The Aviation. Purple drinks are cool!

Purple is a cool color….so I think a purple drink is cool too! We were introduced to this cocktail in New Orleans at the Green Goddess. As we sat and watched one being made, we couldn’t help but ask about it. Which led us to try one and realize how good it is! It is perfectly refreshing on a warm evening!

2eat2drink-aviation-still-p

I did a fair amount of research to find the right recipe for this. There are many variations and theories on when it was invented. But most lead back to the start of the twentieth century and Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks. Ensslin’s recipe called for 1½ oz. El Bart gin, ¾ oz. lemon juice, 2 dashes maraschino liqueur, and 2 dashes crème de violette. I settled on the NY Times recipe and added a touch of simple syrup to balance out the citrus. I like it both ways, but since I’m generally creating cocktails for Heather this is the official 2eat2drink recipe!

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons maraschino liqueur, preferably Luxardo
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/4 ounce Crème de Violette

FIll a cocktail shaker with ice, gin, lemon juice, Luxardo and simple syrup. Shake to chill, then strain into a martini glass. Slowly pour Crème de Violette into the glass to create a purple swirl that settles near the bottom. Garnish with a twist of lemon or a flamed lemon peel.

2eat2drink-luxardo-violette-p

It’s experiment time! I created an animated gif of the pour. It may only work if you click on it, based on my preview. Let’s see what happens…

Click to animate!

Click to animate!

Cheers!

Old San Juan, El Batey, and Ron del Barrilito (take me away)!

We discovered Barrilito “three star” rum on our actual honeymoon and were instantly hooked. Enjoying a glass of this smooth aged rum in our living room always takes us right back to Old San Juan…and more specifically to El Batey, the best little dive bar in Puerto Rico (or possibly the world). Conveniently located right across the street from Hotel El Convento (our Puerto Rican home away from home), this place has cheap drinks, an eclectic mix of songs on the juke box, and loads of character (and characters!)

After our tour of the Bacardi factory in 2008, the Cuba Libre (basically a rum and Coke with lime) became a favorite cocktail of ours . Despite our fond recollections of the tour, we really prefer to make ours with Ron del Barrilito (Rum from the little Barrel) “three star.” That seems to be the consensus of many people we’ve talked with in Old San Juan. The picture below shows a Cuba Libre “El Batey style”: a small glass filled almost entirely with “three star” and ice, then topped off with Coke and a lime.

107-2eat2drink-barrilito cuba libre-p

The Cuba Libre, El Batey style.

I would also recommend just drinking the “three star” from a snifter.  It’s the older of the two Edmundo B. Fernández, Inc. rums, featuring a blend of rums aged between 6 and 10 years. Sipping will let you enjoy the layers of honey, butterscotch, molasses, spice, vanilla, smoke, nuts, and oak. The finish is warm, smoky, sweet and very lengthy.

107-2eat2drink-barrilito bottle-p

Ron del Barrilito “three star.” Note the neck label, the only difference from the two-star, less-aged variety.

That long finish takes us away to El Batey. The most intimidating bar we’ve ever walked into, it is also one of the most friendly and interesting. Each visit has provided great conversation with the patrons and the bartenders, and endless visual appeal. The highlight of our most recent visit was a brief chat with the owner, David Jones. He is obviously a man who knows how to enjoy himself as he was surrounded by friends, drink, and a bag of cigars. I think this photo captured him perfectly as this is how he chose to sit when I asked to photograph him; elusive, gruff, intense and relaxed all at once.

Owner David Jones.

Owner David Jones.

I leave you with a toast to David Jones, especially for choosing to leave the graffiti on the walls for over 40 years! Peruse through these highlights and imagine yourself sipping a Cuba Libre. Cheers!

Café Puerto Rico, Old San Juan. A must do!

For the first post of the new year, I am finally following up on the new years eve post with a must do for all of you traveling to Old San Juan. Heather had done lots of research on where to go for local cuisine, and the first place the hotel concierge mentioned lined up with one of her options. Café Puerto Rico. A few blocks walk from El Convento (more on this wonderful hotel to come), we ended up on the edge of Plaza Colon and entered the cafe. It was crowded and lively and we were told to come back in 38 minutes. Yes 38. Never have we received such an exact return time. We wandered a few doors down to the Parrot Club for a cocktail, and listened to a jazz trio for 36 minutes, then quickly returned.

We were rewarded for our patience with a private table on the balcony overlooking Plaza Colon. I can’t say how lovely a view I, in particular, had without showing you my view.

Heather at Café Puerto Rico, overlooking Plaza Colon.

Heather at Café Puerto Rico, overlooking Plaza Colon.

We ordered mero (grouper) and tiritas de churrascos (skirt steak) mofongos rellenos, and a couple of tropical drinks. This ended up being our favorite meal of the trip!

Here are a few more visual highlights from the evening. More from Old San Juan to follow soon. Cheers!

P.S. If those of you who subscribe (thank you so much for following along!), could let me know if the galleries appear correctly in your e-mail, I’d appreciate it.  They look lovely in the on line post, but it showed up in my and Heather’s e-mail all broken and random. I’ve contacted WordPress about it, so hopefully we can get it resolved. Thanks!

Get the fever for the perfect combination of spicy and sweet!

Every new drink begins with an inspiration.

In this case, the wicked cool bottle of Fever-Tree Bitter Lemon premium tonic water inspired us. Made with spring water, cane sugar, lemon juice, and natural quinine, the beverage itself is as cool and fresh as its packaging.

Oh… we’re feeling feverish.

