Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Salem Sunrise

Ahhh, Spring here in Witch City; Salem, Massachusetts. The birthplace of The Greatest Drink in the World... This Week. And the city is all abuzz. From the Spring Fling, (an annual celebration of food, wine, beer, music and art! See sidebar,) to The Greatest Drink in the World... This Week's own contribution, The Salem Sunrise, (A.K.A. Sunset Over the Power Plant!)

The Recipe:
Into a cocktail shaker full of ice, add:

- a 2 count of Passionfruit Rum
- a 2 count of Mango Rum
- a 2 count of White Rum

- a "sploosh" of mango Juice
- a "sploosh" of lemon Juice
- a "sploosh" of pineapple Juice

- Shake "wickedly,"

- strain over fresh ice,

- Float Gosling Black Rum across the top,

- garnish with a slice of orange, and maybe some fresh apple.

Original Recipe by Joe the Bartender, Passage to India Restaurant, Salem, MA.

Joe's notes: 
To quote the lyrics from the great Dinah Washington "What a difference a day makes."

One day I am watching umbrellas scuttling past my window like an army of horseshoe crabs, and the next, shorts and t-shirts flow past as the temperature reaches the mid-seventies. On witnessing the first days of spring I immediately reel in this opportunity to introduce a good-weather drink: The Salem Sunrise. With its warming, exotic fruit-flavored rums and its summer-like fresh fruit-juice ingredients, I feel it epitomizes the change in seasons. The promise of summer makes me remember my summers as a young man.

Much of my young adult life in London was spent living, travelling and working under the streets of the city. I often felt like one of H.G. Wells' Morlocks. On the few occasions I did surface, I would head for one of the many parks in the city or maybe even for a seaside town .

For those of you unfamiliar with an English seaside town of twenty something years ago, allow me to give you a short description.

The attached beach would have two very different generations on display. The younger group consisted of skinny, milk bottle white young men in speedos and their accompanying girlfriends lying topless on towels, (usually borrowed bath towels from the guest houses where they where staying.) The girls would be smothered in suntan oil, trying desperately to get a tan from the weak sun intermittently peeking out from between the threatening rain clouds. The young men would kick a football about while drinking warm Carlsberg beer, (It was always Carlsberg) from a can. This would cause a chorus of profanities from the oil covered girls as they desperately tried to scrape the sand from themselves. It would also bring about threats of violence from the families on the beach as they would be shaking sand from their pies and sandwiches they where eating. English people for some reason always bring vast quantities of food with them to the beach. The football playing would stop every so often so the young men could pick up one of the young ladies and throw her in the sea. This would cause much laughter, screaming and yet again another string of profanities.

The second group was that of the older generation. They headed for the beach not so much for the sun but to get fresh air in their lungs. Many where from the city and it has been a long held belief in England that the sea air had healing properties. The women in this group would rarely take off any of their clothes, as the very thought of exposing naked skin was "Quite unnecessary". The men would roll their trouser pants up to the knees, strip off their shirts but opt to leave on their string vests. This, if they did get sun exposure left a very strange pattern on their chests and backs. Some men who where either bald or balding would wear a knotted handkerchief on their heads to prevent burning . The idea of putting on sunblock or even wearing a hat didn't seam to occur to them.

The seaside town would be full of people either walking about eating Ice cream, newspaper wrapped fish and chips or pickled shell fish floating in vinegar from a glass jar (strange but true). At the end of the day the pubs would be very busy. No A/C existed in the pubs.The sweaty, semi clad young men continued to drink their pints of carslberg alongside the same families that had earlier threatened them with violence. As the kids drank Coke from a bottle and ate packets of crisps, their dads would blatantly flirt with the young ladies. The mums would unwrap yet more sandwiches from their bags, handing these now warm and wilting offerings to the children as well as the ever-hungry young men. All is forgiven, and everyone has had a jolly good day!

Chris' notes: We had some absolutely incredible weather to usher in the spring here in Salem, and those tropical, fruity, rum-laced, "boat-drinks" are foremost on the minds of the educated panel of researchers and our knowledgeable conspirator, toastmaster, and mixologist, Joe.

Joe proceeded to show us why he is known amongst the Hekawi Tribe of the American Southwest as "Dances With Liquors," and whipped us up a local favorite and an early creation of his shortly after coming to Salem on the Mayflower.

