Genever & the Flemish Martinez

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Ok, so y’all remember how I went to Belgium cause I was going to visit my brother and drink “all the Jenever?”  Well, dreams are one thing but reality is often so much better and WOW my mom and I had some really tasty stuff. We drank everything from “the Best Beer in the World” (Westvleteren, at the Sint Sixtus Abbey. Tears to my eyes!), to some of the best Gins I’ve ever had (and am actively trying to import to the USA), to incredible wines from my brother’s collection (cause we DeLunas are totally wine snobs), to yes, Genever.

Let’s take a lil photo trip shall we?

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The most idyllic sheep on earth y’all.

Flanders, the eastern part of Belgium, is home to a lot of agriculture and we all know what that means. Sheep, cows, pastoral landscapes, incredible cheeses and…Grains, y’all. It means grains.

Where there is a ton of grain and a good water supply, there can be a ton of spirit production.

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Don’t you love that Genever comes in a clay pot? So cool.

The earliest reference to Genever dates all the way back to the 13th C in Brugge, Belgium (Bruges for all you French speaking people). There is further mention of Genever production found in papers from the 16th C in Antwerp. The earliest reference to Jenever distillation in the Netherlands is from the 17th C, meaning that Genever was actually created in Flanders and not in Holland.

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This lovely photo is from the medieval city of Gent (Ghent for all y’all francophiles). These two buildings in the center of the photo are actually from the Middle Ages and still standing! Stunning architecture, no?

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There is also a fabulous medieval castle in Gent, Kasteel Gravesteen. Ohhhhh, so massive, so spooky.

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But the real reason I wanted to go to Gent was to drink at ‘t Dreupelkot, home of the largest selection of Genever in Belgium. With over 200 different types, I was freaking out like a kid in a candy store!

The fun thing about Genever in a place like ‘t Dreupelkot is that they have flavored versions too which are somewhat like liqueurs and maaaaaad tasty. The flavors shown above are Hazelnut, Kirsch, and one of their many Oude Graanjenevers. It was divine! I would drink that Hazelnut one errrrryday if I could.

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So this brings us back to an important point, what exactly IS Genever? Well, it’s a combination of neutral grain spirit, moutwjin (malt wine, aka distilled fermented barley malt), sugar, juniper, and other herbs. This delicious Fillier’s Oude Graanjenever 5 Jaar tastes something like a mix between malt Whisky and Old Tom Gin. It’s fabulous and I am definitely loving all of its supreme richness.

There are two main types of Genever:

  1. Oude is created in the old style with grains, malt wine, typically distilled in an Alembic still, and a higher amount of sugar than…
  2. Jonge is much closer to a neutral grain spirit and can be made with nearly any type of base (sugar beets, grains), some malt wine and sugar.

When served a pour of Genever, the barman typically fills the glass to the very top and it is customary to bend over and take your first sip from the glass. Then you raise your glass and say “Santé” or “Gezondheid”!

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…Buuuuuut, this is me, and who am I? “A gurrrrrrl making fabulous cocktails.” Mhmm. So, let’s put this glorious, malty, lightly sweet Fillier’s Oude Graanjenever in a cocktail!

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What could be more fitting for the grandfather of Gin than a Martinez variation? Nada, y’all. Nada!

Since our base spirit is Genever and not Old Tom Gin, I felt like Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao was the way to go instead of Maraschino. Equally as important was using two types of vermouth, so as not to overwhelm the drink with sweetness. Lastly, Boker’s Bitters cause they’re perfect in a Martinez.

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Stirrrrrr like you’re thinking about how 13th Century Belgium is about to give a sublime gift to your palate.

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Though this might not be the most adventurously named Martinez variation, it is accurate and like your history teacher probably said, “Accuracy is key.”

Flemish Martinez

  • 2 oz Filliers’ Oude Graanjenever 5 Jaar
  • 1/2 oz Dolin Rouge
  • 1/2 oz Dolin Dry
  • 1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
  • 1 dash Boker’s Bitters
  • Garnish: Orange peel rose

Combine ingredients over ice and stirrrrrrrr whilst you think about the middle ages. Strain into chilled coupe and garnish.

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Cheers and may this post fill your mind with knowledge, a desire to visit Flanders, and a thirst for Genever! I know I’ll be going back as soon as I possibly can cause Belgium is a beautiful, tasty country!

