Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Clarified Salted Paloma

The thing about minimalism is that it's all about deception.  What you think is simple is actually quite complex, and there in lies the magic.  I don't think I would ever call myself a minimalist - I like things (cough - glassware) too much - but I do like when a concept is followed through relentlessly.

Which brings me to the Clarified Salty Paloma.  I first saw this cocktail on Instagram, posted by Max Reis (@beerghost), who works at Gracias Madre in Los Angeles.  He developed this minimalist take on the Paloma and kindly shared the recipe with me, and now I share it with you.

It should be noted that this cocktail was designed to utilize day old grapefruit juice and grapefruit peels from his bar, making it even more sustainably minded and awesome.

It should be noted that clarified cocktails don't make a ton of rational sense for the home bartender - it's quite a lot of work for an aesthetically driven drink - but if you make cocktails for the internet like I do suddenly it makes sense to dive down the clarified cocktail rabbit hole.

Clarified cocktails make a whole lot more sense in today's Covid world, where bartenders and bar owners around the world are scrambling to make to-go cocktails.  The problem lies with citrus juice.  Once juiced, the flavor goes bad after 36-48 hours.  Clarification and "cordialization" are preservation techniques, thereby making the citrus ingredients shelf stable, and in turn, those bottled or canned cocktails with citrus in them have a longer shelf life.

6% Lime Acid

I also spoke with Mike Capoferri  (@mfcapoferri) of Thunderbolt in Los Angeles about how to use citric acid to balance cocktails.  He makes cordials out of lemon and lime juice to make them shelf stable, but uses a centrifuge to clarify the juice, which he then boils with sugar and citrus peels, and then balances using citric acid.  The key to citric acid is understanding that it does not impart flavor, but instead acidity.  Thunderbolt makes a house "Lime Acid" that is a blend of water, citric acid, and malic acid, which is the same one used by Reis in his grapefruit cordial recipe.

After talking with both Reis and Capoferri all I wanted to do is buy a centrifuge, but unfortunately the Spinzall is sold out.  So I turned to Dave Arnold on his technique to clarify citrus using Agar powder.  You can read his full blog post here, but this was the recipe I used:

Clarified Grapefruit Juice

400 grams Grapefruit Juice (Room Temp)
100 grams Water
1.5 grams Agar Powder
Nut Bag
Coffee Filters

Boil the water and Agar powder in a small pot on medium to high heat.  Once the agar is "hydrated" add the juice and whisk.  Place pot in an ice bath to set and let sit for a few minutes.  Gently stir the curds, and pour into a nut bag over a fine mesh sieve.  Let strain, and double strain using coffee filters (you'll need a lot of them).

Leftover Clarified Grapefruit Juice

I then mixed the clarified grapefruit juice with Thunderbolt's 6% Lime Acid (recipe below), sugar, salt, grapefruit peels to make the salted grapefruit cordial, per Reis' specs.  It should be noted that this cordial is delicious, and you'll likely want to pour it on everything.  You've been warned.

Thunderbolt LA's 6% Lime Acid
235 grams Water
10 grams Citric Acid
5 grams Malic Acid

Mix in a glass bottle until all the crystals have dissolved.

Salted Grapefruit Cordial
250 grams Clarified Grapefruit Juice
150 grams Sugar
12.1 grams Lime Acid
3 grams Salt
10 grams Grapefruit peels

Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, turn off the stove and let sit for 2-3 hours.

- OR -

Sous vide at 135 degrees for 40 minutes, and then at 145 degrees for 20 minutes (the lowest temperature to reach pasteurization).

Salted Grapefruit Cordial

And finally, we have come to the cocktail recipe!  The Clarified Salty Paloma, as created by Max Reis, modified by me.  My modifications are quite simple: I wanted the color of the cocktail to be slightly yellow/green for aesthetic reasons, and I used a grapefruitcello because that's what I could find in the liquor store.  You can try different types of grapefruit liqueurs here, depending on what you can find at your local.  I love that this cocktail builds on the mineral forward, savory flavor of a great blanco tequila like El Mayor, and the salty cordial imparts an inexplicable viscosity and complexity to what is a traditionally simple drink.  This is in fact a very rad drink.  It's complex and sophisticated, minimal and multifaceted, and without a doubt - delicious.  I realize it's a lot of work for the final product, but I have to say, it does make for a better drink.

Clarified Salted Paloma
Created by Max Reis

1-1/2 oz El Mayor Blanco Tequila
1-1/4 oz Salted Grapefruit Cordial
1/2 oz Grapefruitcello
Top with Soda Water

Build over ice in a saline solution rimmed glass, and garnish with a tiny grapefruit peel.

