Thursday, December 19, 2013

Product Review: The Arctic Chill Muddler

Welcome to the first in a new recurring segment of reviews and demos of beverage related items.  This inaugural episode will feature the Arctic Chill Cocktail Muddler and what we think of it.  You will see it in action, you will see it in other things, ...many things.  You will see it in all the 2 dimensional glory that a jpeg can provide the round things in your head used for seeing.

When we were approached by Rizzi of Arctic Chill to take a look at this product, we were happy for the chance to check it out, but skeptical of a stainless steel muddler.  We like tradition and our wooden one had plenty of miles on it.  But in taking a closer look we were surprised at how the Arctic Chill one held up and by the things it could do that we would never try with our old one, like working with ingredients that have a lot of oils in them.

It is available from if you click here.  Also, you can see the other product Arctic Chill has to offer at their own website, They got those neat-o ice trays that let you make totally round ice cubes.

In-between our review photos, we'll be posting important notes so make sure you don't miss anything.  

Muddlers are most often use in preparing beverages and on a number of different types of things, and we will be showing you its performance on at least one thing in the 4 main categories of things that get muddled:  
Citrus: Examples include lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits. 
Leafy: Examples include mint, basil, cilantro, and rosemary.
Fleshy: Examples include strawberries, watermelon, tomato, and grapes.
Other:'ll see.

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Want to see our old one in action?  Here are a few drinks we've made with it:

Mint Julep
Moonshine Mojito
Sriracha Lemonade

You may notice that these are all leafy examples, and we often use a blender when dealing with citrus.  But for single servings, sometimes a blender is overkill, so we'll be doing citrus with this in that sense.

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The Arctic Chill muddler is round.  It gets a little roll-happy, so guess what happened right after we took this picture.  But, that's not a big deal because we store it on this magnetic holder in a vertical position.  Just imagine the black end pointing down (rotated 90 degrees to the right basically).  When stored like that, it's very secure and doesn't move.

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Seriously, think about it;  You're doing something with this thing, and you have it slip out of your hands (these things happen).  So now it's either a plastic headed tool heading towards the counter, or a dense metal tipped missile careening through your glass and then smashing into your foot.  ...yeah.

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Our wooden muddler was well used, but it was starting to pick up some funk, and there's really nothing you can do about that which doesn't damage the wood further like boiling it or soaking it in alcohol (which would dry the hell out of it).

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And jam we did.  We did notice that, if laid on its side, the Arctic Chill muddler will roll right the fuck away with the slightest provocation.  Avoiding this by keeping the muddler standing up on its flat end raises the center of gravity to the point where at the slightest provocation it will fall down and then roll away.  This can be avoided by keeping it in a container or using magnetic holders.

The rolling is actually more of an issue if you're doing what we're doing, which is trying to take lots of photos of it.  If you're using it for its actual purpose, it's not as much of an issue. 


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That scraping action from the grooves in the head of it really makes a difference.  As you twist, they scrape over the skins of the fruits, and pull off small bits of zest and release the oils that are always where the strongest flavor comes from.  It's almost impossible for a rounded muddler of any material to do that without using coarse additives like sugar or salt, but let's say you don't want a lot of that or you only have fine sugar or salt around and it's not coarse enough to get the job done.  Even our flat-headed wooden muddler was only able to take zest off because of it's rough irregular surface.  Seeing as how that rough irregular surface is actually the result of little bits of wood coming off after repeated uses, that's not really a good thing.

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Derpy Hooves glass can be found all over Etsy.

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Putting this muddler out on a table with an assortment of chopped fruits and your bucket of cheap hipster beers, will let your friends make their own shandy creations, and will really class up any get-together you have.


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That's chocolate mint.  Apparently that's a thing.

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We were worried about this.  The teeth that were so good at citrus smashing simply turned the flat leaves around and around in a circle.  The addition of sugar in the raw did nothing to fix this.

