A Glass of Class: Doubleshot!

Since fall break punctured our schedules with sleep and autumnal activities, Calvin and I missed a week. To make up for it, we have two fall-appropriate recipes for you boys and girls.

Classic Hot Cider

3 parts store-bought cider

1 part cinnamon

1/2 part brown sugar

A small handful of chocolate chips

(For hard cider only) 1 part mid-tier or higher vodka

Mix everything together in a large pot. Put the pot on medium heat for about thirty minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure everything is blending nicely. Taste often to adjust for your personal tastes (or just for fun, it’s hard to wait for cider.)

In celebration of the annual Apple Harvest Festival, we made a few thermos-fulls of hot cider. Unfortunately, this was the night after the festival, so we didn’t get to enjoy it out in the crisp fall air, and had to pay stupid amounts of money for cider in the commons. Awesome. Yet, that night, we rang in the eating season (as I so affectionately call it) with a delicious, sweet-and-tart aperitif. This recipe is all Calvin’s; I cannot take any credit for it. However, I can hold up my personal counterpart to it…

Fall Breeze

2 shots Bacardi Limon

1 shot peppermint schnapps

1 tbsp cinnamon sugar

Iced tea (use whatever you like; I make my own with some Crystal Light)

Mix everything together. Drink out of a big jug with three X’s on it to feel like a true American.

I stayed in the Ith this fall break, which got me a number of weird looks. See, I live three hours away from home, and have my car up here. Why didn’t I go home, people who made ridiculous treks to see their families for a meager three days would ask me. I am simply too lazy to go home for no reason. It’s nothing against my family, I love them, fall just turns me into a lump. So, I hung out with some friends over break, making absurd concoctions, trying to embody the taste of the autumn air I do so adore. I didn’t succeed, but I’d say this comes pretty close. A brisk, biting, smooth drink to keep you warm during the cool October nights. And we do so hope you all enjoy your fall as much as we do.

–C and L

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“If Life gives you lemons, cut them into slices and you’re well on your way to making SANGRIA”

Cue, backstory

I spent this past summer in Shanghai doing an internship, exploring the city, and just bumming around a bit. Shanghai, as I soon found out, has always been a mix of old and new. You could find old men crowded around an intense game of Chinese chess, a crowd of fanny pack-toting tourists, a hip and trendy Starbucks coffee shop, and a local with his pushcart selling meat skewers all on the same street. Louis Vuitton? Check. Fake eggs at a local market? (I’m not kidding) Check. Authentic Italian thin-crust pizza? Check. You get the idea.

On one of my gastronomical explorations with one of my friends, we went to a Mexican brunch place called “Maya”. Boasting a “brunch menu below 50 RMB” on Sundays, this offer was a steal. While perusing the menu, the drinks list naturally caught my eye (yes, even on a Sunday morning). Bellini! Mimosa! And then Sangria! My God, people. This was not the first time I’d been to brunch, so I’m not sure why the idea of having a little bit of drank with Sunday brunch was such a novelty (Oh right, I know why, it’s because I live in America).

So to do my first real brunch justice, we ordered white wine Sangria.

Our Sangria arrives. Condensation forms around the wine glasses from the ever-present humidity. Ice cubes bob amongst the fruity bits and pulpy pods of lemon, orange and grapefruit. Bubbles fizz around the edges from the added Perrier. To use my native, regional Bay Area, proverbial term… it was “hella” good. For those of you who are not acquainted with the jargon: it was the bomb dot com, it buttered my toast, etc.

The Sangria was refreshing, simple and absolutely tasty. Better yet, when I was done sipping on the bubbly wine, there was still floating fruit to fish out! Double whammy.

Om nom nom nom.

Brunch and Sangria

Fast forward to a week later… my friend who is leaving Shanghai mentions two bottles of wine that he forgot to give to his boss as a going-away present. My mind whirs a little, and then I give him the look. I give him the upward shift of the eyebrows, a subtle smirk indicative of mooching, and the “you know what’s up” expression all in one go. He takes a second to process my meaning. We all know how that one ended up.

Utilizing the unique and fruity flavors of Asia, I devised this simple recipe:

Shangria (see what I did there?)

