Low-Proof February? Yeah gurrrrrl.

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Alright y’alllllllll. Hot on the heels of Tiki The Snow Away comes my newest obsession: “Low-Proof February.” I think this is funny cause Tiki The Snow Away was my visceral reaction to the incredibly heavy and rich drinks we have during december (I’m looking at you Egg Nog!) and now Low-Proof February is my reaction to having so many overproof Rums in Tiki drinks. Ahhhh, it’s a silly world we live in.

So, y’all probably have questions. Questions like, “why are there so many bottles of fortified wine n such on your table gurrrrrl?” I’ll answer you with another question: What has an ABV lower than 20% and still has tons of flavor? Fortified wine, that’s what.

The goal of Low-Proof February is to use all of the things you have in the Aperitif & Digestif category as the main ingredients and to use Spirits as modifiers. Think of it as making inverted cocktails. For example: You’re could to use 2 oz of Vermouth and maybe just 1/2 an ounce of Brandy.

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Here’s a really good example of what I’m talking about. This drink is still very satisfying because Atxa Vermouth Amurrio is herbaceous, fruity, wonderful in a spritz, and a good Armagnac has tons of flavor even when used in small amounts.

Grandma’s Spritz

  • 2 oz Atxa Amurrio Vino Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz Chateau de Laubade VSOP Bas Armagnac
  • Soda Water
  • Garnish: Lemon Wheel

Combine ingredients in double rocks glass, add ice, top with Soda water, and garnish.

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Here’s another example that I made while at work at Duke’s Liquor Box. It’s a take on an Americano (Campari, Vermouth, Soda Water) where I used the brand-new-made-in-Brooklyn Forthave Spirits RED Aperitivo in place of Campari and Cocchi Rosa in place of Vermouth.

The Red Rosa

  • 1 1/2 oz Forthave Spirits Red Aperitivo
  • 1 1/2 oz Cocchi Rosa Aperitivo
  • Soda Water
  • Garnish: Orange wedge

Combine ingredients in double rocks glass, add ice, stir briefly, and garnish.

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Here is some inspiration for other low-proof ingredients: Tawny Port, Amontillado Sherry, and War + Rust (a Quinquina made in the USA and fairly similar to Byrrh Aperitif).

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Now for those of you who are like, “Girrrrrrl, I can’t handle only drinking Aperitivi/Digestivi for a month”, you could make yourself a Highball with Japanese Whisky or some other kind of light and wonderful Whisky.

Akashi White Oak Highball

  • 1 1/2 oz Akashi White Oak Japanese Whisky
  • 7 drops Scrappy’s Celery Bitters
  • Soda Water
  • No garnish

The instructions for how to make a proper Japanese Highball are somewhat complicated because in Japan, cocktail making is treated more like a tea ceremony. I do not purport to be an expert on how to make a proper Japanese Highball but here is roughly how to do it:

  1. Use a chilled glass and carefully add ice so it stacks properly
  2.  Pour 1 1/2 oz Japanese Whisky down the side of the glass, making sure not to get any Whisky on the top of the ice.
  3. Pour Soda water down the side of the glass, again making sure not to get any on the top of the ice, until there is approximately 1/4″ space left at the top of the glass.
  4. Put a long barspoon down the side of the glass and swizzle until you have combined the ingredients and created a bit of a frothy head at the top of the glass.
  5. Serve immediately with a straw.

In the case of this particular Highball, I’d recommend adding the bitters before adding the soda water.

Well that’s it! May your Low-Proof February be satisfying and creatively inspiring! I’ll be posting most of my recipes on Instagram, feel free to follow along there.

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Welcome to Tiki The Snow Away 2017!

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Hey y’all! Happy New Year and welcome to Tiki The Snow Away Volume III! Hope everyone has recovered from partying and like me, you’re already wishing you were on holiday in a tropical paradise. If you’re new to Home Bar Girl, you may be feeling confused as to why on earth I’d throw a Tiki party in the middle of winter but I’ve got one word for you- “escapism”.

Now, I’ll attempt to answer any questions you may have.

A. What is Tiki The Snow Away? On Jan 1 2015, I’d had way too much Egg Nog, Brooklyn was covered in snow, and I was like, “screw these heavy drinks, I’m only going to have citrusy Rum drinks for a month!” I asked some cocktail friends on instagram what they thought a good hashtag for a month-long Tiki party would be and @ntitz suggested #TikiTheSnowAway.

