Thanksgiving Eve cocktails from Captain Morgan

The night before Thanksgiving is one of the best party nights of the year. People are back in town and they usually flock to the bars or to house parties. It’s a great way to meet up with old friends and also find new ones. Women are usually out in force so make sure to up your game!

Our friends from Captain Morgan shared some easy drink recipes to get you ready for the big evening, using either Captain Morgan White Rum or the classic Original Spiced Rum.

So choose your drink and enjoy the official kickoff to the holiday season!

White & Pineapple
* 1.5 oz. Captain Morgan White Rum
* 5 oz. Pineapple Juice

Directions: Fill a glass with ice. Pour in the Captain Morgan White® Rum. Top with the pineapple juice. Garnish with a lime wedge.

White & Pineapple

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Drink of the Week: The Coffee Cocktail

The Coffee Cocktail.For my final post before the Thanksigiving holiday, I offer you a delicious after dinner (or breakfast!) drink that will nevertheless do absolutely nothing to counter your turkey/mash potato coma. You see, just as the chocolatey egg cream you can get at your nearest Jewish deli has neither egg nor cream, the Coffee Cocktail has no coffee. Moreover, when it was invented some time in the 1880s or so, it wasn’t even actually a cocktail, because back then that required the presence of bitters.

What it is, however, is shockingly delicious. Think a winey, lighter, fruitier egg nog. In fact, it’s so good I simply can’t decide between the two recipes I found, so I’m giving you both recipes this week in an act of outrageous pre-Turkey Day bounty. It’s got a whole egg in it, but thanks to the miracle of pasteurized eggs, there’s really no reason any tippler should avoid this.

The Coffee Cocktail

1 1/2 ounces brandy
1 1/2 ounces port
1 whole large egg
1 teaspoon sugar
grated nutmeg

OR

2-3 ounces port
1 ounce brandy
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon sugar
grated nutmeg

Combine the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Dry shake (i.e., without ice) to properly emulsify the egg. If done properly, it will disappear in a lovely beige-to-light purple froth. Then, add lots of ice and shake again. Strain into a chilled wine glass or goblet and sprinkle a bit of grated nutmeg on top. Toast the fact that you’re lucky enough to have shelter and be able to enjoy life’s simpler pleasures, such as a really delicious and refreshing not-quite-cocktail complete with all the nutrition of a whole egg.

***

I mostly made this with the remains of my bottle of St. Remy Brandy and, later, a very inexpensive bottle of a brand called Hartley, made by the Sazarac company. It’s sweetness was actually a very nice complement to the drink.

Still, the big decision a Coffee Cocktail drinker has to make is between tawny and ruby port. The first recipe above is drawn mainly from Robert Hess’s The Essential Bartender’s Guide (you can also see him make it in this video). Hess actually calls for simple syrup, but I found substituting a similar amount of actual sugar added just the right amount of additional sweetness to a drink that just wants to be that way.  He, however, does not specify a type of port. “Any port in a storm,” he suggests.

The second recipe is based on Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh’s recipe in his Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, reviving the drink first memorialized in 1887 by the legendary Jerry Thomas. He specifically calls for ruby port.

My own verdict: Stick with the tawny on the first version, it’s mellower, and the results look slightly more coffee-like, as the ruby port makes a drink that’s far more purple than beige. I loved both tawny and ruby port on the second, Haighian take.

As for my egg, yes, it was pasteurized and, especially if you can find super-safe eggs on sale at your liquor supermarket the way I did, you might as well go that way if you’re making this on the big holiday. Our digestive systems take enough Thanksgiving punishment…but I definitely wouldn’t discourage hardier souls from using a regular, garden variety egg. The Coffee Cocktail is worth a tiny risk.

  

Drink of the Week: The Round Robin

The Round Robin.Are you into absinthe? I’m definitely not averse to it as a little-goes-a-very-long-way ingredient in a numerous drinks, but I can’t say that I’m a fan of it in it’s classic mode of preparation. It’s not just it’s strength and bitterness, it’s the fact that I’m not even a fan of licorice candy, let alone industrial-strength anise and fennel.

On the other hand, if there’s one ingredient I’ve found in my alcoholic wanderings that can transform a potentially repulsive drink into a taste treat, it’s a raw egg white, properly emulsified. This week’s drink, which comes I know not from where, puts that theory to the test in a big, big way. Let’s get this wormword and poultry-product party started.

The Round Robin

1 ounce brandy
1 ounce absinthe
1 egg white
1 teaspoon superfine sugar

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. To emulsify the egg white, shake vigorously without ice. Then, add ice, shake vigorously again, and strain into a wine glass. Toast the legalization of absinthe back in the mid-2000s when people started to figure out that the stuff is no more (or less) dangerous than other types of booze. Prohibition never works.

****

Well, I guess this is another vote from me for the miraculous properties of raw eggs  in cocktails as, on balance, I really like this drink. In fact, I like this drink so much that, even though I’d have a hard time finding a difference between good absinthe and bad absinthe, I’d almost spend the $70 or more it takes to buy some of the putative good stuff just to try it in a Round Robin.

Why? Well, just as an Old Fashioned humanizes even a very strong bourbon or rye, the Round Robin actually makes the bitter licorice on steroids flavor of absinthe not only tolerable but fascinating.