The Salem Sunrise is a very rich, and thick drink, thanks primarily to the Mango and other juices, and the flavored rums, but the Dark Rum on top adds just the right balance. This is truly a warm weather masterpiece of a drink, (and will no doubt rock this summer!) and a great way to usher in the changing of the seasons!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bloody Molly

So, the day after St. Patrick's Day, right? That green beer isn't nearly as nice to you on the day after, is it? I know there are many people wishing they had a decent hangover remedy on hand. Well, here at Greatest Drink In The World... This Week, we understand your pain. That is why this week's Greatest Drink is a 'Post-St. Paddy's Day' Hangover remedy: The Bloody Molly!

The Recipe:
Into a cocktail shaker filled 3/4 of the way with ice, add:

- a 4 count Boru Vodka
- juice squeezed from 1/2 of a large lemon
- 1/2 tablespoon of chopped green chilies,
- 4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce,
- approximately 6 ounces of V-8 Juice

- Shake, (to the best of your ability!)

- Strain over fresh ice

- Sprinkle generously with black pepper, (or to taste!)
Original recipe by Joe the Bartender, Passage to India Restaurant, Salem, MA

Joe the Bartender's notes: The Bloody Molly is our take on the classic Bloody Mary cocktail. As you can see we have substituted Russian vodka for Boru Irish Vodka. We have also omitted some of the more traditional ingredients such as celery salt and horseradish, as well as replacing Tabasco with freshly chopped green chilies.
I know some of you may want to add garlic salt, olive juice, grated onion or some other ingredient. And on any other day I would say that was fine, but as the Bloody Molly is primarily a post-St. Patrick's Day hangover cure, I would suggest you try this first. Ask yourself , do you really want to make your poor alcohol-abused body work so hard ?

And please don't use Clamato juice. I find the very idea of sucking back fish-juice particularly repulsive.
Naturally, I am feeling clear headed and energized this post-St. Patrick's day. As I prepare for my morning run, I remember a morning not so very long ago when I wasn't feeling quite so superior. It was while visiting my sister and her family in the beautiful lake district of Ireland. It was March 17th, I decided to go for a stroll through the country lanes. Although the air was crisp and cool, the sun was shining. I filled my lungs with the fresh clean air of the Irish countryside. The shiny chestnut coats of the horses played against the vibrant greens of the surrounding fields. The colors where reminiscent of the palattes of the great Celtic artists John Morris or Thomas Roberts. I could almost feel the culture and history of this land seeping into my English bones. Stopping at a quaint local pub I ordered my first pint of Guinness of the day.

A number of pints later I took a cab back to my sisters house armed with a variety of Irish whiskies, Paddys, Powers and of course, Jameson's. I don't believe at this stage that I need to go into details of the evenings events, other then to say the following morning I was not feeling my best. On seeing the poor state I was in this post-St. Patrick's day morning, my brother in-law jumped up insisting that he could cure me with a breakfast sandwich from the local gas station. While waiting on his return I stepped outside for some of that fresh Irish country air. The first thing to hit me was an overpowering smell of animal waste. It made my stomach perform turns that a Russian gymnast would have been proud of. The cold damp air attacked my skin, causing me to whimper like a trapped animal and the colors that I had found so stimulating the previous day now made me feel like I was the lead character in Edward Munch's most famous painting. My brother in-law returned with a bag heavily stained with grease marks. He presented to me a sub roll stuffed with sausage, rashers (bacon), eggs, black and white pudding, (blood sausage) and of course with this being Ireland, potato. All this topped with brown sauce, (sort of like ketchup, but brown.) This sandwich did satisfy my carbohydrate craving, but subsequently began to grow and expand in my stomach, distending me until I felt like Violet Beauregarde in the Wonka factory.
I learnt some valuable lessons that day. Firstly, never again leave the city, never listen to your brother in-law and never ever eat food prepared at your local gas station.

Chris the Barfly's notes: Before I continue with impressions from my side of the bar, I just need to comment on just how much I love the Breakfast Roll! And especially the black pudding! But I agree that it can sit in your stomach like a wet book.

Now on to business at hand! So, Wednesday was St. Patrick's Day, and when Joe said he had a great hangover recipe for those who consumed too much green beer on the seventeenth, I was immediately intrigued. I had been looking for a REALLY good Bloody Mary recipe for a while, (for recreational purposes, mind you, not medicinal!) And this is a really good Bloody Mary, (or "Molly" for the holiday, and the inclusion of the Irish vodka.)

