I recently tried out two new tools that are sure to enhance the cocktail concoction experience.
I gave the Black & Decker Citrus Juicer to my dad for Christmas in 2008, after spending over half an hour one evening juicing lemons and limes for his family-sized batch of whiskey sours. I decided to invest in this small, affordable home juicer as a present for dad (and to give my poor hands a break). It’s small enough not to take up too much room in my parents’ limited cabinet space.
We finally whipped it out one Sunday to make a batch of the much-lauded whiskey sours. I must admit, even though I was the one who bought the juicer in the first place, I was still skeptical that it would produce results good enough to convince me to forgo my hand juicer.
For a $15 purchase, the results were pretty stellar. The way it works is this: you fit the citrus over one of the two plastic reamers (a larger one for oranges & grapefruit, a smaller one for lemons & limes). When you press down, the reamer automatically spins, extracting the juice into the awaiting container. Seconds later, you have a bone-dry citrus rind in one hand and a cup full of juice in the other (up to 34 ounces worth). This particular model also has different settings for no pulp, medium pulp and pulp-a-plenty. Brilliant!
The other tool I tried out that might deserve a place on your cocktail cart is the manual ice grinder. It’s basically a plastic container with a sharp metal mouth through which you feed your ice cubes. Depending upon the direction you turn the crank, the result is large ice chips or fine ice slush. Though you have to definitely exert some strong arm power to properly chip the ice, the results are worth the effort for those times when ice cubes are just too inelegant and bulky.
I think the best way to make use of these two finds is a mid-winter cocktail that celebrates them both. The Salty Dog is just the ticket: squeeze your own grapefruit juice, chip your own ice, them mix them both together with some gin and serve in a salted-rim glass.
The Salty Dog
- 4-5 oz. fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
- 2 oz gin
- Chipped ice
Chill your cocktail glass in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before preparing the drink. Pour salt (a couple spoonfuls should be plenty) on a square of parchment paper. Dip and roll the edge of the chilled glass in salt. (If the salt has trouble sticking to the glass, try rubbing the glass with a wedge of lime, first.). Pour gin and juice in glass; fill with ice and stir to mix.
Posted by Miss Mojito
Some girlfriends gathered chez moi last weekend for some high school reminiscing, appetizer consuming and cocktail imbibing. We started by sipping prosecco with hibiscus flowers and syrup (which I’ll save for another post). I then proceeded to turn my guests into guinea pigs with my much anticipated tonic testing. The results, I must say, were surprising indeed! But first, let’s meet the contestants.
My hope was to integrate a homemade tonic into my tasting. Todd Thrasher, of Restaurant Eve fame, has a recipe that the Washington Post published a while back, but I had a bit of trouble putting my hands on some of the ingredients, namely quinine powder and citric acid. So, we had to resort to store-bought brands. I picked two brands widely available in grocery stores: Schweppes Diet Tonic and Canada Dry Regular Tonic. My third pick was the Q Tonic, a new discovery I mentioned in a previous post. Made from organic agave nectar instead of sugar, it’s billed as a healthy, superior tonic.
I mixed up three mini-cocktails for each of my friends, using Smirnoff Vodka or Tanqueray Gin and a squeeze of lime. It was a blind tasting (I used Solo cups and labeled the bottom of each with a Sharpee), so our results were completely unbiased.
The results? Three out of four gals picked the diet tonic as their favorite! The Q Tonic samples—which ring in at a staggering $10 for around 25 ounces—tasted a bit flavorless to our palettes. Comparatively, the diet tonic—a bargain at around $2 for about 33 ounces—had a sweeter flavor that seemed to accentuate the drink’s lime-iness. Needless to say, we felt extremely unsophisticated to discover that the organic, “gourmet” tonic was the least palatable to our taste buds. But I’m not dismissing the Q Tonic all together. I think it might be best suited to really bringing out the flavor of the liquor. A pairing of Q Tonic with the cucumber-infused Hendrick’s gin, for example, or maybe a flavored vodka, might be better suited to bringing out the tonic’s best attributes. But I think you’ll have to give it a try and see for yourself! You can find out where to buy Q Tonic on their Web site.
posted by Miss Mojito
I’m so not ready to let go of summer (I still have a Delaware beach trip to look forward to at the end of the month). But, I’m being lured to cooler weather by the delightful coffee mugs over at Anthropologie. I’m imagining a time when I’m no longer drinking ice coffee. A time when an after dinner café includes grand marnier, bailey’s irish cream, or kahlua. Mmmmm. I can’t wait for these vessels to improve my overall experience of drinking warm beverages.