It was a natural mixer for our favorite, the classic gin and tonic. However, we decided to kick it up a little. Hence the creation of the Ginger G&T.

Over ice, mix 3 oz. Fever-Tree Bitter Lemon tonic, 2 oz. Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, and 1 oz. Bluecoat American dry gin. Stir and enjoy. It’s kind of like drinking a sweet tart, but with a gingery kick. Cheers!

The Ginger G&T!

Simple syrup solutions

Hi, it’s Heather! This post is actually an excerpt from Local Bubbly, an article I wrote for CITIZEN, a new Rochester area magazine. In the first part of the article (which can be seen in our post The Sparkling Finger Lakes),  I shared our tasting notes on three local sparkling wines – Chateau Frank Blanc de Blancs, Swedish Hill Riesling Cuvée, and Hunt Country Chardonnay Champagne. While all of these sparkling wines were fantastic on their own, during our tasting session, we decided to mix a bit of flavored simple syrup in with each of the wines to create a trio of tasty cocktails.

Making simple syrup is as easy as the name implies. Combine equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan. (We typically use one cup of each, and sometimes use brown sugar rather than white.) Bring the mixture just to a boil, reduce the heat, and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let it cool completely. We pour ours into bottles and store it in the refrigerator. It has become a staple in our kitchen!

Our three simple syrups being infused with flavor!

To go with our three sparkling wines, we decided to make three different flavored simple syrups – rhubarb, cranberry cinnamon, and brown sugar orange. Flavoring the simple syrups was quite easy. Once the sugar had dissolved, we stirred in the necessary ingredients. Chopped rhubarb, cranberries that had been sprinkled with cinnamon and roasted for about an hour at 350º, and an orange peel with pith removed (add about half the juice of the orange to the simple syrup, as well) were our ingredients of choice. It was then time to take each of our three saucepans off the heat and let them sit for an hour. We strained the simple syrups into containers, let it all come to room temperature, and chilled it before use. Feel free to get creative with your flavoring, using nearly any spice, herb, or fruit you desire.

The finished syrups look as good as they taste.

To create the cocktails pictured, pour one to two ounces of flavored simple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it) into a champagne flute then top it off with sparkling wine.

Ready to drink!

The Chateau Frank Blanc de Blancs mixed nicely with the rhubarb-flavored simple syrup. The Swedish Hill Riesling Cuvée was superb with the cranberry cinnamon simple syrup. Our favorite combination was the Hunt Country Chardonnay Champagne with the brown sugar orange simple syrup. The deep caramelized flavors of this wine paired nicely with the brown sugar and citrus of the simple syrup, making for a deliciously decadent sparkling treat.

We hope you get a chance to enjoy some of the many delicious sparkling wines that our region has to offer, whether on their own or in your favorite drink recipe. And, if you haven’t done so already, pick up a free copy of CITIZEN. Cheers!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Heather and I both have a little Irish blood in us. So…hopefully you are wearing a touch of green to celebrate with us. Baileys Irish Cream is an easy way to turn your coffee into a St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Does the swirl remind you of the tumultuous Irish sea? Or have you already had a few drinks? Only you can answer that! Either way, don’t forget to have your green shamrock cookies. Have a happy (and safe) St. Patrick’s Day!

Baileys and coffee. The Irish cream swirl! Tumultuous Irish sea?

Baileys Irish Cream. A nice blend of Irish cream, spirits, Irish whiskey, and a touch of chocolate.

Shamrock cookies. Would your St. Patrick's Day be complete without them??

Bourbon + Spice makes everything nice. (Even the intense competition inherent in local award shows!)

I entered 2eat2drink in the Rochester Advertising Federation Addy competition, our local advertising awards. This gave me a chance to review my 2011 annual report. I did 67 posts, with 251 pictures (WOW, no wonder I had no free time!), and had over 12,000 page views (thank you!) in just over ten months! It’s been an extremly fun way to reach out to clients, friends, and friends-to-be around the world, while sharing a little about our lives and highlighting my photography. If this is your first visit I encourage a full review. Those of you looking to get a brief overview, here are some of my favorite and most viewed posts:

The drink of choice for Sam Axe: The Minty Mojito.
Gin + Juice
I like it chunky: Guacamole!
Campfires and the double marshmallow, Special Dark chocolate s’more!
Bourbon Tasting at the Lake
The first post! Honey Roasted Tomato Bruschetta
You know you want one…the creamy root beer float!
Gooey, earthy, creamy, pungent French camembert.
The NOLA Margarita
Blimey! That’s a good ale!
Yes, I really did drink prehistoric plant matter deposits.
I want Mahón!

Now that you’ve worked up a thirst, on to the bourbon + spice! This is the cocktail I prepared for Chef Mark’s Thanksgiving feast. It’s a marvelous combination of rich, spicy and sweet. Infusing the flavors of ginger, cinnamon and cloves into dark brown sugar simple syrup is step one. Combine one cup each of water and dark brown sugar in a saucepan.  Bring the mixture just shy of a boil while stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add 3-4 slices of ginger, 5-6 cloves and 2 cinnamon sticks, remove the pan from the heat and let steep for about an hour. Strain before use.

Over ice in a rocks glass add 2 oz. bourbon, 1 oz. cinnamon ginger clove simple syrup, 1 oz. Trader Vic’s Kona Coffee liqueur, and 3-4 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged bitters. Stir, garnish and enjoy. (Bottle and store the remaining syrup in the refrigerator.)

Cheers to the Addy judges and all those who work hard to make the Addys a great event!

The Bourbon + Spice cocktail!

The rich, sweet and spicy ingredients!

Willett Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey was my choice for Bourbon + Spice.