Category Archives: Creme de Cassis

The Wages of Gin is Intoxication: The Gin and Tonic

Oh, it’s been too long, hasn’t it? Hello, valued and indispensable readers, and welcome back to Six Drinks Too Many, for the first time in many long, grueling months. I wound up not keeping up with my little blog because of this whole planning a wedding and getting married thing. And then I was just lazy for a couple more months.

But a few weeks ago, I decided that I really wasn’t waking up hungover often enough, and should start drinking for my blog once a week again.

So here I am, and I don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon. I know I missed most of the Summer, but damn it, it’s still hot out, so I can still write about Summer drinks. And there is no more quintessential Summer drink than the Gin and Tonic. So please, read on, and find a good refresher to enjoy these last few weeks of the season.

 

Gin and Tonic
-2 oz Gin
-Tonic Water
-Lime Wedge

Gin and Tonic

I’m not sure what you expect me to say here. It’s a Gin and Tonic. If you’ve never had one before, then you’ve probably never been to a bar before. And if you’ve never been to a bar before, then you’re probably not part of my target audience. That or you can’t legally drink, in which case, get away from here. This blog isn’t for kids. Go watch some porn instead.

In any case, do I really need to go over this? It’s full of gin and tonic water. It’s good to fight off malaria, and it’s a pretty good refresher. To make it, fill a rocks glass or highball glass with ice, add two ounces of gin, top it with tonic water, and stir gently (you don’t want to ruin the carbonation). Garnish with the lime wedge.

By the way, there are some people who only use the lime as a garnish, and don’t squeeze the juice in. I try my best not to talk to these people.

Two notes before moving on: First, bars tend to use rocks glasses for their Gin and Tonics, but the classic recipe calls for a highball glass. Use what you want, but be aware that it might change the ratio of gin to tonic water. Second, speaking of ratios, the ratio between gin and tonic water varies greatly by recipe. This is my suggestion, but feel free to experiment to find a recipe that works for you.

 

Elderflower Gin and Tonic
-1 1/2 oz Gin
-1/2 oz St. Germain
-Tonic Water
-Lime Wedge

Elderflower Gin and Tonic

If the standard Gin and Tonic is just to bitter for you, then this drink is a good choice. It uses St. Germain, an elderflower flavored liqueur that tastes less like elderflower and more like the laughter of kittens and the jiggle of breasts, with just a little bit of sugar. It’s very good.

This drink has a lovely aroma and taste, and the elderflower works with the flavor of the gin quite well. However, I’m going to recommend that instead of dropping the lime wedge into the drink, you squeeze the lime juice in and discard the wedge. The bitterness of the pith is very noticeable in this sweet drink, so you’re better off with just using the tartness of the lime juice to balance the drink.

In any case, make it the same way you would a regular Gin and Tonic, but with the added ingredient. Simple enough, right?

 

Witch’s Cocktail
-2 oz Gin
-Tonic Water
-Splash Crème de Cassis
-Lime Wedge

Witch's Cocktail

I don’t know what makes this drink witchy, but that’s the name the Internet tells me to use, so that’s the name I will use. Unfortunately, this is not as magical as the name implies. It’s not bad, but it’s probably not a drink I would choose again.

The crème de cassis gives this drink a jam-like flavor. With that, this kind of just becomes another overly-sweet and utterly generic cocktail. This drink is to cocktails what the latest Nicholas Sparks movie is to cinema.

Crème de cassis is usually used in small amounts because you really only need a small amount. I might have a different opinion about this drink if the recipe only called for a dash instead of a splash, but as it is it’s far too much with the relatively small amount that was added. In fact, the gin isn’t even all that noticeable, so it might as well be vodka instead. And If I used vodka instead, this would make it even more generic. Nothing against vodka at all. It’s just that it’s become the most popular liquor in the world by being overused to make cocktails that don’t taste alcoholic. And this just tastes like jelly.

In any case, if you feel the need to make this cloying concoction, make it the same as a regular Gin and Tonic, but add a splash of crème de cassis before you stir. Though, I do recommend that you use a dash instead of a splash. Otherwise, you might as well just make yourself a Gin and Tonic and eat grape jelly straight out of the jar.

 

Pink Gin and Tonic
-2 oz Gin
-Dash Angostura Bitters
-Tonic Water
-Lime Wedge

Pink Gin and Tonic

Ah, much better. This is a great way to follow that last cocktail, which just got way too sweet. If your cookies aren’t coming out right, yo should add salt. Similarly, if your cocktails aren’t coming out right, you should add bitters. This rule applies here, and I think I’ve found a better version of the classic G&T.