 

Melissa Negroni

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I’m going FULL #NegroniWeek here at Home Bar Girl because I love rules. Yes, as hilarious as that sounds about a “grrrrrl making fabulous cocktails”, it’s true. The thing I dig about the Negroni rules are that it forces me to stick to an idea. And even though I really like to break the Negroni Rule of 3 (hello, I’m all about a four ingredient Negroni variation), I still have to keep the spirit of the drink intact.

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Today’s variation was totally inspired by my fave summer Gin: Bimini Gin. The very first time I tried this Gin, I knew I wanted to put it in a Negroni Bianco. Bimini Gin is a light, bright Gin from Maine and though the juniper is there, it takes a back seat to a whole bunch of citrus notes.

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And when I find a Gin that’s full of Citrus notes, I think “MELISSA!” Yes y’all, it’s time for another cocktail with Lemon Balm cause I cannot get enough of Melissa officinalis.

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Something else about Bimini Gin in a Negroni Bianco made me want to use two kinds of Dolin Vermouth. The Blanc cause duh, but the Dry was calling my name from the fridge. So I said, “Ok, y’all can both be in the drink but only if the Salers agrees to it!” The Salers DID agree, so here we have a four ingrdient Negroni Bianco. (Rules? What rules?)

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Sweet Melissa, how I love thee, let me count the springtime ways!

Melissa Negroni

  • 1 1/4 oz Bimini Gin
  • 3/4 oz Dolin Blanc
  • 1/2 oz Dolin Dry
  • 1/2 Salers Aperitif

Garnish: Lemon Balm leaf

Combine ingredients over ice and stir. Strain into double Rocks glass over ice. Spank the Melissa, rub it on the rim of the glass, and garnish.

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SUUUUUUPER nice for this late spring #NegroniWeek! Cheers!

The Viriditas Cocktail

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day y’all! Today I’ve got a very special cocktail with Teeling Whiskey. Gurrrrrl, “Why is it very special?” Well, I’ve been working on this recipe for a whole year and am finally feel ready to show it to you during Irish Whiskey Month 2016.

Speaking of which, if you wanna join the prrrrrty…use the hashtag #IrishWhiskeyMonth on Instagram and I’ll repost your photo! The only rule is that you have to include Irish Whiskey in your cocktail.

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Stirrrrrrrr. Take a deep breath. Stirrrrrr again. Sigh with contentment. Rinse. Repeat.

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So, “Home Bar Gurl, a whole year? what were you waiting for?” Glad you asked.

Last March, I was perusing Martin’s Index of Cocktails whilst hunting for Irish Whiskey recipes. I came across a recipe for the “Shamrock Cocktail” from 1917 which looked promising.

Shamrock Cocktail (Recipes for Mixed Drinks, 1917)

  • 1 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1 oz Dry Vermouth
  • 3 dashes Green Chartreuse
  • 3 dashes Crème de Menthe
  • Garnish: Olive

Stir over ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish.

Sounds pretty good right? I know this is a gimmicky holiday drink but it’s honestly tasty! That being said, I kept tinkering with the recipe throughout the year til I felt like it would stand up to our current palates. Like you could drink it whenever, wherever, during any time of the year and still be like, “yeaaaaaah man. That is an awesome drink!”

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Cast of Characters:

  1. I kept the Irish Whiskey as the base ingredient and used Teeling Small Batch cause it plays so well with others.
  2. But then I felt like the drink needed a little more backbone and some extra botanicals. Hayman’s Old Tom Gin called to me and I said “yaasssss kween!”
  3. I swapped the Crème de Menthe for something more herbaceous and complex while still being minty: Branca Menta!
  4. I kept the Green Chartreuse for herbaceousness and the Dolin Dry cause y’all know that I luuuuuuuv Dolin Dry in anything.

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Oh, and I kept the Olives as a garnish cause the brininess and vegetal qualities of cocktail Olives really do compliment this drink! I know it sounds weird but it tastes sooooo goooood!

Viriditas Cocktail

  • 1 1/2 oz Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey
  • 3/4 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz Hayman’s Old Tom Gin
  • 2 tsp Branca Menta
  • 1 tsp Green Chartreuse
  • Garnish: Olives (however many you want!)

Combine ingredients over ice and stirrrrrrrrr. Strain into coupe and garnish.

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Also, look at this vintage coupe! I just got it and I want to give a huge thanks to Duke’s Liquor Box for carrying such beautiful wares! Luv u!

May your St. Patrick’s Day be awesome and try not to get too crazy. Remember to drink in moderation, have tons of water, and don’t forget the Ibuprofen + Coconut Water!

