Iced Tea Cocktails

A follow-up to Crowdsourcing Cocktails: Iced Tea

iced tea ad 2

Last week I put a question to the crowd: what cocktails could I make with my leftover iced tea?  A few of you replied with excellent suggestions, which I took to my kitchen along with my barware.

Fellow bloggers G-Lo (It’s Just the Booze Dancing) and Susannah (What Tastes Good) both provided recommendations.  However, I didn’t follow their suggestions to the letter, but rather tweaked them slightly based on my personal tastes and what I had on hand.

First, G-Lo recommended the following:

How about one part homemade Limoncello, of which I have plenty, and three parts Sun Tea, shaken and poured over ice in a tall glass and then topped with a splash of San Pellegrino Blood Orange Soda? Garnish it with a wedge of lemon and BOOM! you’re done.

Thankfully, I still had some homemade limoncello (a little less than G-Lo, I believe) and was able to easily find San Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa (Blood Orange) at the neighborhood grocery store.  (As an aside, I prefer Orangina to San Pellegrino, but that’s neither here nor there in this case.)  After mixing things up, I was surprised at how nicely it tasted.  Each ingredient was equally recognizable and the juice didn’t over-sweeten the drink and I thought it would.

I made a slight modification for my second helping, however: instead of shaking the three together, I stirred them in my glass over ice.  Stirring better separated the flavors a bit more and didn’t chill the drink as much, which I more preferred.  More importantly, I was able to use two homemade products – tea and limoncello – killing two birds with one cocktail, as it were.

The second recipe was sent by Susannah, who suggested:

Sweet iced tea (infused with fresh mint if you can) and bourbon. That’s pretty much the best I can do once the temperature gets above 90…

Here I must admit: I cut corners.  As the recipe called for sweet tea, I used my sun tea (not infused with mint) with a half tablespoon or so of sugar, along with the bourbon, in two-to-one proportions (two parts tea, one part bourbon).  This too wasn’t bad and definitely provided a boozier kick than G-Lo’s recipe.  Yet I preferred the former limoncello-based drink to the latter – perhaps it’s my penchant for malt-based whisky (rather than corn-based bourbon), or it could have been my preference for unsweetened tea over sweetened.

Nevertheless, both cocktails used the surplus tea as I had intended and taught me a couple of new cocktails in the process, which was why I had originally asked the question.  I spent a few moments in the kitchen with my cocktail shaker, which these days, is an exceedingly rare occurrence.

Thanks to you both for sharing the information, very much appreciated!

Published in: on August 5, 2013 at 11:01 pm  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , ,

Better Late Than Never

What’s been going on for the last several weeks, you might ask?  Did I abandon The Hip Flask or go on a month-long bender, Leaving Las Vegas style?  Unfortunately not, though I have wished for a more mellow version of the latter option more than once during my short hiatus from blogging.

Summer’s end brought a rush and immediacy back to work, so much so that even the thought of another minute with a computer at the end of the day sent me to the bottle.  So instead of blogging, I’ve been working and drinking (the first too much, the second not nearly enough).  But I did find time to enjoy a drink or two, and perhaps with my professional responsibilities returning to a manageable pace, I’ll have the time and energy to again convey my thoughts on a regular basis.

In the meantime, here’s a short list of a few things I’ve enjoyed since I last wrote here:

Dark and Stormies.  What better cocktail to enjoy while waiting out a hurricane?  Granted, it may not be the most appropriate drink during an earthquake, but what better options are there?  (Perhaps anything not poured from a glass container.)

The Dalmore 12 year old.  Thanks to my friend Lashdeep at Central Liquor for introducing me to this deliciously creamy and complex flavored Scotch whiskey.

– Gin Martinis.  Made with either Tanqueray or Bombay Sapphire, up, with a touch of vermouth, and an olive – a traditional olive, without cheese stuffing or other such complications – the best cocktail with which to conclude the longest of work days.

Samuel Adam’s Harvest Collection.  Particularly the Octoberfest, Harvest Pumpkin Ale, and Bonfire Rauchbier, which have welcomed Washington’s early hints of autumn weather (which cannot arrive a moment too soon).

– Negronis.  A classic combination of gin, sweet (or red) vermouth, and Campari, expertly poured by two surprisingly friendly bartenders at Rye House, a new favorite stop in New York City.

Homemade Limoncello.  My inaugural batch of the Italian aperitif turned out more refreshing and clean than I had imagined, with only a hint of the Stolichnaya from which it was created.  This success inspired me to try again, and another batch – with Svedka as the base this time – is brewing atop my fridge as we speak (next to the plum and peach brandies, of course).

To you, my readers – thank you for keeping up with The Hip Flask, even during the recent drought of new content.  What have you been enjoying recently?

Published in: on September 26, 2011 at 10:51 pm  Comments (7)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Homemade Limoncello

…With a Few More Thoughts on Aperitifs

A drinker’s tastes are never static.  Throughout one’s life, our beverage of choice changes for any number or reasons, be it age, price, or season.  What I now prefer I couldn’t afford when younger; what I drink during summer months is not what I drink during winter.  And on and on, year after year.

I found myself considering my tastes and practices as they have changed over time this past weekend as I crushed a few ice cubes for a small afternoon Campari, my latest purchase.  I had been looking for an aperitif and decided on the bitter Italian classic, which I find delightfully complex, an absolutely acquired taste.

This love of aperitifs – and digestifs, of course – as it pertains to my original point, is most assuredly a change in taste, one that has occurred over the last few years.  The highly herbal concoctions are now favorites.  But I’ve noticed another change, one in practice rather than taste: I very much enjoy creating homemade spirits and liqueurs.

First, I tried my hand at creating peach brandy, which was far more successful than I thought possible.  I immediately created another batch.  Two months later I used the same recipe to create plum brandy; both batches – peach and plum – are now sitting atop the refrigerator, patiently fermenting and waiting to be enjoyed.  And then, this past weekend (and largely on my wife’s initiative), we made homemade limoncello.

An important note about making your own limoncello: a seemingly infinite number of recipes exist.  I found more than a dozen after only a few minutes researching the subject online.  This much is certain: there are three ingredients – lemons, a grain alcohol, and simple syrup.  Certainty ends here – how many lemons to use (6-12), what you do with the lemons (peel or zest), which alcohol to use (vodka or Everclear), the ideal absorption time (one to six weeks), and the thickness of the simple syrup and its ratio to alcohol – are apparently the subject of much debate.

For our batch – a standard size – we used the following recipe: wash and zest 10 whole lemons, then add zest to an ordinary 750 milliliter bottle of vodka.  Seal container and let mixture sit for forty days.  After forty days, make a batch of simple syrup (boil a mixture of roughly 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar on the stove until thickened).  Cool the syrup completely before adding it to the vodka, then let sit another forty days.  Strain excess zest through cheesecloth, transfer limoncello into a clean bottle to store in the freezer, and serve well chilled.

So now I wait: for the peach brandy, the plum brandy, and the limoncello.  In the meantime, I’ll continue reading, learning, and tasting.  Perhaps at some point I’ll look back on these two preferences – for mysterious, herbal pre-dinner drinks and occasionally creating my own – documented by these words, and feel nostalgia for my tastes, circa summer 2011.

Published in: on June 17, 2011 at 11:49 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , ,