Bubble tea is one of those culinary miracles like unicorn foam that you’d swear required the technology of NASA to create and couldn’t be made at home, but astonishingly this is false (provided you can find tapioca pearls, and if you’re the kind of person who drinks bubble tea without pearls I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW YOU). It is permissible to make it with booze, and if I can prevail upon a chef pal we shall have a recipe forthcoming. There’s a recipe for matcha bubble tea here.
And we’ve also locally-sourced a quiz which tells you which kind of bubble tea you are. I prefer mango, myself, but if almond I must be, so be it.
You Are Almond Bubble Tea
You are an ideas person, and you are always thinking of new ways to change the world.
Your taste is somewhat unconventional, although you don’t like anything too far out.You have a reputation for being quirky, and at times, you make sure to fuel it.
You’re definitely adverse to following the crowd. You want to do things your way!
If you are, as yet, unaware of what bubble tea is, it’s basically a fruit-flavoured, ultra-fine milkshake with tapioca pearls added after blending (jujube-like bubbles you need a pinkie-thick straw to slurp up) and it’s a cup full of fun. How many Dr Who references can you get out of a quotidian beverage, after all?
Serve in a tall, clear novelty glass so people can see, and play with, the pearls. Here are some suggestions, also good for any tall, iced drink, particularly those like the tequila sunrise (no hate!) that have interesting colour/ingredient gradients. You can also use these for plain old highballs, but you will risk accusations of frivolity. Then again, vodka soda drinkers deserve all the scorn they get if you axe me.
Fun and retro. The colour WILL get in the way of certain fruit bubble teas, but for others it’ll be an enhancement.
My favorite. Just crazy enough.
Fun optical games to be played here with this many faceted surfaces.
Very old-school. Maximum irony points for serving bubble tea, or boozy bubble tea, therein.
Clean, clear, lets the beauty of the drink shine through.
Thermal double-walled glass is maybe better for drinks made with crushed ice, but still shows off a good-looking beverage without letting it get tepid.
More retro, tiki fun.
We luv us some texture in a good quality glass, and this has all that plus a pleasingly hedonistic shape.
Because who wants to go through the day totally straight? I ask yez.
If, improbably, you were to ask the Manolo, “Manolo, what are your two favorite utensils,” he would reply, “The french press and the cocktail shaker!”
The French press and the cocktail shaker are not merely artifacts of beverage production, but exemplars of civilized life. The proper use of either of them force upon us the sort of ritual of preparation, the tiny tea ceremony, whose orders we must follow exactly if we hope to achieve perfection.
In the morning, it is the heating of the water, the grinding of the fairtrade coffee (from Ringtons), the pouring of the water to the proper level, the stirring of the pot, the placing of the lid, and then the waiting, three minutes of anticipation. Only, at the very last, is the plunging of the press, done so carefully, so deliberately, with such satisfaction.
In the afternoon, the ritual is different but similar. The ice, the gin, the whisper of vermouth, the vigorous shaking, up and down, up and down, and then the celebratory decanting, the careful, deliberate pouring of the elixir into our glass. Ayyy! Keep out the ice!
What can be more civilized than this? Done alone or with friends, the proper employment of the French press and the cocktail shaker are marks of civilization, tokens that we have triumphed over our primitive past.
“But, Manolo,” you may ask, “what of the tea pot?”
It has it’s place, the Manolo cannot deny. The drinking of tea is the civilized act, although, too often, the tea pot is rendered frou-frou fussy, with its baroque patterns and garish colors.
The colorful teapot lacks the solemn, pleasant dignity of the French press and cocktail shaker, which makes the latter two the superior objects, and their employment the superior act.
And so, dear friends, raise your glass and hoist your mug to the French press and the cocktail shakers, two of mankind’s greatest inventions.
Cheers to this! In the summer, I can’t get enough of cold soups, and year round I can’t get enough of gin, so for me this might be the very best recipe of the entire year.