If you post a Tiki drink on Instagram during January, use the hashtag #TikiTheSnowAway and I or some of my other cocktail friends will re-post our fave drinks. If you post a Tiki drink on reddit, tag me (/u/homebargirl) and I will repost your drinks in a roundup.

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B. What sort of Spirits & Liqueurs will you need? RUM. You’re going to need a lot of Rum. I have a wide selection of Rum from several caribbean countries and I love trying to fit two or three of them into a drink. You can also use Cachaça, Gin, Tequila, Mezcal, Brandy, Blended Scotch and really any spirits that work well with spiced syrups, citrus, and other Tiki ingredients.

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As far as the Liqueurs go, this is winter Tiki. Though I’m still totally gonna use that Blue Curaçao to make another Surf Girl variation, I’m also challenging myself to try and work Amaro Meletti (or another easy going Amaro), PX Sherry, and St. George Bruto Americano into a few drinks. Beyond that, I’d highly recommed having some kind of Orange Curaçao/Creole Shrubb, Falernum, and Angostura Bitters on hand. If you’re lucky enough to have the Hamilton Pimento Dram (allspice liqueur made with funky Jamaican Rum), you can use it in a Daiquiri along with your fave Rum!

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C. What kind of produce do you need? Fresh fruit. Now, I know this is a winter Tiki party, but you should be able to get Limes, Grapefruit, and BLOOD ORANGES at the grocery store! Seasonally appropriate and way more delicious than regular oranges, Blood Oranges will give beautiful color to your drinks!

If you can’t find any good Pineapples to juice, I would recommend getting a bottle of unsweetened Pineapple Juice.

*Note: If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, I know it’s summer so, go wild with your fruit selections.

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D. What kind of Syrups will you need?  Cinnamon Bark Syrup. Cinnamon is always linked to wintry flavors so I’d recommend making a batch. Other highly recommended syrups are: Simple Syrup made with Cane or Demerara Sugar, Orgeat, Passionfruit, Honey Syrup (1:1 Honey and water), Coconut Cream, and Grenadine.

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Tiki Mugs & Glassware

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Tiki and spice garnishes

E. Anything Else? Glassware and garnishes. Tiki Mugs are tons of fun, but If you don’t have mugs, cocktail glassware will do though you might need to get a large glass for some of the bigger Tiki drinks. It’s also fun to throw a swizzle stick, Tiki umbrella, some monkeys, or a plastic sword in your drink, so head to a party store if you don’t have any of those items. Whole spices like Cinnamon, Star Anise, and freshly grated Nutmeg go well in Tiki drinks too.

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Most of all, just have fun with it! Remember this is your Tropical Paradise escape from reality. Cheers and can’t wait to prrrrrrrty with y’all!

Citrus Sherbet #2 & Hot Ruby Punch

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Happy Holidays y’all! Citrus season is upon us and it’s time for the next experiment in my quest to find the best Citrus Sherbet ever! For my second Citrus Sherbet, I wanted to focus on the flavor of Grapefruit but that poses a bit of a problem in this country.

“Why?” You may ask?

Ideally, White Grapefruit would make an excellent Sherbet but every damn market only sells Ruby Red and Ruby Red contains entirely too much sweetness for proper cocktailing! So what’s a Home Bar Gurrrrl or Dude to do? Simple, add Lemon.

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In order to make Sherbet, we must first make Oleo-Saccharum.

Citrus Oleo Saccharum #2:

  • the peel of 1 Ruby Red Grapefruit
  • the peels of 3 Lemons
  • 10 oz Demerara Sugar
  1. Combine ingredients in a jar or other sealable container and muddle so that the oil is released from the peels.
  2. Let sit in the jar overnight, shaking occasionally. You want a syrup to form from the Citrus oil and Sugar.

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Then it’s time to make Citrus Sherbet #2.

To the Citrus Oleo Saccharum you will add:

  • 6 oz Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
  • 6 oz Lemon Juice

Add juices to jar with the Oleo Saccharum, cover, and shake until sugars have dissolved in juice. Remove peels from jar and strain Sherbet into an airtight container. Will keep for approx 2 weeks in the fridge.

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Wahoooo! Now you have a Grapefruit forward Citrus Sherbet! What to do with it? Well, since Oleo Saccharum and Sherbet are traditional Punch ingredients, the obvious answer is PUNCH.