This drink, by the way, is actually a combination of two drinks: Pink Gin (also known as Gin and Bitters) and the classic Gin and Tonic. It’s interesting, and it works very well.

The bitters add a small amount of very welcome flavor, making this simple cocktail a lot more interesting. As always, you should never overdo the bitters, but they really add a lot here. This drink is very complex and very tasty. Plus, it’s a good way to make yourself feel like a classy motherfucker.

Make exactly how you expect to make it.

 

Cilantro Gin and Tonic
-2 oz Gin
-Tonic Water
-4 Cilantro Sprigs
-2 Lime Wedges

Cilantro Gin and Tonic

So, we’ve gone from sweet and generic to bitter and complex to weird and weird. This drink is apparently a real thing and not just something the Internet made up, which was convenient for me because I made some salsa this weekend, and then there was a lot of cilantro left over. Then my wife made some guacamole this weekend, and then there was a lot of cilantro left over. So then I decided to make this drink. And yet there is still a shit ton of cilantro left over. I know it would make it cost even less, but they should really sell cilantro in smaller bunches.

Anyway, this drink is fucking weird. It’s like Gary Busey in a rocks glass. They say that cilantro is one of those foods that you either love or hate. I guess I’m the exception to the rule who happens to be neutral about it. In any case, the aroma of this drink is nice, but the flavor itself is just plain odd. I suppose that the cilantro works with the gin well enough. I think the bottom line is that if you like cilantro, you’ll like this. If you don’t, then you already know that you should stay away.

If you want to enjoy this confusing concoction, start by muddling the gin, three cilantro sprigs, and one lime wedge in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Shake it some without ice, and then strain it over ice into your glass. Fill with tonic water, stir gently, and garnish with a cilantro sprig and lime wedge.

 

Grandma’s Salty Dog
-2 oz Gin
-Grapefruit Juice
-Tonic Water
-Salt

Grandma's Salty Dog

I guess it’s a stereotype that old ladies drink gin. I don’t think my grandmothers did. In fact, now that I think about it, I don’t think I ever saw any of my grandparents drink liquor. Not once. But I did see them drink — it was wine, mostly, as one might expect. And if we’re talking about my grandmother, with one of them I think about her drinking not gin, but single-serving size bottles of white zinfandel. The really cheap kind. That she also kept next to her bed. As my fiction writing teacher in college would say, that’s a telling and specific detail.

My grandmother drinking those small bottles of white zin is one of my favorite memories of her, and I’m sure that if you remember your grandmother drinking gin (especially if it happens to be straight from single-serving size bottles), it is one of your favorite memories of her. In that vein, I hope this cocktail does her justice, because it’s definitely kind of old-persony. I mean, gin and grapefruit juice. Is there anything more octogenarian than that?

This cocktail is also a combination of two other cocktails: the Salty Dog (which is traditionally made with vodka, not gin) and the Gin and Tonic. Just a nice little bit of information for you.

In any case, this is the first time I’ve tasted grapefruit juice and not hated it. As with a regular Salty Dog, the salt helps to cut the acidity. Or astringency. Or something. The salt makes it more bearable, okay? Don’t make me use fancy words. The flavors of the gin and tonic water also balnce the grapefruit juice out well, ultimately resulting in a very pleasant drink.

If you want to experience it, first use the grapefruit juice and salt to rim the glass. Then fill it with ice, add the gin, and then top with equal parts tonic water and equal parts grapefruit juice. Enjoy!

 

Denouement
What I’ve learned today is really that I shouldn’t spend so much time away from you guys. I’ll be back next week, and the week after that, and so on. I hope you all will be, too.


Ringing in the New Year: Champagne Cocktails

Well, folks, it’s almost 2013. What are you doing for New Year’s? Do you have someone to kiss at midnight? If so, then maybe this post will give you something nice to share with your sweetheart. If not, then maybe this post will help you forget how lonely you are.

This post is dedicated to New Year’s, and as such I’m exploring various champagne cocktails. Well, fine, sparkling wine cocktails for all you purists. In any case, since New Year’s is often a time when people break out the bubbly, I thought this would be a good opportunity to break out the bubbly for myself. Wine cocktails aren’t as popular as ones based around liquor, and you should by no means be using expensive wine for these cocktails. That being said, wine cocktails are still pretty great if done right.