"Irish Vodka," you ask? Oh yes! Check this out. Doesn't this sound good? "The original vodka from Ireland and the only Irish vodka in the U.S. Made with pure Irish spring water. Boru Vodka is quadruple distilled for smoothness and clarity. The only vodka filtered through 10 feet of Atlantic irish oak charcoal." I'm salivating!!!

The Bloody Molly, however, is a whole different sensation! This is one spicy meatball! It'll clear your head, for sure, but it tastes so good, that as research assistant, Michael B. put it, you don't need a hangover to enjoy this!

One important caveat: All those chilies and that black pepper tend to settle. If you decide not to stir your Molly fairly frequently, it will get spicier and spicier as you get closer to the bottom!

(Insert gratuitous Irish video here ➙ Flogging Molly on Conan O'Brien.)


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tequila Mockingbird

So, there seems to have been a little action in the polls lately. A spike in the tequila votes means it is time to do a tequila cocktail.
And so it was that we, the dedicated few, discussed tequila drinks. Joe had a few ideas that he wanted to try out on us, but they were without a name. We listed a few other tequila cocktail names: Tequila Lime, Tequila Sunrise, Tequila Slammer; and out of nowhere, the name just appeared. We went with it, and to the catchy little moniker, the following cocktail was attached.

The Recipe:

Into an empty cocktail shaker, add:

- 1 whole fresh lime, quartered,
- 1 tablespoon of simple syrup

- Muddle indiscriminatingly!

- Add a generous scoop of ice,
- a 3 count Cachaça
- a "sploosh" of orange juice

- shake judiciously,

- pour over ice,

- float some Grand Marnier over the top, (to taste,)
- garnish with a slice of orange and a cherry

Recipe by Joe the Bartender, Passage to India Restaurant, Salem, MA

Joe's notes: My choice of what tequila and cachaca are purely my own preference. Please feel free to use any quality tequila and cachaça you prefer. Just remember that a drink is only as good as the ingredients you use. Saying that, for a mixed cocktail like this I would not use very high-end tequila: you want to keep the cost affordable. The use of fresh ingredients, however, like fresh limes and freshly squeezed orange juice does make a big difference to the flavor and quality of the drink.

I have to thank Chris this week putting me back on track and giving me the inspiration for the Tequila Mockingbird.

Friday evening, as is usual, Chris came to the bar to discuss the G.D.I.T.W.T.W. I noticed as he sat at the bar that he had a very serious look on his face.

This is the dialogue that followed:

Chris: "Joe, I feel that we are moving too far away from the original idea of this blog."

Joe: "What do you mean?"

C: "Well, your stories, although I accept they may be mildly entertaining to a couple of our readers, they are not what you were brought on-board for."

J: "O.K., Chris, but I do feel that with any new concept, a reason needs to be attached to the principal"

C; " What?"

J: "I like telling stories."

C: "Listen, this week I would like you to make an original drink, I have come up with the name Tequila Mockingbird as a starting point for you."

J: "Great name! Obviously tequila, but where should we go from there?"

C: "That, my friend, is up to you."

J: "Your right, Chris, in fact this reminds me of the time.."

C: "Stop it. Your doing it again. You are like the demented old relative at Thanksgiving that starts every story with 'When I was a boy.' Please try to stay in the plot."

End dialogue.

Feeling somewhat dejected and realizing I was never going to be awarded the Nobel prize for literature, I cast my eyes over the vast array of bottles waiting for me on the shelves. Grabbing the tequila, I started to mix.

A mixologist is like a chef, you start with a quality ingredient and experiment by attaching additional flavors. The thing you never want to happen is that the additions you make mask the original ingredient. You may enhance the flavor or make your customer experience the original ingredient in a new and unexpected way. But, just as you would never garnish farm raised salmon with pig's liver, also never mix tequila with something like strawberry-flavored whipped cream from an aerosol can. Use quality and fresh ingredients and you can't go wrong.

I did have a story about a bottle of tequila and a Vegas show girl, but as my story telling days have been put on hold it will have to wait.

I, like Igor, am ever subservient to my master.

Chris's notes: I OBJECT!!!

That conversation, is a complete fabrication! (And I am not saying this simply because it makes me out to look like some kind of control freak!)
Okay, yeah, I may have suggested the name. And true, I do come in every Friday, but I swear, I have no recollection of this conversation taking place the way Joe says it took place!

