Saturday, December 17, 2016

Flor de Jalisco

I come from a family that loves food.  We enjoy cooking and baking.  We like eating too.  But I think what it's really all about is everyone getting together around the table to laugh and enjoy each others' company.  Luckily, we have many good cooks in the family, so the eating ain't nothing to complain about!  And with a number of funny storytellers the laughter is constant and the company good company to keep!

After finally giving in to the Dark Side and signing up on Facebook a year ago, I've come to regret that decision more often than not.  But the one way FB has been a pleasure is the group to which my sister signed me up.  It's our Cousins Cooking Club.  We cousins are spread all across the country and the globe.  From out ancestral New York & New Jersey all the way to New Zealand, with stops in Pennsylvania, Chicago, Denver, and Seattle.  (Holler, because I'm sure I missed some!)  A virtual schmear across the planet.  Sadly, geography separates us.  But food and the joy of cooking maintain the connections.  And as much as I'm loathe to admit it, Facebook has facilitated some fun connections among a bunch of people who are related but spread way too far apart.

Since Dilettante has resurfaced yet again, I've been posting on Facebook and on the Cousin's Cooking Club.  Last week's post caused a cuz to speak up.  So this week's featured spec is courtesy of cousin Mary Anne who generously suggested another use for our new coupes.  Y aquí está: Flor de Jalisco.

In a word, num!  In The Husband's words, "It's a margarita!"  (Ok, kinda.  But flor de jalisco sounds more... elevated.)  Since we don't like sweet drinks I initially thought I'd try it without the agave.  But I believe in a baseline, so I always start with a recipe as it's written before I go monkeying with it. But as it turns out, no monkeying required.

Delish.  Make this, like, now.  Thanks, Mary Anne!  I'm thinking "Mary Anne's Flor de Jalisco" could be the featured loopy juice on the 2017 Red Umbrella Rooftop!

Flor de Jalisco
2 oz. blanco tequila
3/4 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. agave
1 t. orange marmalade

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.  Add all the ingredients and shake well.  Strain into chilled coup and garnish with an orange twist.

Sunday, December 11, 2016


Seems there's always something that gets in the way of a return to blogging.  This time it was the fact that the electoral college is about to put an authoritarian Cheeto with the expressive capacity of a 9 year-old, tiny hands, and a bad comb-over in the White House.  After waking up on November 9th to find we'd slipped into an alternate quantum reality, I simply didn't feel like doing frivolous things, like blogging about booze.  Drinking to escape seemed about all I could muster.  But a month on in this new bizzaro world and we're starting to find respite in the quotidian...for as long as that lasts.

So, on to it....

As the second snowfall of the season came down last night, I booted up Netflix on the ol' 60-inch to settle in and watch a movie.  Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed The Husband rummaging through the growing pile of UPS boxes collecting around the front door.  Next thing, he's standing in front of me holding one out.

"What's this?"

"Merry Christmas, a little early.  I figured you should open this now so you can enjoy it."

I've been saying how much I love coups -- which are all the rage lately on the trendy bar scene.  So I was totally stoked when I opened up the box to find a black Waterford box inside.  And inside that were two huge lead crystal coups.  Strong, deep cuts form a ring of diamonds and rays around the bottom of a massive bowl so big you could serve soup in them.  With a smooth base and stem this vessel sits nice and heavy in the hand.  All very masculine for cut crystal.

I passed them off to The Husband to rinse out while I sprinted to the bar to leaf through PDT.  The only requirement on this bev were the words "serve in a chilled coup glass".  The first one I landed on was Southside.

I didn't expect to like this at all.  I am not a gin fan and there were not enough other ingredients to mask it.  And we all know how The Husband feels about too much citrus in his tipple.  But hey, it was all about the coup, so we were prepared to suffer through it.  Yet on the first sip we both looked at each other, eyes wide and said in unison, "Wow!  This is good!!"

A perfect, smooth, balance of all the ingredients.  Truly, liquid satin in a glass.

Then the three ultimate raves from The Husband:  "Oh, you're definitely doing this one again.  I could drink these all night!  Put it on the blog!"

Et voilà!  Un autre retour....

2 oz. gin
.75 oz. lemon juice
.75 oz. simple syrup
4 mint leaves

Muddle the syrup with the mint.  Then add the rest of the ingredients and shake.  Serve with no garnish in chilled coup glass!  (PDT suggests double straining, but I like the flecks of mint confetti in the finished product!)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

I Ain't Afraid of No Goat! Black Me Stout

Black Me Stout by Champion Brewing Co.
"Bryant...  The Cubs... WIN THE WORLD SERIES!!!! Bryant makes the play!  It's over!  And the Cubs have finally won it all in 7 and 10!"

The Dilettante's been a little wrought and preoccupied the last few weeks -- what with the post-season and THE CUBS WINNING THE WORLD SERIES and all!!!!  Yeah, that's a cup from Wrigley with both the Cubs & World Series logos on it!  Uh-huh!  Now that Wrigley's serving Goose Island products, maybe now they can add a stout.  Like this "Black Me Stout" from Champion Brewing Company of Virginia.  This is total speculation, but I think they named the brewery for the WORLD CHAMPION CHICAGO CUBS!!!!  (Does Virginia have a baseball team?  Nope.  Gotta pick either the Nats or the O's, I guess.)

Just soaking it all in while waiting for the start of the victory parade.
Not too sure about that name, but the beer is good.  It is, in fact, black.  Even casts a shadow in direct afternoon sunlight.  Just like the can -- which had to be just out of focus so we could see the beer in the pint and THE CUBS WORLD SERIES SOUVENIR CUP!!!!  Not too heavy, not too light.  The beer that is.  Not the fact that THE CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES!!!!  That's totally heavy!  And exquisitely light!  Magic, in fact!  More bitter than sweet.  The beer that is.  Not that THE CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES!!!!  'Cuz that's totally sweet!  There are some chocolate notes -- but more cacao than cocoa.  Overall, it has more of the  dark sweetness that tips into bitterness characteristic of molasses, which makes it easy to enjoy multiples.  You know, kinda like getting used to THE CUBS WINNING THE WORLD SERIES!!!!

(And just because it's the sweetest thing to watch...)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Beer & Mussels at Corridor Brewery & Provisions

Lake Michigan, Chicago, October, 23
After a last minute trip to Michigan to help with some family matters, we slid back into Chicago on a glorious Sunday afternoon to find Indian summer in full effect.  As we drove along Lake Shore Drive, The Husband suggested we do dinner at a new brewery in the 'hood.  We walked in the door, tossed the rollerboards in the bedroom, and splashed some water on our faces.  We watered the plants and headed right back out to Corridor Brewery & Provisions to water ourselves.  We have at thing for mussels and they have 3 flavors on their menu -- Belgian Style with beer broth, cream buttered leek & fresh herbs; Red Curry with coconut milk, cilantro and lime; and Saffron with white wine, chicken stock, roasted potatoes, and Spanish chorizo.  We decided to work our way through them, ordering one of each.  But we stopped with the second.  The Red Curry was so good we knew that anything to follow would be a disappointment.

A day that makes ya wanna put
on a skirt, get on your cycle,  
and ride along the lake.
To drink, all I really wanted was an ice-cold vodka martini with half-a-dozen olives, but you don't go to a new brew pub and not order beer.  So Freaky Deaky Belgian Breakfast Stout it was.  Three of them, by the time we paid the bill!  And it totally tasted like breakfast.  Bitter, like charred bacon.  Sweet, like oatmeal; with a touch of brown sugar unifying all of it.  Three went down super easy.  The Husband had Doubledore Double IPA.  I'm kinda one-and-done with IPA's.  He took a sip and gave a wow-it's-very-citrusy holler.  In a cocktail that's usually a turn-off for him.  But in a beer, it seems to be the opposite.  It was citrusy, and hoppy, and coriander with that slight pininess that is intriguing for the first round, but after that turns somewhat soapy and I'm out.
Upshot: Freaky Deaky Breakfast Belgian Stout

(After the mussels we both had the pulled pork sandwich.  Decent.  It could've used more sauce.   Coleslaw came on it which I usually like.  This slaw was just ok...until I figured out those weird, sweet things were bits-o-pineapple in it.  [*All 4 AGT judges hit their buzzers simultaneously...*]  The fries, however, were excellent!  The stout complimented the pork very well.)

All-in-all, a gorgeous night.  Even after the sun went down and the sky turned inky black above the street lights, the air was beautiful.  Can't believe we're down to 10 hours, 40 minutes of daylight and the steady slide into winter....

Monday, October 17, 2016

Dark & Limey

summer turns autumn
still rum lime soda want friends 
turmeric makes fall

Dark & Limey
1 T. grated fresh turmeric
2 t. granulated sugar
Dash of salt
1/4 t. lime zest
1 1/2 oz. dark rum
1 1/2 T. fresh lime juice
3 ice cubes
4 oz. seltzer
Dash of bitters

Muddle turmeric, sugar, salt, lime zest and bitters in a mixing glass.  Add rum, juice, and 3 cubes.  Stir until chilled.  Strain into a highball glass filled with ice and top with seltzer.  Garnish with twist of lime rind.

The Dark & Limey is a wonderfully light, bright fall bev I found in the October 2016 issue of Cooking Light.  Dare I call it an autumn mojito?  If you can't find fresh turmeric root you can swap a teaspoon of ground which seemed like a lot; so I used a scant teaspoon to avoid grittiness.  I've made it now with both the fresh and ground.  The ground did have, let's say, "mouthfeel".  But on the whole, I think it was richer, which makes sense.  The fresh version had a much lighter quality that made the drink seem a bit more watery.  But on the whole, this is a nice cocktail for hanging out with friends and can go a couple rounds with it!