Luv y’all in this Irish Whiskey Month!

 

 

Brigid’s Miracle

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Happy Pi Day everyone! Spring has sprung in North America during this glorious Irish Whiskey Month! All the new green grass and freshly budding leaves have inspired me to create an herbaceous cocktail with Teeling Single Grain Whiskey.

If you wanna join the party, use the hashtag #IrishWhiskeyMonth on Instagram and I’ll repost your photo! The only rule is that you have to include Irish Whiskey in your cocktail.

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Basking in the sunlight, she reached for her stirring glass and copper tools. She poured the ingredients in, added ice, and began to stir. She gazed thoughfully out the window, “Why has that man decided to wear flip-flops? This is New York City. You can’t wear flip-flops on the streets in this town!” 

Suddenly, she remembered that she was stirring a cocktail and stopped the motion of her right hand with a flick of the wrist. She grabbed the julep strainer, poured the cocktail into a coupe, and said to herself, “Gurrrl, it’s ok. He must be from out of town and has no idea that flip-flops are the most dangerous footwear he could have chosen.”

She took a sip and smiled. Her thoughts drifted far away.

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Here are the glorious ingredients for this springiest of spring libations. What posessed me to put these flavors together? Well…

I had one goal: I really wanted to have St. George Absinthe (anise, lemon grass, grassiness, herbaceous glory), Chartreuse Jaune (flowers, honey, flowers, saffron, flowers, etc), and Teeling Single Grain (berries, grains, honey, wonderfulness) hang out in the same glass. The Dolin Dry was for length and for awesomeness. Dolin Dry is always awesome.

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I’ve decided to put some of my St. George Absinthe in a small bottle so I can use it by drops from a pipette. I considered using an Absinthe rinse, but didn’t want to waste any of it and wanted to control how much flavor it contributed to the drink. Accuracy is key when using small amounts of Absinthe.

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I wanted the presentation for this drink to be as simple and inviting as possible and so have chosen to discard the peel. If you’d like to keep the peel in the drink, go for it!

Brigid’s Miracle

  • 1 1/2 oz Teeling Single Grain Irish Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz Dolin Dry
  • 1/4 oz Chartreuse Jaune
  • 15 drops St. George Absinthe Verte (1. 5 dashes)
  • Garnish: Lemon peel expressed and discarded

Combine ingredients over ice and stirrrrrrr (until you gaze out the window and lose yourself in the moment. Remember stirring is Zen.). Strain into chilled coupe. Express Lemon peel and discard.

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The name of this drink is a nod to one of the patron saints of Ireland and a symbol of spring: Brigid of Kildare. May all your cocktails be marvelous and your #IrishWhiskeyMonth be sensational!

Colonial Cash Crop

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Alright y’all, I’ve got a really delicious drink today that’s a bit more on the adventurous side. Shocking, I know. Me be adventurous? Perish the thought!

Let’s shoop right in.

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The inspiration for this drink came from wanting to use the first three ingredients pictured here in a stirred cocktail: Yaguara Cachaça + Batavia-Arrack + Giffard Banane.

Why put these three together? Well…

  1. Yaguara Cachaça = Bananas, Coconut, Strawberries, Tropical Fruits, pot still funk, Grass. It’s farily viscous, smooth and really had me wanting some…
  2. Giffard Banane = more Banana. So I was really going for Banana, but like multiple versions of Banana. Giffard Banane is more like Banana Bread. Baking spices galore.
  3. Batavia-Arrack = I love this stuff. It’s obtuse as hell. It’s super complex. It’s from Indonesia. It’s kind of hard to describe but I’ll say this: sort of like Rhum Agricole Blanc with a rice overtone, coconut undertone, astringency (like some Scotches), and just feels really tropical.

So essentially we’ve got a tropical-banana paradise as the base, but as a stirred drink. I added Amontillado Sherry to compliment the Giffard Banane spice-wise, the Dolin Dry to dry the drink out, Pernod Pastis to better marry the flavors, and the Nutmeg cause what garnish could be better?!

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It’s like Nutmeg was made for this drink. Or this drink was made for Nutmeg. Or whatever, y’all get the picture.

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The name of this drink is my attempt at being cheeky considering the Cocktail as we know it, is deeply rooted in colonialism. Arrack (or Arak, or Rak) was actually the first Spirit used in Punch recipes back during the Colonial Era and the first spirit the Europeans went nuts over. Like Arrack, Cachaça is also made from Sugar Cane making it just as much of a Colonial Era Cash Crop. Lastly, sweet, glorious Nutmeg. Wars were fought over Nutmeg because Nutmeg is the best spice on earth.

