There’s a beluga in my beer!
I hope everyone had a fun, safe and boozy Fourth. I know I did. I went to Red, White and Brew at the Georgia Aquarium, thanks to thebeerbelly and Beer Connoisseur magazine. I sampled beers, cider and craft beer ice cream, all amongst the company of whale sharks, manta rays and, my favorite, the beluga whales. It all ended up with the perfect view of the downtown Atlanta fireworks from the Aquarium’s rooftop. I can’t wait to do it again next year!
Me and the hubs went to one of my favorite restaurant/bars, the Iberian Pig (Atlanta). Noticing the cocktail menu didn’t offer ups any tequila libations, we asked the bartender if he had any off-menu ideas. He whipped out a little black notebook and mixed up this beauty borrowed from the Tabard Inn in Washington, DC. The moral of the story? Sit at the bar!
Tabard cocktail : Milagro Reposado Tequila, Lustau Amontillado Sherry, Drambuie, Orange Boat, Fresh Thyme
I visited the Terrapin Brewery in Athens, GA this weekend and had a blast. Beer can’t be sold legally at a brewery, so they sell you a glass for $10 with tickets that you use for pours. It’s a dang good deal! I tried Side Project, Hopsecutioner, Golden Ale, Monk’s Revenge, and ended with the Easy Rider. I’d say the favorite amongst my peeps was the Monk’s Revenge - at 9.8% ABV it is a combination of a Belgian Style Tripel and a new age American Double IPA. Holy Turtle, it hit the spot.
Cherry season is May through August - which is now! Go get ya some! And when you’re thinking of all the wonderful things you can do with them, don’t forget you can get them drunk. Spiced brandied cherries will dress up any cocktail or dessert and are sweet to give as a gift. And they’re unbelievably easy to make. Pitting them is the hardest part but there are many tricks out there.
Here is the recipe I used from local foods.about.com:
- 1 1/2 lb. cherries
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 4 cardamom pods
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 whole allspice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup brandy
- 1-quart jar with lid
- Pit the cherries and set them aside.
- In a medium saucepan bring sugar water, lemon juice, and spices to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the mixture is slightly reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Stir in the brandy and the pitted cherries.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cherries to a 1-quart jar. Pour enough of the cooking liquid over the cherries to cover them completely. Twist on lid.
- Process in boiling water for 10 minutes, let cool, and store in a cool, dark place (such as a cupboard) for at least 6 weeks before using. Once opened, keep chilled. Alternatively, you can forgo the hot-water processing and store in the refrigerator.
JCT Kitchen in Atlanta, GA, is synonymous with the best-fried-chicken-you’ll-ever-eat-in-your-life. Not surprisingly, they serve kick ass cocktails. I’ll be honest, sometimes this blog gets hard because all the bars seem to serve the same stuff. I’m a little tired of cocktails with ginger beer, a few drops of “name any herb” bitters, or muddled whatever’s on hand. JCT’s list of cocktails makes me remember why I started this blog - a search for unique libations to share with anyone else who has a passion for cocktails. Now after saying all that, you might be surprised that I selected the only cocktail on the menu that had BEER in it. Not only beer, MILLER HIGH LIFE! Why? Because I don’t see that anywhere else! And you know what? It rocked my world! I like to think of it as a perfectly balanced gourmet beer margarita sweetened with thyme goodness.
Double Cross : No. 209 Gin, Miller High Life, Thyme Syrup, Lemon
It’s about time I jumped on the Boozy Pops bandwagon. I was first inspired to go for it when I saw the People’s Pops: 55 Recipes from Brooklyn’s Coolest Pop Shop recipe book (which I don’t own, feel free to send me a copy!). Since the book wasn’t available yet I searched the internets and discovered a plethora of recipes, but the one that always got the best reviews was the Bittersweet Chocolate Bourbon Pop. And ya’ll know I love me some Bulleit Bourbon. The ingredients and directions are simple, but the pop is a rich chocolatey sin, with just a tease of bourbon flavor to savor.
Here’s the recipe from Finecooking.com:
+ 1/2 cup granulated sugar
+ 3-1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (70% to 72%), chopped
+ 2 Tbs. Dutch-processed cocoa powder
+ 1/8 tsp. table salt
+ 2 Tbs. good-quality bourbon
Directions: Put the sugar, chocolate, cocoa powder, salt, and 2 cups water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Transfer to a 4-cup glass measure (or any container with a spout for easy pouring). Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir in the bourbon and divide the mixture among eight 3-oz. pop molds or wax-lined paper cups. Freeze until just set, about 3 hours. Insert craft sticks and freeze until completely set, about 4 hours more. When ready to serve, unmold or peel off the paper cups.
Side note : The mold I purchased was the Norpro Ice Pop Maker, which I have absolutely no complaints about. But I do recommend reading the user reviews for tips on how to use it the most efficiently.
I’m convinced that any drink served in a mason jar just tastes better. This Rosemary Gin & Tonic at Midway Pub, Atlanta, GA turned out to be the perfect summer twist on a cocktail staple.
If I ever have to request a last meal, this is it : a Tuck and Roll cocktail and a Crunchy Gentleman from Holeman and Finch, Atlanta, GA.
Tuck and Roll : Prunier Vs Cognac, Galliano, Celery Bitters, Sorghum, Lime
Crunchy Gentleman : Sliced Black Forest Ham, melted Gruyere
I waited entirely too long to check out this bar/restaurant - Holeman & Finch Public House in Buckhead, GA. It’s where you get New York City worthy cocktails in the big A.
Shown here is the Pun Intended ($12) : High West Double Rye, Kubler Absinthe, Housemade Dill Liqueur, Bar Code Swedish Herb Bitters, Grapefruit, Tonic