1 Bottle (750 mL) of red or white wine (I used a 2007 Australian Shiraz while in Shanghai)

4 Lemons (or substitute half limes)

3 Kiwis

6-8 Lychees

1 Pink Lady Apple (or whatever’s freshest near you)

1 Asian Pear

1 cup Orange Juice

2 cups Peach Nectar

Sparkling Water

Cut lemons into slices. Skin the kiwis (I had no idea how to do this, so check it out) and similarly slice. Peel and seed the lychee. Make sure to crush the lychee so the inner pulp becomes exposed (which releases juices). Finely dice the apples and pears.

Place all fruit in a pitcher or bowl and add wine and juices. Allow Sangria to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Overnight is best. Add sparkling water to taste right before serving. Serves 5-6.

Sangria sitting in fridge overnight. Fruity bits floating...

Note: You can use any kind of fruit. Play around with the recipe and be creative. For red wine Sangrias, all kinds of berries work very well. For white wine, grapefruit, mango and watermelon would make great additions.

So whether you’re in need of a summer throwback or just have some leftover wine that your friend forgot to give their boss that you can mooch off of… Sangria’s your go-to!

Enjoy!

-J Lo

Ithaca Beer Co. Tour and 5 awesome facts…

Awesome fact #1: They use water from Cayuga Lake, which has a unique mixture of minerals, giving their beer a distinctive body.

Awesome fact #2: 70% of the beer they produce is Apricot Wheat.


Awesome fact #3: Correct fill height in the bottle is crucial! The perfect amount of space allows carbonation storage which increases the beer’s shelf-life (employees take home the botched ones)

Awesome fact #4: They produce 700 gallons of beer daily.

Awesome fact #5: People travel from all over the country to get a bottle of their limited edition New Years champagne, Le Bleu, which is made in oak barrels with blueberries. It sells out in one day! (This picture is not it–this is their delicious Root Beer)

A Glass of Class: Basilicola

Basilicola

Half a lowball of cola
1 oz lime juice (about a shot and a half)
Basil leaves
A few shot glasses full of vodka (how many depends on how many drinks you’re making)

Leave the basil in the vodka shots, muddling it a bit to release the flavors. Leave it to sit for 30-45 minutes, then strain the basil out. Mix everything in the lowball. Garnish with a leaf of basil and/or a lime wedge.

Calvin’s apartment is a fantastic cyclone of random, unneeded shit from other people and places; it’s an amalgam of every college apartment you saw on The WB in 1997. He says he spent the summer acquiring odds and ends while he worked up here in the Ith. One thing stands out, to me at least: the lone basil plant growing in the windowsill. Nobody knows where it came from, it just sits overlooking Collegetown in mystery (that doesn’t stop us from making king’s cup rules that involve eating basil leaves as punishment, though…) Anyway, the notion of making something with the basil has been on our minds since the year began, and one Friday, we finally had a breakthrough with the Basilicola. It’s almost serendipitous, too; we had the idea to strain vodka through the basil, but ended up absentmindedly leaving the shot glasses on the counter for some time. Think of this drink as citrus pucker on a budget. Lime juice is cheap, generic cola is cheaper, and…well, no, the basil was only free for us, but you understand.

–C and L

A Casktail: Mind, blown

Dear beverage enthusiasts,

As I told you last time, I am going to talk about another project I’m doing with a good friend of mine, Kevin. Mid-way through a class, he texts me to check out a website. The last few minutes of class were creeping very slowly, and I decided to take a quick glance. I saw one word before the professor gave me a shifty eye: cask.

Sweet baby Jesus! A cask! Excitement ensues.

My friend’s idea is to experiment with a new beverage trend: aged cocktails. Basically, we’ll put a cocktail mix into an Oak barrel and then play the waiting game (3 weeks). As it turns out, there’s quite a bit of literature out there on the interwebz. This guy knows a thing or two, and it’s where Kevin and I are drawing inspiration from to devise our own cocktail recipe.

It’s all in the works right now because we just ordered our own barrel. 3 Liters of “aww yee.” The recipe is still in the works, but one ingredient we know we’re going to be using is the Irish Mist, an Irish Whiskey liqueur. Leave comments if you think you have a good idea for our cocktail! We’ll be sure to let you know how it goes, or we’d be bastards (tasting party, anyone? I’ll keep you posted through our Beverage Club Facebook page).