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I was already thinking “Hmmm Grapefruit would really slam with Batavia Arrack.” And then I had a shower thought (literally in the shower), “What about a hot tea punch?” I looked in David Wondrich’s Punch book for inspiration, lo and behold, there is a hot tea punch with Batavia Arrack!

Ruby Punch (Recipe from 1862, measurements according to my best calculations)

  • 48 oz Green Tea (6 tea bags)
  • 16 oz Sugar
  • ~12 oz Lemon Juice
  • 16 oz Batavia Arrack
  • 16 oz Ruby Port
  • Garnish: as much Nutmeg as you can stand

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Here’s my adapted recipe to go with Citrus Sherbet #2. No lie, it’s fucking fabulous and is one of the easiest drinking Punches I’ve ever tried.

Hot Ruby Punch (adapted for Citrus Sherbet #2)

  • 6 oz Hot Sencha Green Tea
  • 1 1/2 oz Citrus Sherbet #2
  • 2 oz Batavia Arrack
  • 1 1/2 oz Ruby Port
  • Garnish: a shit ton of Nutmeg

Add ingredients to mug with the hot tea being last. Garnish with a metric ton of fresh nutmeg.

There you have it! Happy Holidays and enjoy your Citrus Sherbet adventures!

I Made Mulled White Wine with the Cooking Gift Set Co. Brewing Kit and It’s a Game Changer

Wooooo y’all, I’m super pumped to be writing this post! A couple of weeks ago, Cooking Gift Set Co. hit me up and asked if I wanted to give their Mulled Wine Brewing Kit a whirl and I was like, “HELL YES!” You know I love infusing spirits and making syrups and to have a product with allllll my fave spices in a kit was music to my Home Bar Grrrrl ears!

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In addition to good looking and perfectly sized packaging (I mean, look at this amazing packaging!) the Cooking Gift Set Co. Mulled Wine Brewing Kit comes with detailed recipes! Oh how I love a very specific recipe!

The recipes include Festive Red, Spiced Cider, Gløgg, Glühwein, and Lush White…

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…LUSH WHITE. Hold up a sec! “Lush White? MULLED WHITE WINE?” Yes y’all, MULLED WHITE WINE. Game changer.

Their recommendation was to use a Dry Chardonnay or Viognier but I wanted to try it with Chenin Blanc cause lately I’ve been on a Chenin Blanc kick. Typically Chenin Blanc is big bodied for white wines, kind of fruity, dry, and really pleasant.

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I read the Lush White recipe which suggested the use of dried orange peel, cloves, star anise, and crystalized ginger. I toasted the spices for a minute or two on low heat…

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…put the spices in one of the satchels from the Mulled Wine Brewing Kit, added 1 bottle of Chenin Blanc, 1 cup of water, 1/4 cup sugar, and a couple of lemon peels.

Then let it simmer, not boil, for around 20 mins (as per the instructions). After that I turned the heat off, covered the pot and let it sit for around 30 mins. (The instructions said to let it sit for 5 minutes but y’all know I can’t let something sit for less than 30.)

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Voila, I had just made the delicious Lush White Mulled Wine. And I’m talking SUPER DELICIOUS. The spices are so so nice, the balance is excellent with star anise coming through first followed by an undercurrent of earthiness from the orange peel, cloves, and ginger.

So, now what? What to do with Mulled White Wine?

Gurrrrrrl, first of all, you should just pour some in a mug with a cinnamon stick and “wooooo” yourself to paradise! Then maybe put on your fave winter movie and chill out on the couch.

But wait, there’s more! You may be thinking, “I know what this Mulled White Wine needs. It needs some Brandy.” Congratulations, you’ve literally just made Fortified Wine. Wine + Sweetness + Herbes/Spices + Fortification (aka some kind of spirit) = Fortified Wine. America, get on that shit.

Lush White Fortified Wine

  • 6 parts Lush White Mulled Wine
  • 1-2 parts Brandy, Cognac, Calvados, Apple Brandy, or Pear Brandy

When serving, I’d encourage freshly grated Nutmeg as a garnish.

If for some reason you didn’t drink all of your Lush White Mulled Wine and part of the bottle made it to the fridge, you can use the wine as a cocktail ingredient.

There were a lot of possibilities when trying to come up with a Cocktail worthy of the Lush White but my first and best thought was, “Gurrrrl, put it with Aged Rhum Agricole and Creole Shrubb.” Done.

