lighter colored overproof rum. (Yes, Wahooty, I am a corrupter of all that is pure.)

                      Next stop, I hope: quince liqueur. Anyone ever mess around with it?

                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                        Hey corrupt away...there's room in my liquor cabinet for triple sec, Creole Shrubb, and Grand Marnier...corruption certainly has its place. ;)

                        I'm now pondering peach liqueur...any experience there?

                2. Last Word.

                  With 3/4 Chartreuse and Maraschino to 1 gin and lime. Very nice on a warm spring evening.

                  Yes, I know it is one of the quintessential equal parts drinks, but the Chartreuse can get a little overpowering for me so I have been tinkering with the ratios.