Red Hot Ale. I was skeptical about this one, but it's strangely addictive and kind of amazing. A combination of warm dark beer, cognac, lemon and orange. It has a lovely, deep, almost sour-but-not overtone, but then all this complex stuff goes on in the background.
Plus, serving is suggested in a teacup, which opens up a whole new category of vintage tableware around here. I have lots of different teacups that I don't use nearly enough, so I'm excited about that.
My usual faux-working buddy Jenna is to thank for this. She loaned me a cocktail book that her publisher is working on, and it has a whole chapter on heating drinks with pokers. Yes, pokers. Like when you actually stick a hot metal rod into the cup, right? .
However, I don't own a metal rod that I was comfortable putting over my gas stove until it turned ORANGE, and I was even less likely to purchase an heating element. I decided a small pot was still OK for this. I still may check out the poker bit, but I have to figure out what I can use that won't burn my house down or scare the shit out of my kids and husband. I have a record (remember the dining room table/iron incident?). It concerns them when I play with fire.
Making the drink in a small pot worked just fine, but I'm left wondering how much better it may get if I figure out this poker thing. I bet that heating the ends of a pair of BBQ tongs could do it....
For now, this worked. I got a nice big flame, kept it on for just a few moments on high and poured straight into the teacup as soon as tiny bubbles appeared at the edges.
If you try this, note that the heat intensifies any bitterness in the beer, so they suggest something malty and not hoppy - Ommegang Abbey Ale was recommended in the book. Plus, the fructose in your syrup will carmelize, which adds flavor but lessens the sweetness, so add a little more syrup if you want. You might need to play with balance just a bit.
RED HOT ALE
1 oz cognac
3 oz malty but not hoppy Abbey Ale
.25 oz simple syrup
.25 fresh lemon juice
3 dashes of orange bitters
a pinch of salt
1 orange twist
Mix all but the orange peel and poke (or as I did, pour it in tiny pot and put over heat for a sec). Serve in a teacup and twist the orange peel over the top before adding.
The book is called Liquid Intelligence and the author is Dave Arnold. It focuses on different techniques and the science behind the perfect cocktail, so he does a ton of experimenting with heat and cold and ice and water and all kinds of things. If you are a longtime reader, you know I'm not a perfectionist about these things, and I'd rather have my drink than spend hours figuring out if it could be just a tiny bit better. However, the recipes are interesting and some of his techniques don't take too long to figure out. This could be fun to play with, so expect a few more. (Until Jenna wants her book back.)
There's plenty going on in my knitting world as well, but having just come off of an intense stint of knitting and editing, plus another amazing weekend at Slater Mill, I'm giving myself a little break here. I'm getting ready for a few launches, playing with accessories, and progressing with my Rockwell.
Next up (as in next week), I've got a sweater for the men in your lives....
It's called Zacapa, which is my husband's favorite rum.