From SomeoneLeftTheCakeOutInTheRain on WordPress.com:
When you look at a cucumber, what do you think? Perfect for tea sandwiches? Great marinated with vinegar and dill? Over the eyes for depuffing? Something inappropriate for sharing on this site???
I look at a luscious summer cucumber and think, “Man, they’d be awesome mixed with gin and thrown into a soup.” Just me?
During this point of our vicious Summer, finding big, beautiful, and delicious cucumbers should be a super easy task. Now all you have to do is round up some other suspects and get them together.
The botanicals, rose, cucumber, and coriander notes of Hendrick’s make it an obvious choice for this soup. It will be boozy off the bat, so I suggest letting it meld and marinate over night. Once it has calmed down, the gin brings the cucumber and avocado to a whole nother level.
Cucumber Hendricks Soup Shooters
2 large cucumbers, peeled and seeded
1 small ripe avocado
2 scallions sliced, white and green parts
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons honey, or 2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons Sriracha
2/3 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup Hendrick’s gin
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Now, head on over to the blog to get the instructions. Happy drinking…uh, eating. Uh. Souping.
We’re big Bulleit fans around here, having met the patriarch of the clan at a bourbon dinner a couple of years ago at Clive’s. He’s a true Kentucky raconteur: if I recall aright he said that in Kentucky it is generally considered polite to ask if people are related, but not considered polite to ask just exactly how closely…you get the idea.
Not to mention, it’s an excellent sippin’ likker. Not too rich for seconds, not too light for a single, and not too sweet for your liver or palate, it is excellent by itself as well as mixed. But since we’re all about the ginger lately, we’re going to show you how to make an infused ginger bourbon cocktail today, the Magic Bulleit, which we stole from Whiskybros.com.
First of all, infuse your bourbon. Well, duh; you have to do this several days beforehand. They recommend three days, but I’d give it up to a week, myself. They recommend an inch of peeled, sliced ginger per 8 ounces of bourbon, meaning about three inches for a regular bottle. Slice it no thicker than a quarter inch, please, but don’t dice it. We’re not making stir-fry here. Just pop the ginger in the bottle (if you have to pour some out to get the ginger in, I’m trusting you’ll know what to do with it, yes?) put the top back on, stick it in the fridge, and wait. I, personally, think sticking it in the fridge is counter-productive, but then I don’t want to poison any of you, so use your own judgement.
Now what? Pour out the booze and put it in a different bottle. Or get all the ginger out of that bottle somehow, if you’re contrarian. The idea is, you have to separate them after their time together is up; it’s like summer romance. Toxic if it goes on too long.
Then you have what it takes to make a whole party’s worth of cockails: to make each, build the following in a glass over ice.
- 1 Jigger (45ml) Bulleit Bourbon
- 1 Tbsp (15ml) Bulleit Ginger Infusion (below)
- 1.5 Tsp (7.5ml) Brown simple Syrup
- Dash Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters
- Orange Zest
- Garnish with an orange flag
an orange flag being a nice-sized rectangular or diamond-shaped piece of zest (no white pith! this takes practice and a good cutter).
Cheers! We’ve a spotty track records when it comes to regular weekly features, but who can’t get behind this: A cocktail for Friday! This is the Whistleblower Cocktail, which was created to celebrate the 40th birthday of My Future Boyfriend, Julian Assange. It was created by Jay Jones at Market by Jean-Georges at the Shangri La hotel in Vangroover, and it is every bit as tasty as the man himself. Which man? Well, that would be telling.
Judge for yourself.
In related news, when did I start fancying facial hair? News to me.
And here’s the recipe for the cocktail. For the recipes for the two men I’ve shamelessly objectified above, I refer you to their respective parents.
