exploration, Recipe

Booze Review

A little review of a couple of fun drinks. I was amusing myself… 

I went to look for a bottle of something highly recommended, which the local liquor store (nice big one with good selection, relevant later) tells me has been discontinued. Since I was there, and we don’t actually drink nor shop for booze all that often, I poked around. I enjoy rum, for mixing, and was out, so I picked up what I thought was a nice dark rum. 

I’d also been looking for a grapefruit-and-rhubarb gin, which they flat didn’t have, but when I spotted a blackberry and raspberry gin, I impulsed that right into my hands. The tonic water came along because we don’t keep it in the liquor cabinet (ok, it’s a shelf. I’m planning to set up a proper cabinet at the new house, but that’s a different day). Like I said, we don’t actually drink often. 

It’s fun, though. Alcohol has some interesting properties when it comes to making solutions, and it’s a great way to pull out volatile molecules you can’t get with water. I make my own vanilla extract, have made mint extract, and was dabbling in coffee extracts and nuts before the last move – I will again once we’re settled and I can have my little jars hanging about without being in the way. In the meantime…

I’d thought I disliked gin until a couple of years ago at a tasting, when I was introduced to Hendrick’s, and especially their Midsummer’s Dream. It’s a wildflower meadow in a bottle. That’s the lovely thing about the alcohol solutions. They can capture scents as well as flavors, through the ability to extract and hold the volatile oils we think of as scents. Ever since, I’ve been wanting to dabble with gin again, not the ordinary stuff, though, as I really don’t care for it. Too much juniper berry, and it tastes medicinal to me. Bombay Bramble, though, lured me with the promise of blackberries and raspberries and no added sugar. 

The First Reader was amused when I came home with my paper sack of bottles. He didn’t object when I told him what I wanted to do, though. Taste! I put about four ice cubes, an ounce of the Bramble, and about three ounces of a nice tonic water all into a glass. He took a sip. His eyebrows went up. 

“This calls for the balcony.”

It’s an adult lemonade. The tart and bitter are front and center, but not too much. It’s not at all sweet, but light and refreshing and could go down far too easily! I sipped at mine, mindful that we’d not yet had dinner. We also tried it straight, and it’s a warm, smooth, berries in a glass. Winter for that, the First Reader declared. The tonic mixer for summertime.

The other bottle, of Beach Bar Red Head, is a macadamia-flavored rum. It is a dark rum, but not in the sense I was thinking – I like a dark spiced rum. This is a deep purple-red color which is likely where the name comes from. And yes, the name is why I picked it. That, and I like macadamia nuts. 

It’s far too sweet and strongly flavored to drink on it’s own, at least for us. We both took a taste, looked at each other, and said ‘coffee.’ Which meant we had to make a pot, but it was totally worth it. A splash of this, cream, and coffee… well. That’s really, really nice. More strongly flavored than an Irish, but it’s good. The First Reader took a sip, looked thoughtful.

“You could put that in the caramel sauce.” 

Yes. Yes I really could. I could also use it in any recipe calling for almond extract, and probably many that call for vanilla. Different flavor than either, but it would be very interesting and I suspect very good.

These bottles will last a good long time! The last fun booze was a German Blackberry Liqueur and that’s going on six months with a quarter of the bottle remaining. We’ve got bottles that moved from OH to TX and are about to be moved (Or already have been moved) once again. Like I said, I’ll be setting up a cabinet. And sharing with whomever drops by the house and has the inclination to let me play with a drink for them. It’s a lot of fun. 

4 thoughts on “Booze Review

  1. All good except for the rhubarb.

    Years ago I tried a finger’s width slice of strawberry-rhubarb pie and about an hour later I was hive covered and bright red.
    I’m not willing to have that experience again.

    A while ago I changed my views on gin from, “I don’t like gin.” to, “I don’t like cheap gin.” And I think it’s what you said about the juniper.

  2. Ever tried Patxaran? It’s delicious, but might be hard to find in the US.

    What about absinthe? If you haven’t, avoid the stuff from the Czech Republic, which is typically a wormwood bomb, incredibly bitter. Stick with Swiss or French for the best absinthe. Although Spain makes a red absinthe, the color comes from the cochineal insect (and gives the stuff its informal nickname, “Beetlejuice”).

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