Note: Max wouldn't have used a garnish - because minimalism.  That said, I'm a sucker for a garnish, so here we are.

I learned a lot through this process, and I hope you do too.  If you're interested in clarifying for aesthetics or for functionality, either way, the god is in the details.  And I for one, am excited to learn a few new techniques.


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of El Mayor Tequila.  All opinions are 100% mine.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Lemongrass Saturn

I find inspiration for cocktails: in food, in deserts, but most often, I find inspiration in the spirits themselves.  Whenever I'm getting acquainted with a new spirit, I taste it neat, and identify the primary flavors.  I then try to think about what other flavors will either compliment or contrast against the dominant flavors in that spirit and build a concept around that.  Lemongrass is a flavor that struck me in the new Bowling & Burch gin, the small batch gin made from 17 botanicals grown on the Limestone Branch Distillery grounds.  I was surprised to see Lemongrass as an ingredient in their gin, because it is an ingredient that I love and use a lot when I'm cooking.  I wanted to try an unexpected cocktail playing up the lemongrass flavor - and immediately thought about a Saturn. 

The Saturn is a classic Tiki drink, invented in 1967 that uses gin, lemon juice, passionfruit, orgeat and velvet falernum.  They are delicious, and even more delicious when made with lemongrass infused gin.  I made mine with passion fruit syrup, but I always recommend using fresh juice whenever possible.  


Lemongrass Saturn
Created by Gastronomista

1-1/2 oz Lemongrass Infused Bowling & Burch Gin
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Velvet Falernum

Shake with ice and strain into a Tiki mug filled with crushed ice.  Garnish with a fresh lemongrass stalk, a fresh flower, and a cocktail cherry.

Lemongrass Infused Gin

3 Stalks Lemongrass
1 Cup Gin

Combine in a non-reactive container and let sit for one week before serving.  

- Sponsored -
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bowling & Burch Gin.  All opinions are 100% mine.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Tajin Mango Margarita

This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite summer treats - mango with chili and lime.  When I lived in New York City I would always buy bags of chili mango from the street vendors who camped out in front of our offices.  When I moved out west to Colorado, I was able to find chili mango candy, like Vero Mango or dried mango covered in chili powder.   I love the combination of sour, sweet, and chili - three flavors that are also in this margarita.

I made a mango syrup with Turbinado sugar and fresh mango, made from the blended fruit.  It's basically jam and it is delicious.  I shook my syrup up with El Mayor Reposado Tequila, fresh lime juice, Ancho Chili liqueur, and a little bit of simple.  I added a pinch of Tajin seasoning, and garnished it with fresh mango peppered with Tajin and a few fancy lime slices.  I wanted to use a reposado tequila with this cocktail to pair with the cooked mango syrup that has a nice round sweetness to it.  I thought the flavors of vanilla and caramel in the El Mayor tequila would work well with the mango - and I was right.

I can tell this Tajin Mango Margarita is going to be a hit this summer!

Tajin Mango Margarita
Created by Gastronomista

2 oz El Mayor Reposado Tequila
3/4 oz Ancho Chili Liqueur
3/4 oz Mango Syrup*
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Turbinado Simple

Shake with ice and strain over a king cube.  Garnish with lime slices and fresh mango.

Mango Syrup

1/3 c Turbinado Sugar
1/3 c Water
1/2 Mango, Sliced

Bring all of the ingredients to a simmer until the sugar crystals have dissolved.  Let cool and blend into a puree.  Transfer to a non-reactive container and store in the refrigerator for up to one month.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of El Mayor Tequila.  All opinions are 100% mine.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Garden Gin Fizz

I love the time of year when Spring transitions into Summer - there is the promise of the Summer ahead, and it seems like all the flowers are blooming.  This time of year always makes me excited about my own garden, and I without fail start getting excited about the garden's bounty. I've recently been inspired by Bowling & Burch Gin, a New World Gin made in Lebanon, Kentucky made from botanicals grown in the distillery's gin garden.  Gah!  A Gin Garden!  Next project alert!!


Can we please have an interlude to discuss how amazing this bottle is??!?!  ~Swoon~ After I enjoy this bottle of beautiful, aromatic gin I want to re-use the bottle for infusions from my own garden.  It's so beautiful!

