The Tailspin is another cocktail from the Death & Co Cocktail Book, this one from the Classic & Vintage section.

I realized while making it that it’s a Bijou (gin, sweet vermouth, green Chartreuse, orange bitters) with a Campari rinse.

At Death & Co, they make it relatively Chartreuse- (and vermouth-) heavy with 1.5/1/1 ratios. I am used to 2/1/1 as in, for example, the Bartender’s Choice version, although historically this may be an equal-parts drink (see Harry Johnson’s Bartender’s Manual), like its younger cousin the Negroni.

I used Dolin sweet vermouth, which is lighter than the Carpano Antica used in the Death & Co version. It’s a pretty drink, although a little busy. You would think that, as a fan of the Negroni and green Chartreuse, I would be all over this one. But Chartreuse is richer than Campari, so the cocktail ends up being a little over the top for my taste buds. And there is a lot of Chartreuse in that cocktail.

All in all, it’s best enjoyed as a post-dinner drink.


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Smoke: Playing with Laphroaig


After Fire! in August which gave me an excuse to make a classic tiki Volcano Bowl, this month’s Mixology Monday challenge was Smoke!, the theme picked by Elana of the Stir and Strain blog.

When considering smoke, two ingredients came to my mind immediately: mezcal and Laphroaig. I decided to focus on Laphroaig as I don’t use it very often. I bought a bottle after falling in love with Sam Ross’s Penicillin, a new classic that pairs blended scotch with ginger, lemon, and a touch of smoke from the Laphroaig. Sam seems to play with Laphroaig quite a bit; his Fitzroy is a great Rob Roy variation where Laphroaig makes a great impact.

It's been a rough day...

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Boozy ice cream

It’s great to make ice cream at home, but unless you have professional equipment or a tank of liquid nitrogen on hand, the consistency is usually on the hard side. One easy way to remedy this is to add booze to your ice cream. Some recipes recommend adding a small amount of neutral-tasting vodka. For fruit-based recipes, macerating fruit in kirsch is an excellent solution as it enhances the taste of the fruit, similar to what you would do for a fruit salad. By why not make the booze front and center?

Years ago I started using the Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book. Their ice cream base #1 is as simple as it gets, requiring no cooking whatsoever, and just four ingredients: eggs, sugar, heavy cream, and milk. The book contains a variation with kahlua and amaretto, but that never particularly appealed to me. However I had this idea to make a Calvados ice cream – why not, good Calvados is delicious, like apples in liquor form. The only difficult part is to accept the idea to part with 1/2 cup (4 oz, 110 mL) of Calvados which equates to a non negligible 16% of an entire bottle… But it’s worth it and the ice cream keeps for a while (in theory – it will be gone before you know it). You can use it on a pound cake as pictured below, or even better on an apple tart. The cream smoothes the Calvados and the fat in the ice cream allows to better enjoy the aromatics (at least that is what I tell myself after a couple of generous scoops).

Homemade calvados ice cream, orange pound cake
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