While I only have one brand of absinthe on hand and it’s not supposed to be that good — I gather than aficionados of the wormwood liquor find Absinthe Ordinaire to be appropriately named at a mere 92 proof — I did try different brandies out. Killing my bottle of St. Remy worked just fine but a Ile de Ré Fine Island Cognac worked even better.

However, the one big change I made from my usual habit was was using a pasteurized brand of egg white I picked up at my local Trader Joe’s (3 tablespoons of the stuff is said to approximate one egg white). While the the seemingly low viscosity of the stuff looked suspect, the fact of the matter is that it worked just as well as the stuff you get directly from the chicken…and I know my friend from the local health department would agree that salmonella is about the last thing I need right now. I’m usually not one to worry about such stuff, but if you’d been through as many perfect storms I’ve been through over the last six months, you might be a bit extra cautious yourself.

Coming up next: An adventure with pasteurized whole eggs and a coffee drink with zero caffeine and no decaffeinated coffee, either.

  

Drink of the Week: The Dream Cocktail

the Dream Cocktail. I’m starting to write this post on the night of what sure appears to be an enormous victory for a political party that is very much not my own. So, you know I can use a drink. The only problem: I don’t actually drink while I’m writing these.

Still, talking about drinking can be more fun than actually drinking, and the Dream Cocktail is kind of easy to write about because it seems as if almost no one else has. I dug up this obscurity in my trusty Savoy Cocktail Book and, for once, I have no stories to tell about the drink’s origins or much anyone else. On line I’ve found exactly one post about the original version (kind of) and one odd but intriguing variant.

Still, I have to say that I think the the Dream cocktail is, at the very least, worth sleeping on. It’s not at all bad and, if you get it just right, it can be mildly awesome. Let’s begin.

The Dream Cocktail

2 ounces brandy or cognac
1 ounce orange curacao or Cointreau
1/4 teaspoon absinthe

Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake vigorously, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Toast the Sandman, bringer of dreams and cool early 1990s horror/fantasy comics written by Neil Gaiman.

****

I tried the Dream Cocktail not only with curacao and Cointreau, but with Grand Marnier, which didn’t really blend like I’d hoped. I had the best luck, however, when I switched out the inexpensive St. Remy brandy I was using for some really high end Ile de Ré Fine Island Cognac I had left over from past adventures in tandem with my not-at-all expensive DeKuyper curacao. The blend of simple orangey sweetness and sophisticated cognac-y grit was just the thing to take the Dream Cocktail over the top into the land of Morpheus.

  

Drink of the Week: Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat.Happy Halloween!

And, because I actually want you to enjoy this holiday devoted to all that pleasurably perturbs us, I’ll spare you my original selection for this week, the Aqua Velva. That very blue creation was the source of the best joke in David Fincher’s fact-based creepfest, “Zodiac” — which would have been fun to talk about as I’m old enough to have had childhood nightmares about encountering the all too real Zodiac Killer. The only problem is that gin, vodka, Sprite and blue curacao taste horrifying together and I’m not here to terrify your tongue!

It was pretty much too late for me to switch gears and finally take on the Zombie — which I know I kind of owe you guys — but I was lucky that a well-timed publicist’s e-mail brought along a very tasty treat from the clever people behind Laphraoig 10-Year-Old Scotch Whiskey and I still had my last free bottle from them on hand. They have once again come up with a really delightful drink that creates a lovely counterpoint comprised of a sweet taste we all remember from childhood and the very adult pleasures of a very smokey Scotch.

Trick or Treat

1 1/2 ounces Laphroaig 10-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
3 ounces apple cider (or, really, apple juice)
1 ounce fresh lemon sour (1/2 ounce lemon juice, 1/2 ounce simple syrup)
Lemon slice (garnish)

You can build this one in a more slender style Tom Collins-like glass or, as is my preference, a double sized rocks/old fashioned glass. Start with plenty of ice, and add each ingredient precisely in order. Believe it or not, it’s important.

This means, you’ll start out with the very smokey, very evocative, Laphroaig Scotch over your ice. Next, the apple cider or juice. (I say this because there appears to be no real difference between the two, if you’re talking non-alcoholic beverages.) Finally, dump in a one-ounce solution of 50% fresh lemon juice and 50% simple syrup…do not stir, shake or otherwise mix in any way. The laws of physics will give you all the mixing you need on this one. Also, give this one a second to get cold and cold. It’s better that way. Sip and salute the scary movie performer or actress of your choice. This week, I’m feeling a bit Karloff.

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I experimented with this drink to see if I could depart from the Laphroaig recipe at all. I’m sure they’ll be relieved to read that I really couldn’t. Shaking it rendered it dull and ordinary. Switching out the single malt for a decent Brand X Scotch rendered it equally bleh.

Once again, it’s clear the Laphroig people understand counterpoint, as their smokey, very unsweet beverage really blends nicely with the simplest, sweetest of all-age liquid pleasures. I’d really forgotten how much I love apple juice, not to mention how much weight I’m likely go gain from knocking back too much of the stuff straight this week. It’s basically just fruit sugar water, but what sugar water!

Of course, it’s best with the Scotch and the other stuff. I drank this alone, but I imagine it would be even better with a friend. I’m sure the late Mr. Karloff would agree.

  

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