Nöel in the Antilles

  • 3 oz Lush White Mulled Wine
  • 3/4 oz Rhum JM VO Agricole (or the Aged Agricole of your choice)
  • 1 barspoon Hamilton Petite Shrubb (or the Creole Shrubb of your choice)
  • Garnish: Star Anise

Combine ingredients over ice and stirrrrrrrrrrrr. Strain into chilled coupe and garnish.


Holiday Cheers to y’all and if you want to order a Cooking Gift Set Co. Mulled Wine Brewing Kit, use the code HomeBarGirl and get 20% off if you order by Christmas Day! AMAZING RIGHT?

The Cranberry infused Dolin Rouge is Back!

Hey y’all! Happy December and remember to be as chill as possible during the Holidaze. Chill could mean doing more yoga, going running in chilly breezes, or curling up on the couch and watching your fave movie with Princess Pretty Kitty, aka your cat.

I’ve been doing all of the above + relaxing with a nice glass of fortified wine. Yep, I’ve been on a huge vermouth/aperitif/digestif kick lately. Literally can’t get enough: Byrrh, Bonal, Alessio Vermouth di Torino, Cocchi Dopo Teatro Vermouth Amaro, Dolin Blanc, Dolin Rouge…

But then I ran out of Dolin Blanc et Rouge and thought to myself, “GRRRRL, now it’s holiday times and you need to make that Cranberry infused Dolin Rouge!” YES! And I’m gonna put it in alllllll the Negroni variations I can think of.

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Cranberry Infused Dolin Rouge Vermouth

  • 250 ml Dolin Rouge or other French Sweet Vermouth. (But try to get Dolin Rouge, it’s so perfect with Cranberries.)
  • 250 ml dried Cranberries (by Volume). I don’t have a scale. Do you have a scale? Lucky you.
  1. In Jar combine dried Cranberries and Dolin Rouge
  2. Let sit for 48 hours gently rolling or stirring
  3. Double strain into glass container and keep in the fridge for up to two weeks
  4. Eat the now-vermouth-soaked Cranberries or give them to a friend. YUMMMM

Cheers and happy Holiday Infusions to y’all!

 

 

 

 

Easy Peasy Drinks to Make for Thanksgiving and All Your Other Holiday Parties

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It’s that time of year again. Not only is it Thanksgiving, it’s Thanksgiving during a election year, meaning that you’re probably feeling salty towards at least some of your friends and relatives or perhaps they’re feeling salty towards you! What will ease the anguish you’re experiencing as you mentally prepare yourself to share a meal with your loved ones?

A drink that’s what!

Ok, so now you realize you have to make drinks for a whole bunch of people, AND you’re feeling salty. What to do?

Keep it easy man! Today, I’m gonna give us a few large-format cocktails that will work for all the upcoming holiday parties and give you a lil peace of mind. Ready? Let’s go.

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Firstly, you could set up an Old Fashioned Station for your guests to help themselves. This is a great idea cause build-your-own-drinks tend to be a hit at parties! You could get a couple different kinds of spirits (Bourbon, Rye, Aged Rum, Apple Brandy, Añejo Tequila, Mezcal, Brandy, etc), different types of sweeteners or a mixer like the excellent Cocktail Crate Spiced Old Fashioned Mixer, an assortment of Bitters, garnishes and let the people do what they want!

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A sparkling wine cocktail: This one is easy cause you can batch your modifiers (like Apple Brandy + Cinnamon Syrup, Angostura Bitters) ahead of time, pour them into the glass and top with prosecco. Donezo!

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Bottled Negroni: This one is almost a no-brainer. Make a bottle sized Negroni, let it hang out in the bottle for a few days and serve as an aperitivo. Super duper easy and the Negroni is a perfect drink to cut through all those heavy foods you’re about to consume.

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4. Punch. Duh. This is by far my fave format for large parties cause Punch is the most communal cocktail of them all. I’ve created many Punch recipes but my two favorites are…

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Winfred Bumbry Punch: This Punch uses Irish Whiskey, two kinds of Rum, Ruby Port, Lemon Sherbet, and Nutmeg. It’s fabulously tasty and was a home run at last year’s Friendsgiving.

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DD’s Cider Punch: this Punch features mulled apple cider, two kinds of Rum, Allspice Dram, Benedictine, and Lemon Sherbet. (If you haven’t noticed, Sherbet is essential in a proper punch.)

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See, that was so easy! Cheers and hope y’all have loads of fun during the holidays!