I will testify to the freshness of ingredients claim made here. From my side of the bar, this is among the biggest contributions to the flavor. Freshly cut, squeezed, or muddled, not protects the purity of the flavors as well as fresh ingredient in the proper proportion. And these ingredients really help bring out the flavors. In particular, I felt that the taste of the tequila is really noticeable, in a good way! Joe claims that he tastes the cachaça more, but he admits that cachaca is among his favorite drinks! Research partner, once again present, Michael B., agrees with me, but also states that he, too, is a "tequila guy!" But there was no disagreement about the final product. Delicious!

Incidentally, that tequila is made by none other than legendary rocker, Sammy Hagar, and shares the name of his bar in Cabo San Lucas, The Cabo Wabo Cantina!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Black Lagoon

The whole bar was very excited the day that the Kraken Rum arrived. A black, spiced rum, in, let's face it, a WAY cool bottle, all present wanted a drink that featured this as it's prime ingredient. Joe didn't make any that night, instead deciding to reflect on the matter. After much meditation, (a day or two,) he said to me, "I need some falernum."

"I know a guy who can get any of that stuff," I told him, "but he doesn't like strangers."

Joe explained, patiently, that although he didn't know what I was mistaking falernum for, I was wrong, and it was nothing illegal. "Falernum," he went on, "was a syrup used in tropical-style rum drinks with flavors of ginger and lime."

As it turns out, it wasn't all that difficult to get, and in no time, a recipe featuring the newly acquired falernum, and the long drooled-over Kraken Rum was assembled and ready.

During its debut, (mixed up special for me, thank you very much!) no fewer than four more were ordered and zealously consumed, all before 6:00 PM! Not bad for an opening night.

The Recipe:
Into a tumbler of ice, add:

- A 4 count of Kraken Black Rum
- a 1 ½ count of falernum
- the juice from ½ of a freshly squeezed lime,

- Shake viciously,

- strain into a 10 ounce brandy snifter filled with fresh ice

- garnish with a wedge of lime

Joe the Bartender's notes: The Black Lagoon is a drink I have both recently discovered and enjoyed. It came about one evening while I was walking home. One of my younger, (and more attractive,) local costumers was standing outside a bar smoking her licorice cheroot. She greeted me enthuasiasticly and insisted I join her and her boyfriend inside for a drink. Not wishing to disappoint, and having an insatiable thirst I agreed.

The bar was very dark and crowded and as my eyes adjusted to my new surroundings it became apparent that I had entered into a "Goth Night". Everyone was dressed in black. I saw a great many had partial tattoos crawling out from beneath their clothing. I could only imagine what piercings lay beneath. (Only to say that I imagine a strong magnet would have drawn quite a crowd.)
My young friend was drinking what looked to me like swamp water. On inquiry she told me it was a Black Mojito. That is a Mojito made with "Kraken" black rum, pointing out a bottle of Kraken at the bar. Althought he drink looked quite awful it actually tasted rather good. I chose a Kraken and ginger beer and settled back to watch the nights events. A number of both male and female Goths where on the dance floor, which rather impressed me as i didn't realize that the "living dead" could actually dance. Finishing with a Kraken on the rocks I hurried home, (before daybreak,) to investigate this rum further.

The following evening, I arrived at work armed with a list of Kraken cocktails to present to the panel of experts, (see last weeks post.) The Black Lagoon came out lead favorite. I had found a variation of the Black Lagoon listed as a "Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Cocktail."

It didn't appear to have a name other than that so we decided to name it. Chris came up with the rather fitting name of the Black Lagoon.

Before I end a note on the Falernum. I have used both the syrup and the 11% alcohol versions. In my opinion the Falernum with alcohol makes for a better drink (No surprise there). You may only be able to find the syrup at your local bottle store and that is fine.

You will still be able to make the Greatest Drink in the World....This Week.

Chris the Barfly's notes: The Black Lagoon , (the cocktail, that is,) suits the Kraken, (the rum,) extremely well. This rum itself has flavors of ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in it which combine with the almond, ginger and lime flavors the falernum in an almost perfect proportion, (half a lime later, and it IS prefect proportion!)

Since the day that Joe first brought in the Kraken, and we got a little smell, a little taste, I had been very anxious to try whatever recipe would be developed around it. It was worth the wait.

My first Kraken-based cocktail experience may not have had the same amount of "guy-liner" as Joe's did, but I don't feel like I was shortchanged.


"...once by man and angels to be seen,   In roaring he shall rise..." - The Kraken, Lord Alfred Tennyson,