1.5 oz Imperia (Russian Premium Vodka, made from Winter Wheat)
.25 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil (French liqueur, made by maceration of Brazilian bananas)
.5 oz Renegade Rum Company, Limited Edition Panama Rum 1995
-distilled in Panama (in honour of Julian’s escape to Ecuadorian sanctuary, if only in the embassy; there wasn’t any Ecuadorian rum at the bar)
-aged 13 years in Bourbon casks
-enhanced in Chateau Margaux casks
-bottled at Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay, Scotland in 2008
-limited release of 1080 bottles
4 dashes Fee Brothers Gin-Barrel Aged Orange Bitters
-classic orange bitters aged in cask which had formerly aged Old Tom Gin (well, who wouldn’t be bitter after all he’s gone through, eh?)
1 Fresh Lime Peel Zest
-stir, strain, add the zest – serve it all in a beautiful coupe.
This is a lovely, citrusy cocktail that is smoothed out by the rum in approximately the way your favorite diva is mellowed by sitting next to a stoner and absorbing herbs by osmosis.
Coupe glasses are my new favorite thing. They may not be the greatest for Champagne, but they are lovely for cocktails that are not Martinis, and there are some beautiful shapes in amazing crystal available now. Here’s a selection.
My favorite is this Orrefors Crystal Divine Coupe. Doesn’t as far as I know come with the wedding rings, alas. It has beautiful lines, and will concentrate the scent of an aromatic cocktail like this at least somewhat thanks to the inward curve. Mostly aesthetic, though. If you want glasses engineered for optimal drinking, you want the Difference line.
This Schott Zwiesel Tritan Crystal Champagne Saucer, which comes in a set of six, is more old-fashioned, but some people prefer its lines. Some people.
I’m quite fond of the Chef & Sommelier Cabernet Coupe but possibly that’s just because I’m so used to seeing it everywhere. It IS ubiquitous, but it is nonetheless lovely, with its modern, angular dash.
Oh, Karl. Karl, Karl, Karl, what will we ever do with you? This is the Orrefors By Karl Lagerfeld Coupe and, god help us, it apparently comes in different COLOURS. Let me repeat: COLOURS. I can only think that Uncle Karl is trying to see what the public will swallow at $150 a stem. Whatever they’re drinking, it’s pretty strong, because I have candleholders from China that look exactly like this and cost me about $5 for four.
In any case, enjoy your Whistleblower cocktail. Now go out and leak something. Paris Hilton, put your underwear back on: we were not talking to you!
Well everything in this list is the Avengers, and if you do all of them, nothing will hurt.
Until the next morning.
A little background: I am proud of my country. We have invented many useful household items like the zipper, the electric kettle, and the lightbulb (yes, look it up: Edison bought the patent off two Maritimers). We have also invented some less useful, even possibly noxious things, among them Nickelback and the shooter.
This is a shot glass ostentatiously filled with boozy liquids, sometimes layered, sometimes artistically sculpted, like the Brain Hemorrhage. Always with a catchy name (it’s not the taste that sells these). Think of them as the redneck cousin of the pousse cafe. They are not ordered one at a time, but by the tray, usually by fratboys or those who wish they were fratboys.
Unfortunately, we can’t take credit for the Avengers (Canada trends much more DC than Marvel), that record-obliterating hommage to spandex underwear perverts. So we’ll consider this a hands-across-the-border kind of thing: a roundup of Avengers-themed shooters.
Notice the Black Widow is mysteriously missing. That’s okay, there’s a quite palatable cocktail by that name: just mix one, and pour it into four shotglasses. Instant shooters! Today’s woman doesn’t sit around waiting to be included in a shooter roundup: she just goes out and links herself up a stiff drink.
Now, the roundup, from EXP Bar Online on Tumblr. According to them you must do these in order: Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye, and Hulk. Have the ingredients well chilled in advance so they layer nicely.
Captain America: Doctor Erskine was going to share blueberry schnapps with him, but he couldn’t have it. Also due to his advanced tissues on his organs can’t get drunk. Hence this shot is the weakest.