I’ll post some pictures when this badboy arrives.

GET EXCITED!

J Lo

Next time, I blast to the past with Sangria.

A Glass of Class: Summer Sunset

Summer Sunset

One handful of cranberries (Fresh gives better taste, but frozen works in a pinch)
Three shots vodka
One or two mint leaves
One spoonful of sugar
A few chunks of pineapple
Ice

Blend everything until the drink has a liquid consistency, then strain it into a tall glass.

 

Fruity drinks always remind me of the summer: sun beating down on the shores of turquoise water lapping at some sand, as you watch tanned beauties sip a Cosmo with those little chunks of sweetness bobbing at the top. Since we’re on the heels of the season, though, they’ve all but gone out of style. Reminiscing about the days we’ve since passed by, the two of us decided to make a ‘last hurrah’ drink before Ithaca plunges us into thirty weeks of night again. What better way to do that than throw some fruit and ice into a blender and hope for the best? Yet, we want everyone to enjoy this, not just the ladies (which is the stereotype, or so I’ve been told.) To make it more unisex-friendly, this drink has a nice bite to it without being bitter. It provides a fresh tinge on the way down too, courtesy of the mint. Beware, though; it comes out of the blender very pulpy and gritty, so strain it well unless you don’t mind drinking seeds and leaves. In the end, enjoy this drink as a requiem to summertime, or as a celebration to inevitable future lethargy.

Until next time, kids.

–C and L

J Lo announces his project – part 1 of infinity.

Kind readers,

As the first post, I will share with you my foremost project. This will be an on-going project until… well, until I run out of friends (God-forbid it’s because I run out of booze).

My first-ever original creation took place just under a year ago. This was before I had my own Boston shaker and other tools (actually, I had converted my unused coffee thermos into a shaker which worked brilliantly—put the ice and liquids in, clap the lid on tight, shake, and then use the drinking spout as your pour!). But anyways, I was hanging out with some friends at my place, and I was looking for something more manageable than just straight booze.

I started with a few mixes and then finally settled on a particular mix. I was playing with some Mango Absolut and some random mixers in my fridge. After a bit of ‘this’ and a bit of ‘that’, I passed the cup to my friend, Seojin, who enthusiastically burst out that she loved the creation. Surprised by the reaction, I cheesily announced that this was to be her drink. The whole group of us brainstormed a name for a quick minute, finally settling on “Seojin Special.”

Then and there, my project was born. The goal of my project: to create and then name as many of my original creations after my friends as possible.

Seojin Special

Formal prep

1.5 oz Mango Absolut
Fill two-thirds orange juice (I like pulp; haters stay away)
.75 oz lime juice
Dash of grenadine down the side of the glass (ooooh, pretty!)
Instructions: Build in highball glass full of ice. Be sure to remember a stir-straw.

Party prep
Use some standard of measure (a shot glass, a red cup, etc.) to define your ‘part’.

1 part Mango Absolut
2 part orange juice
1 part lime juice
Dash of grenadine
Instructions: Build into a cup with ice, and then pour (roll) between two cups 2-3 times to mix. Color should be somewhat like grapefruit juice.

This is a great fruity drink that is basic yet sophisticated at the same time. The alcohol can be switched for virtually any flavored vodka/rum or maybe even gin. For all you experimenters out there, try the orange, limejuice, and grenadine together to know what the ‘natural’ taste of the mixers is without the alcohol. This way, you can further experiment with other juices and tastes of alcohols.

General notes: The party prep is much less concerned about presentation. It’s fast and it’s hassle-free. Given that we are all rather eager to imbibe alcohol at this juncture in our lives and that we just want to get something tasty down the hatch to relax the atmosphere, the party prep set of instruction will cater to this mindset. I assume that not everyone has all of the standard glassware to present the cocktails or the appropriate tools with which to create them.

The formal instructions are bar-ready. With these instructions, I assume that you have all the tools and resources to execute a professional-looking cocktail. This is for all you fancy-pants out there who want the whole 9-yards.

ENJOY, ALL YE PEOPLE.

Next time: I talk about a cask.

J Lo, out.