Monday, 20 January 2014

Cocktail Hour: Between The Sheets

I think my Mother, this blogs longest standing and most dedicated reader did not think that I'd put enough work into my new 'Cocktail Hour' column in the latter half of 2013. In my Christmas stocking (yes I have one, and it is always full of cookbooks, cooking equipment and chocolate!) I was given a stainless steel cocktail shaker and a set of miniature mixers to play around with. And do you know what? The gifts have worked and been put to fantastic use, and I mixed up a fair few different new cocktails in the lull between Christmas Day and New Years Day. This is a lovely, warming and powerful cocktail I mixed up in my new shaker, which I found on cocktail website Punch (that I was introduced to by Joy The Baker) and adapted negligibly, just to suit what spirits and mixers that could be found in my parents drinks cupboard and on my drinks table. 
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It is essentially a riff on the classic Sidecar, and it is believed to have come from the famous Harry's Bar in Paris, where pretty much every great non prohibition cocktail has come from. I could drink many of these, and I think it is perfect for pre dinner drinks this time of year, when you want the mix of rum and brandy to warm you up a little, but I warn you that they are rather potent! Now, I have found it is so much easier to mix up a cocktail of an evening now I have my cocktail shaker (and I know how to use it, thanks to the fantastic team behind the bar at Hakkasan Hanway Place where I attended a cocktail masterclass over the Summer), but if you don't want to invest in the kit you can mix up your cocktails in a jam jar with the lid tightly on.
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As for your garnish, I promise you this one I've made does actually look quite good, but is really easy to make. I was too scared to try and make an elegant curve with an orange, lest I slice my finger open. My Mother tried, and my Father had to hold her steady for the light headedness while I ran and got a plaster! Then, my Dad, genius that he is went to the kitchen drawer, got out a standard vegetable peeler and made this in about two seconds. Lesson learnt. 

  • 3/4 oz Cognac (you could use standard brandy if you don't have Cognac)
  • 3/4 oz White Rum (I use Bacardi as I have it around to mix with juice in the Summer!)
  • 3/4 oz Triple Sec
  • 1/2 oz Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice 
  • 4-5 Ice Cubes

Shake all of the ingredients, including the ice in a cocktail shaker or jam jar. Shake it more than you think you need to, and strain out into a cocktail strainer or a small kitchen sieve, into a cocktail martini glass. I don't have the facility for crushed ice here (I miss the ice machine on my American fridge!), but in cocktail bars the way they chill the glass is by filling it with crushed ice while they make up the cocktail (but you need to use solid ice for the cocktail or you will dilute it too much), then tipping it out just before they serve. Add the garnish to the glass, and enjoy! The measurements above are for a single glass, but I have tripled it and doubled it with no trouble. It is too easy for much bother, to be honest! 


Do any of you have cocktail shakers and kit at home to mix up drinks, or do you like to save treats like these for when you go out for an evening. And you you prefer long or short cocktails? I think I need to invest in a muddler for the Summer! 

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