So, since the world didn’t end last week, let’s celebrate that it’s going to continue into a new year next week. Here are eight cocktails based around sparkling wine.

 

Classic Champagne Cocktail
-2 to 3 dashes Angostura Bitters
-1 Sugar Cube
-White Sparkling Wine
-Lemon Twist

Classic Champagne Cocktail

Classic Champagne Cocktail

Here’s a very simple and straightforward sparkling wine cocktail. Bitters, sugar, and wine. That’s all you need. Well, the lemon peel is important too. The garnishes in these drinks are actually extremely noticeable and add quite a lot. So, if possible, don’t skip the garnishes this time around.

In any case, this drink is yummy, a little spicy from the bitters, and watching the bubbles rise from the sugar cube is really cool. The bubbles, by the way, help the sugar dissolve, much in the same way alcohol helps you to forget that you’ve wasted another year. Though, without some stirring, it’s unlikely that all of the sugar will dissolve. But that’s not a huge deal.

Anyway, to make this, put the sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute, soak the cube in bitters, and top with champagne. Twist the lemon peel over the drink, rim the glass with it, and drop it in.

Enjoy, and move on to some more bubbly.

 

French 75
-1 oz Gin
-1/2 oz Lemon Juice
-1 tsp Sugar
-White Sparkling Wine
-Orange Twist

French 75

French 75

This is another popular and classic champagne cocktail. It’s pretty good, too. It’s full of citrus and bubbles and goodness, though it might be a little tarter than you’re expecting. But it’s good, and it’s a classic for a reason.

Also, it’s really pretty with the orange peel. And classy. If you’re throwing a classy New Year’s party, then this might make your guests feel sophisticated and cultured — “French” is in the name of this cocktail, after all. This is a good idea, because there’s really nothing better than feeling classy while you get shitfaced. This is probably a rule the French learned from the Russians.

So, shake the gin, lemon juice, and sugar with ice and strain it into a champagne flute. Top it off with champagne, and garnish with the orange twist as you would with a lemon twist.

 

Blue Champagne
-1 oz Vodka or Gin
-1/4 oz Blue Curacao
-1/4 oz Lemon Juice
-1 Splash Triple Sec
-White Sparkling Wine

Blue Champagne

Blue Champagne

If you’re having a less than classy party, it’s time to bring out the blue booze, isn’t it? For whatever reason, people love bright blue drinks, just like they love bright blue pills. Break this out at a party and people will likely go nuts. Hell, you could probably just add blue food coloring to champagne, and you’d automatically be the life of the party. People are easy to please, no?

However, this is probably a better drink to have for a party, since the shot of hard liquor will make people happier. This drink tastes really good, but don’t let the blue fool you — it’s not particularly sweet, at least not for a drink that uses blue curacao (depending on what sparkling wine you use, of course). This will surprise some guests if they’re looking for something sweet. And, let’s face it, if they want something blue, they probably want something sweet. I don’t know why that’s the rule, but such is the way of things.

Making this drink is as easy as anything, though, so you might as well make it for happy-go-lucky party guests. Pour the first four ingredients into a champagne flute and then top with the wine. Drink and enjoy.

 

Chicago
-Lemon Wedge
-Sugar
-1 ½ oz Brandy
-1/4 tsp Cointreau (or Triple Sec)
-2 dashes Angostura Bitters
-White Sparkling Wine

Chicago

Chicago

Oh, this drink. This is the drink that my fiancee tried and said, “Tastes like old man.” That about sums it up. That about sums about any brandy drink, come to think of it. I guess if you like to lick old men, then this drink might be for you. If not, then I’m glad you’re still a valuable member of society, and I’m going to recommend against this drink.

This drink is pretty heavy on the brandy. I don’t like brandy, and this drink did not change my opinion of it. With the sugared rim it’s pretty easy to swallow, but it’s still brandy, and brandy is still gross — still a step above Scotch, but still gross. If you like brandy, you’ll probably like this. If you don’t like brandy, you’re not going to like this.

Though as much as I deride this drink, it is quite complex and is worth something in it’s own right. I just hate brandy, so its merits were lost on me. Perhaps they will not be lost on you.

To make this drink, start by rimming a white wine glass with the lemon wedge and sugar. Then shake the brandy, Cointreau or triple sec, and bitters with ice. Strain it into the prepared glass and top with the wine. Try to gulp it down and enjoy.

Very thankfully moving on.