But I digress.  For this cocktail I wanted to celebrate this amazing time of year when everything is in bloom - specifically the lilacs with their amazing aroma.  I made a lilac simple syrup and decided to make a variation on a Ramos Gin Fizz, which is basically an adult milkshake.  I also used a bit of Creme de Violette to give the cocktail some color, and a bar spoon of orange flower water that brings out the flavors of bitter orange, lemon verbena, and lemongrass that are found in this beautiful gin.

Gin Fizzes are notoriously difficult to make, but once you get the hang of it they are quite simple.  The trick is to dry shake, and then shake with ice until you can shake no longer.  Before you start shaking chill your collins glass in the freezer with an ounce and a half of soda water, and strain the cocktail over the soda water.  Let it rest in the freezer for 5 minutes, and then take it out and let rest for 5 more minutes.  Top with a few more ounces of soda water, and watch the foam rise above the rim of the glass.  This cocktail really benefits from an aromatic garnish - so rest a few lilac blossoms on the surface of the foam or spray with orange peel oil.


Garden Gin Fizz

2 oz Bowling & Burch Gin
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Lilac Syrup*
1/4 oz Creme de Violette
3/4 oz Egg White
3/4 oz Half-and-Half
Barspoon Orange Flower Water
3 oz Soda Water

Chill glass in freezer with 1-1/2 oz soda water.  Dry Shake, then shake with ice for as long as you can.  Strain into your chilled collins glass and let rest in the freezer for 5 minutes.  Remove from freezer and rest for 5 minutes.  Top with soda water and garnish with a fresh lilac blossom.

Lilac Syrup

1/2 cups Fresh Lilac Blossoms
1 cup Simple Syrup
4 Blueberries

Boil equal parts sugar and water on medium high heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Pour one cup of simple syrup over the lilac blossoms and blueberries (for color).  Let sit for a few hours in the refrigerator.  Strain into a glass bottle and keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bowling & Burch Gin.  All opinions are 100% mine.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Jungle Bird Milk Punch

I posted this delicious Milk Punch on Instagram a few weeks back, but I thought it needed a more permanent place to live, the internet!

The world is shut down and it's a great time to hone some new skills - like Milk Punch! I've been wanting to make Milk Punch since I got these gorgeous milky-white Little Tomato Glass hand-blown rocks glasses. They have a lip on the inside of the glass to prevent an ice cube from smacking you in the face: #genius. Hope you enjoy this little vacation in a glass!

Jungle Bird Milk Punch

• 1-1/2 oz Blackstrap Rum
• 1-1/2 Pineapple Juice
• 3/4 oz Campari
• 1/2 oz Demerara Syrup
• 1/2 oz Lime
• 1-1/2 oz Whole Milk

Scale up based on the # of servings required.

Add milk in a sauce pan on medium high heat and bring to a simmer. Once boiling, remove from heat. Add the other ingredients, and let the milk curdle, stirring frequently. Let sit for an hour, and strain through a fine mesh sieve and a cheese cloth into a jar. Place the jar in the refrigerator overnight. The next day strain again through a coffee filter, being careful to not disturb the cloud on the bottom of the jar. Transfer the into a glass bottle and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Chili Oil Reposado Old Fashioned

I love Chili Oil - and I know I'm not alone.  I always have a bottle in the kitchen, sourced from my local Asian market.  I'm always looking for fun ways to bridge the gap between culinary dishes and cocktails, and my beloved chili oil has become my new favorite way to add savory flavor to my drinks.  

This Old Fashioned is made with El Mayor Reposado Tequila, that hails from the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico.  Their Reposado tequila is aged for a minimum of nine months, and is a dry tequila with flavors of agave, caramel, vanilla, and a subtle floral note.  And let me tell you, all those sweet flavors work very well with spice.  

The Old Fashioned is a perfect format for a spicy cocktail.  It's simple enough to showcase the spirit itself and highlight the spiciness of the oil.  In order to add a bit more depth and complexity to the drink, I also used a few drops of Dashfire Sichuan Bitters, doubling down on the heat.   

I hope you all like this one as much as I do. 

Chili Oil Reposado Old Fashioned
Created by Gastronomista

2 oz El Mayor Reposado Tequila
1/2 oz Agave Syrup
3 dashes Sichuan Bitters
5-6 drops Chili Oil (with some chili flakes to taste)

Add tequila, agave syrup and bitters to an Old Fashioned glass.  Stir and add a king cube.  Gently add chili oil to the top of the glass, resting the chili flakes and a small bird's eye pepper on top of the cube.


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of El Mayor Tequila.  All opinions are 100% mine.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

Share This!