Colonial Cash Crop

  • 1 1/4 oz Yaguara Cachaça
  • 1/2 oz Batavia-Arrack van Oosten
  • 1/2 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
  • 1/2 oz Dolin Dry
  • 1/4 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
  • Garnish: Pernod Pastis rinse, freshly grated Nutmeg

Rinse a rocks glass with Pernod and chill. Combine ingredients over ice and stirrrrrrrrrr til you’re feeling great. Remember, stirring is the ultimate zen. Strain into rocks glass over ice. Garnish with freshly grated Nutmeg.

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The funny thing is, Colonial Cash Crop doesn’t actually come out tasting like BANANA. It’s more like Cachaça-Banana throughout, Arrack wide and present, and the other flavors sort of do a slow roller coaster. It’s pretty intense but sooooo good.

May all your cocktail adventures be as rewarding as this one was for me! Cheers!

Temple of Clarity

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Ahhhhhhh, a stirred drink. It’s been a hot second since I posted about a cocktail in a Coupe and now that Tiki The Snow Away is over, I’ve got one for y’all.

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Seriously, after a month of shaken and blended drinks, I feel like I almost forgot how zen it is to just STIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Yes, that’s a lot of “R’s” but I like stirring, it makes me feel relaxed.

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Here are yer cast of characters:

  1. Templeton Rye: I wanted the base spirit to be Rye cause I was in the mood. “No lie, she wanted Rye.” I’m really digging the smoothness and mixability of Templeton.
  2. Grand Marnier: I may have mentioned that someone gave this to me as a holiday gift, and I’m so into it! I’ve never had it in my Home Bar before, but the viscosity, spices, dryness, and depth of flavor in Grand Marnier is REALLY doing it for me.
  3. Amontillado Sherry & Dolin Dry: since I added Grand Marnier (sweet, Orange), I wanted to add things to dry it out and compliment. Both the Sherry and Vermouth are dry with the Sherry giving nutty, raisin, briney notes and the Dolin Dry doing that magical thing it does.
  4. Pernod Pastis: last but not least, a bit of Pernod Pastis gives an excellent boost of bright Anise to this boozy drink.

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Express and discard the orange peel, we just want the oil. No distractions in the Temple of Clarity.

Temple of Clarity

  • 2 oz Templeton Rye
  • 1/2 oz Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
  • 1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
  • 1 Barspoon Pernod Pastis or Absinthe
  • Garnish: Orange oil, discard peel

Combine ingredients over ice and stirrrrrrrrrrrr. Strain into yer favorite chilled Coupe, express Orange peel and discard.

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Clear, simple, complex, rewarding. Cheers to you in this relaxing moment!

 

A Sherried Martini

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Ooooooh my. The Holidays are literally upon us.

You may be asking yourself, “Home Bar Gurrrrl, why do you want us to drink a Martini when there are so many holiday Cocktails to imibe?”

Y’all, don’t worry. I’m not telling you skip the Egg Nog, Cranberry infused Dolin Rouge, Cacao infused Campari, or any Champagne Cocktails you might come across!

I’m just telling you, that if you want to take a holiday breather, lighten things up for a moment, and chillllllll, then this is the Martini for you.

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Our star players for this drink are: 1. Hayman’s Old Tom Gin which has a wonderful viscosity and loads of botanicals, and 2. Lustau Amontillado Sherry which has a fabulous dryness, loads of spices, nuttiness, and a bit of brine.

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They are supported with Dolin Dry Vermouth (praise be to Dolin Dry), Regans’ Orange Bitters, and an Orange peel.

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Are we ready to stirrrrrrrrr? Yes? Excellent.

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A Sherried Martini*

  • 2 1/4 oz Hayman’s Old Tom Gin
  • 1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
  • 1/4 oz Lustau Amontillado Los Arcos Sherry
  • 1 dash Regans’ Orange Bitters
  • Garnish: Orange peel

Combine ingredients over ice and stirrrrrr. Strain into coupe. Express Orange peel and garnish.

This is “Sherried” cause there’s just a bit of Sherry, but the 1/4 oz gives an excellent finish to the Martini.

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Yeah gurrrrl, I wanna relax with this Sherried Martini. The holidays can do their own crazy thing.