XYZ and so forth

Okay, barflies! I’m going to wrap up this little trip through the Alphahol in one fell swoop of a post for a couple of reasons.

a) we’re at the “difficult” letters, and
b) I wanna talk about the Zombie before Halloween instead of 2 weeks after.

So indulge me: 3 cocktails in rapid fire!

XYZ Cocktail

1.5 oz Rum of your choice
3/4 oz Cointreau
1/4 oz Lemon juice

Shake over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Whew! This one is strong–of course, it’s mostly booze. If you like a softer drink, try this with caution, and because there is so little to work with substituting a generic Triple Sec for the Cointreau is going to result in a sub par Xperience.

Your Favorite Aunt

1 oz Gin
1 oz Brandy
1 oz Sweet vermouth
1/2 oz Lemon juice
1/2 oz Simple syrup

Shake over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Discovered this one while trying out sweet vermouth recipes and it’s actually quite tasty. It is, again, high on the alcohol and short of mixers but it’s a good sipping drink.

And, finally…

The Zombie

1 oz White rum
1 oz Amber rum
1 oz Dark rum
3/4 oz Lime juice
3/4 oz Pineapple juice
1/2 oz Apricot brandy
1/2 oz Papaya juice
1/2 oz Simple syrup
1/2 151-proof Rum

Combine all but the 151 in a cocktail shaker over ice and shake vigorously–as if you were running from a zombie–then pour into a very tall glass (don’t strain). Float the 151 on top of the drink and garnish elaborately–a spring of mine, lime wheels and cherry all dusted with confectioners sugar; orange and pineapple slices or some other tropical fruit. Serve with a straw–sipping from the top will give you a mouthful of the 151 and not much else, not the desired result.

A bit complex but the taste is worth it. If you have trouble finding papaya juice, puree or nectar (as I did) juicing your own isn’t as difficult as it seems. Sure, it’s not like a citrus fruit that’s juice is easily available, but if you don’t have an electric juicer, here’s how I got it done.

Juicing a Papaya

  1. Slice the papaya in half, lengthwise, and remove the black seeds and any light-colored membranes.
  2. Slice each half into quarters to make it easier to separate the pink flesh from the skin and lighter rind.
  3. Cut up the long slices and place in a decent-sized bowl with high sides.
  4. Crush the fruit with a muddler, pestle or wooden spoon until no longer solid.
  5. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a smaller bowl, working the mash gently with a spoon to get the maximum juice out.

Now, I got about an ounce of juice from a quarter of an 8-inch papaya and it was a bit pulpy so, as I sipped the resulting drink, did get a bit separated but it didn’t make the drink at all unpleasant to imbibe. I’ve read that you can also substitute orange juice but I think I’d go with mango juice (something generally easier to locate) before going with the more mundane OJ.

Of course, this year’s Pumpkin Party is going to be a brunch, so I think I’ll leave the Zombies off the guest list. Instead, for those who wish to imbibe, I’ll be serving Bloody Marys, Mi-moan-sas, and Boo-linis. Have a good holiday, folks, stay safe and drink responsibly.

Umbrella Drinks

So much for the cold snap! While it may be snowing in parts of the US, in Florida it was triple digits and the only way to make that sort of heat bearable is with something cold and slushy. Enter the frozen beverages most often served with a cute little umbrella perched on top.

I don’t think it’s out of line to claim that the Pina Colada is the most often thought-of drink that comes with one of those petite parasols and, when we were getting ready for our cruise (yes, I’m totally milking that trip for every ounce of happiness and material possible) I read about a drink called the Miami Vice: half Pina Colada, half Strawberry Daiquiri. Yum!

Now, most folks would just pull out the rum and the pre-made mixes to go with the ice and the blender, but fresh is almost always better so here’s a version of each that will put you in a tropical mood no matter what your climate:

Pina Colada for 1

4 oz Pineapple juice
2 oz coconut cream
1/2 c pineapple chunks
2 Tbsp shredded or grated coconut
1 oz Pineapple rum
1 oz Dark rum
1 oz cream or half-and-half
2 c ice

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

Strawberry Frozen Daiquiri for 1

1 c Strawberries, hulled and halved if fresh
1 oz White rum
1 oz Dark rum
2 c ice

Combine and blend until smooth.

Now, a few notes. Coconut cream is not the same as coconut milk, you may have to search for the cream. If you use just the coconut milk that you’d normally cook with the drink will be lacking in a bit of flavor and smoothness but it can be done (using coconut rum might help the flavor aspect). If strawberries are out of season, use frozen, or if they just don’t have a full flavor, adding a shot of strawberry pucker–yes, really–can help the overall flavor and it’s still better than using a mix.

To make the Miami Vice, pour the Pina Colada and Strawberry Daiquiri simultaneously into a tall glass. Garnish with a pineapple chunk on one side, a strawberry on the other, and–of course–a cute little umbrella, if you have one handy.