 

French Champagne Cocktail
-1 Sugar Cube
-2 dashes Angostura Bitters
-1/2 oz Crème de Cassis
-White Sparkling Wine

French Champagne Cocktail

French Champagne Cocktail

There’s nothing particularly French about this as far as I can tell, so perhaps the name is a misnomer. Even so, this cocktail isn’t half bad. It’s sweet, it’s a little fruity, and it’s damn nice. If you’re spending New Year’s with that special someone and no one else, this could be a great romantic drink to enjoy with your honey before, at, and after midnight.

I also appreciate this cocktail because crème de cassis is a great and delicious ingredient, but it isn’t used enough. And when it is used, it is used in very small amounts (though probably for good reasons, since it’s so cloying). This drink uses a full half ounce of the stuff, which is as most of it as I’ve ever seen of it in a drink. The crème de cassis is a great addition here, and this drink is all the better for it.

Put the sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute, soak it with the bitters, add the crème de cassis, and slowly top with the sparkling wine.
This drink is great, but let’s try a slightly classier version of it.

 

Kir Imperiale
-1 (small) splash Chambord
-White Sparkling Wine
-Lemon Twist

Kir Imperiale

Kir Imperiale

If you want to make the more popular Kir Royale, replace the Chambord with crème de cassis, and use a little less of it. However, I wanted it to taste like raspberries, so I made this version, instead. I also increased the amount of Chambord. The recipe I have says to use a teaspoon, but I wanted the raspberry flavor to come out more. But, if you do increase it from a teaspoon, don’t overdo it. You don’t want it to be too sweet.

And if you’re making a Kir Royale, the suggested amount of crème de cassis is a half teaspoon, so if you’re using crème de cassis, be even more conservative about increasing the amount of liqueur.

Anyway, this drink is nice and full of delicious raspberry flavor. Anyone who loves Chambord will love this. Since it’s such a small amount of Chambord, it doesn’t affect the flavor in a huge way, but it smooths it out and mutes astringency of the champagne. Even in small amounts, it’s an important ingredient and makes for an interesting drink.

Rim the glass with the twist, drop it in, add the Chambord, and top with sparkling wine.

Moving on!

 

Champagne Fizz
-1 oz Gin
-1 oz Lemon Juice
-1/2 oz Simple Syrup
-Sparkling White Wine

Champagne Fizz

Champagne Fizz

I guess fizzes are more of summer-type drinks, but whatever. Booze is booze, and sparkling wine is sparkling wine. Drink what you want, no matter the season, mate.

So this is a good little drink, with the old sweet-and-sour blueprint helping it out. The gin is not that noticeable in taste, but it definitely adds to the aroma and to the aftertaste. It lends some very nice notes to the drink, but not overpowering notes at all. This drink remains, at the end of the day, a champagne drink, and that’s exactly what it tastes like. If you enjoy gin or fizzes, then try this one out. It’s simple to make and complex to taste. And pretty damn good.

Pour the first three ingredients into a champagne flute and top with sparkling wine. Simple enough, right?

Last drink!

 

Irish Champagne Cocktail
-1 Sugar Cube
-2 dashes Angostura Bitters
-1 oz Irish Whiskey
-White Sparkling Wine
-Lemon Twist

Irish Champagne Cocktail

Irish Champagne Cocktail

And here’s the whiskey. Oh whiskey. I have recently become friends with bourbon (to the surprise of everyone, including myself), but I haven’t become such friends with Irish whiskey yet. However, Irish whiskey is really smooth and easy to drink, and it’s not Scotch, so it’s not completely awful. So, even though I haven’t developed a taste for Irish whiskey yet, it’s not the worst thing ever, and in a cocktail like this, it works alright.

This drink is really just the first drink I made but with a shot of Jameson’s or Bushmill’s or whatever Irish whiskey you prefer. So it’s a little sweet, a little spicy, and it has a good whiskey kick to it. It’s also a lot more alcoholic, so that’s really fun, especially at midnight.

You could probably try this with other whiskeys, but other whiskeys aren’t necessarily as smooth as Irish whiskey. Bourbon, Scotch, and rye would definitely be a lot more noticeable in such a cocktail. Canadian whisky might be appropriate, though.

In any case, put the sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute, soak it in bitters, add the whiskey, and fill the glass with the wine. Garnish with the twist because you’re a fancy motherfucker, and get drunk off of your spiked wine.

 

Denouement

Happy New Year’s, folks. Don’t drink to much, and either stay where you are or designate a driver. See you next year! (Bet you haven’t heard that joke before.)


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