Monday, February 17, 2014

Ginger Kumquat Caipirinha

This months Mixology Monday isn't hot drinks for some reason. I keep waiting for warm cocktails to be a theme but all my toddy practice is just for me. Apparently, not everyone is drinking hot cocktails because their city is ridiculously cold and getting tons of snow. Luckily it only takes one warm cocktail to get comfortable inside and then you can make drinks with ice again. So the theme this month is sours. It's being hosted by ginhound and you can check out all the entries here. A broad, classic category, better suited for warmer weather imo, but a fine collection of cocktails nonetheless. Now, how can we mix things up a bit? Kumquats are sour.

I love weird produce. Kumquats are silly. They have a foolish name, a ridiculous strong flavor that is a combination of most flavors and so tiny for a citrus! They are made backwards also. The skin is sweet and the inside is sour and somewhere its bitter too, I suppose the pith, like normal. At the grocery store I enjoy making people try them for the first time. It's like making a baby eat a lemon. Hilarious!

So I bought some while they're in season and local produce is nearly non existent anyway. Problem is, I never really want to eat more than one. So that tiny pint takes forever to finish. So I thought I should try making some drinks out of them. My search was lazy and all the drinks seemed dumb that I came upon. I just searched for kumquat cocktail though. I considered making a kumquat simple syrup because a sweet/sour/bitter syrup seemed like something my fridge was missing and then they wouldn't all go bad at least.

forgot the lime for the pic
Then when I was about to make the syrup, I realized that the lazy version of that syrup was to just muddle them with sugar and make a caipirinha. I could call it a kumquaipirinha and be ridiculous with portmanteaus as I love to do. I can't call it that of course because no one ever searches the internet for kumquaipirinha and my slow building knowledge of search engine optimization suggest I should label things with titles that people will look for or no one will ever find my blog. Anyways, I thought I was so clever, how was I the first to think of this? I wasn't, obviously. There's plenty of recipes that seem better than my first attempt; so now Im going to have to try to tweak my recipe even though I liked it.
super juicy after muddling

Oh yeah- Cachaca is a Brazilian sugar cane syrup liquor that is barrel aged. Its a little funky, especially for being a sort of light colored rum. Although I am somewhat ignorant, I think Cachaca is closer to Batavia Arrack than rum. Rum is usually made from molasses not cane syrup. Even the clear jawns are usually molasses based and then distilled until they are clear. The only cachaca I ever see in Philly is Pitu. I bought one in California called Ypioca and its good. Also, funky rum is delicious and you should open up to it. (Thanks Smith & Cross!)


ginger kumquat caipirinha
Ginger Kumquat Caipirinha
2 1/2 oz cachaca
1/2 canton ginger liquer
2 tsp sugar
4 kumquats
1/4 lime

Muddle kumquat, lime and sugar in a mixing glass. Add canton and cachaca and ice. Shake vehemently for a bit. Strain into an old fashioned glass with ice. Garnish with a sliced kumquat on the glass or a lime twist or a lime wedge or some candied ginger, as suits your fancy.

Or if your lazy or into sloppy boy cocktails, muddle the whole thing in the glass and add ice. After all, caipirinha translates as country bumpkin/ hillbilly/ redneck; its not supposed to be fancy. For real though, if you own a mixing glass and a strainer it will be greatly improved if your drink isn't all pulpy and gross.

This is super seasonal and a different twist on a sour because its bitter. It is well balanced by sweet and sour but the bitterness adds an interesting complexity to the drink. You should try this all while you can still find kumquats, if you can find kumquats at all. The season is over soon and I think turning them into a drink is one of their best uses. It looks like orange juice but tastes like funky/ sour/ sweet/ bitter/ interesting deliciousness.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fire Cider

Fire Cider is apple cider vinegar infused with spicy stuff and used as a tonic/ preventative/ cold medicine. I have been taken it every day since December and I haven't gotten sick this year. Perhaps I've just been lucky though. Maybe fire cider makes you more lucky. It's spicy but delicious. It is medicine I look forward to taking. There are various slightly different recipes on the internet but basically you chop up every spicy ingredient you have and let it sit in vinegar for a month, while shaking it up every day.  Here's how I made it, based off of mountain rose herbs recipe:

fire cider ingredientsFire Cider

1 qt apple cider vinegar (4 C)

1 onion, chopped
1 head of garlic, crushed to remove skins
Lots of ginger, about 1/2 C after microplane                 zested
2 (carrot sized) horseradish, peeled, then grated           on a box grater
{whoops!! that was burdock! i realized when i found the real horseradish. i thought it was just old and weak...}
4 small hot dried red chilis, crushed
1 lemon, zested with citrus zester and juiced with         a reamer and strained
1Tbl turmeric powder
2 Tbl dried rosemary

1/4 C - 1/2 C raw local honey

apple cider vinegar infusion

Put all ingredients except the honey into a half gallon mason jar and cover with raw apple cider vinegar, like Braggs. Eating unpasteurized vinegar is a powerful restorative tonic in its own right. If using a metal lid, cover the jar first with waxed paper so the metal doesn't corrode from shaking up the jar. Let sit for a month. Shake every day. Strain into a clean jar and add 1/4 C or more raw local honey. Fill up dropper bottles. Take a dropperful every morning and every night as a preventative tonic.

I'll report back when I taste it in a month or so. The burdock may have made it quite bitter but we'll see.