Iron man: Tony stark has battled on and off with alcoholism so his tolerance for alcohol is high hence the high proof rum, yet he tries to not drink hence the grenadine to dilute the alcohol.
Thor: He is a god. He drinks after battle and can handle his alcohol, yet human alcohol seems to affect him more hence he is the middle.
Hawkeye: Just a normal human with unbelievable accuracy with all fire arms, bow being his weapon of choice. (p.s. Unlike the trailers we here at EXP bar on line do support Hawkeye and think he is bad ass)
Hulk: He’s the hulk, as he so eloquently has stated in the past. “HULK AM THE STRONGEST THERE IS!!!!!” hence he is last.
So there you have it the avengers shot challenge. enjoy.
And the recipes (for all these drinks, you build it in the glass, pousse-cafe style. Although if you call it that, someone will puke on your shoes.
Captain America: Grenadine, Blue curacao, Blueberry schnapps
Iron Man: Grenadine, Blue curacao, Black heart spiced rum
Thor: Wild turkey American honey, Citrus Vodka
Hawkeye: Grape Pucker, Captain Morgan: Tattoo
Hulk: Grape Pucker, Absinthe (we used NV)
Well, we had a half an hour of really amusing video (funny that, a vodka tasting and giddy video) but the tech gods decreed it was too powerful for this world and thus, erased it from our videorecorder (it had NOTHING to do with our own intake of vodka, we swear).
Undaunted, we are prepared to report on the blind taste test between the Polish potato vodka Luksusowa, and the Canadian vodkas Iceberg and the significantly more expensive Crystal Skull, repped by Canadian Celebrity (that’s not a misnomer!) Dan Akroyd.
The clear winner: Luksusowa. And not just because I had to pry it out of my unnamed friend’s hands at the end of the evening.
The rumour has always been that Iceberg vodka, which is inexpensive, is the same exact elixir as Crystal Skull vodka, which is the opposite.
This, my friends, is not the case.
What is the case, according to a taste test at Eat Drink Tweet, a wine and food social media conference?
Iceberg is better than Crystal Skull. So save yourself about $40 a bottle and get the cheap stuff.
The crowd favorite, however (and here I wish the video had come through, for it is PRICELESS) is Luksusowa. After the first round of tasting, in fact, people changed their seats to be closer to this Polish potato elixir, although it must be said, only people of Eastern European extraction.
Luksusowa is softer in the mouthfeel than any grain-based vodka, and the rep (who, full disclosure, sent me the bottle for tasting; I paid for the others) explained that potato vodkas are more expensive to produce than grain vodkas, but that the more complex carbohydrates, otherwise known as starches, are what account for the smoothness and roundness. You could mix this, and it would make any drink better. But for me, if I were to do shots of vodka in the traditional manner, this would be my choice. Yes, it’s strong, but my god, it’s silky too.
Iceberg, as I have mentioned in the past, is my favorite mixer vodka. It’s an excellent meeting of quality and price. In the blind tasting, every tester (and we are talking about people in the business of tasting, wine producers and retailers) guessed that this was the more expensive vodka. The reason was, its smoothness and its flavourlessness.
Crystal Skull vodka, however, is not without its adherents. Retailer Rod Phillips explained that it’s a top seller around Halloween, when the company comes out with an extra-large decanter. Frat boys and their decorators apparently favour the 1.5 liter size, something Phillips described as “an expensive candle holder.” Still, awesome.
The tasting notes on Crystal Skull are somewhat less complimentary. Uniformly, the testers described it as either medicinal or antiseptic. This reflects, Phillips says, the split in vodka schools between the flavoured and the “stripped of flavour” super-filtered varieties.
The victor of the taste test was Luksukowa, with Iceberg pushing second, and the most expensive entry coming in a distant third, with not one vote. Oddly the next day there were no leftovers of the first two for sober comparison and contrasting.