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Using the other end was a different story.  Its rounded shape worked extremely well and it wasn't hard to hold it from the other end.  It may or may not be intentional in the design, but either way, it worked. 

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Our watermelon margarita was a big hit, but it made almost a gallon of punch and required "il passatutto" which can be annoying to clean.  So what if you just want just one for yourself?  Let's see if we can do that.

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Fleshy ingredients usually have seeds and other things in them that you might not want to leave floating around in there.  For something like a strawberry that's not a big deal, but if you end up doing this with a pomegranate, you might want to have the strainer handy.

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Our original Bloody Derby did not involve muddling, but our new one coming out will have a special theme, and a mashed up habanero will be an option we will be including.

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These peppers are not for the timid.  Even the booze you soak it in is going to end up tasting like fire after only 10 minutes.

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We got that swag from our local retailer when Alibi was first released and we bought some.  It's good. 


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This involves garlic that is very soft from being boiled.  We have not and probably will not ever attempt to use this on raw garlic.

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Could you imagine muddling something with oil and butter with an old wooden muddler?  You'd be pretty screwed.  Not only would that oil get absorbed quite a bit, but after 2 days it would start smelling pretty nasty. (You ever had butter or olive oil go bad?  It happens, and it's gross).  Also, since high temps won't harm it by drying it out, you can remove sugary or other gloppy residues with hot water and just watch it dissolve away.

Being stainless steel, the Arctic Chill muddler can perform another important function regarding garlic.  You ever get that garlic smell on their hands that won't come off?  Well rub that handle along your hands under running water, and bang: no more garlic smell.

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Cm'on, you knew we weren't gonna let that joke escape.

It occurred to us that an Achilles heel of this, might be the point where the nylon head attaches to the handle.  We pulled on it and poked at it and it was very secure.  We let it sit in soapy water for 48 hours, to test if any water leaked into the inside of the handle through that part.  No water leaked inside.  We do not know if it is considered "dishwasher safe" but who puts a muddler in a dish washer?

So all in all, the Arctic Chill muddler has serious advantages to it, and you look cool while you use it.  It's not any more slippery than any other muddler, and neither you or your drinks will get any micro-splinters from it (you know the kind we mean). The biggest drawback was in fact, the rolling we encountered, but that's not a big enough issue for us not to recommend getting one. 

You can got to and pick one up for you and as a stocking stuffer for that "cool uncle" you have.  Or if you are that "cool uncle" (you know who you are) give these to those college kids when they're over for the holidays.  It's amazon, use your Amex points or frequent flyer miles even (that's a thing right?).

We did not feature the actual unboxing because... why would it matter.  Here's all you need to know: It comes in a box.  The box opens easily, but the box shouldn't be used for muddling.  You can see it at Arctic Chill's own website here.

Our thanks go out to Rizzi and the rest of the team at Arctic Chill for giving us the opportunity to muddle the hell out of many things. 

You will see this muddler again in our upcoming Applejack-Off major event, when we use it to make our unique "Apples & Oranges" cocktail.

See you there.   

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Tri-Color Coffee: Irish Coffee, Italian Coffee, Mexican Coffee (Cold Brew)

Winter is upon the land, and that ironic hipster scarf is all of a sudden totally functional.  Don't worry, you can just tell people you are warm "ironically" and such.

There is no better accessory to winter than a hot beverage, and there is no better hot beverage than something with booze in it.   To that end we have a tri-color tri-fecta of internationally inspired coffee concoctions.  

While it can be fun to get all crazy with espresso weirdness and some special liqueur which is only made on Tuesdays with a full moon on just one mountain in the Pyrenees, we have chosen to forgo such endeavors to bring you recipes that are actually easy to pull off at home with ingredients that are widely available. 

You'll also notice that we are using very thick Chantilly Cream as a topping for most of these.  That is what the cream and vanilla are for in the below image.  We use this because these drinka are meant to serve as dessert beverages (or just as desserts themselves) and so that cream is actually meant to be primarily consumed via a spoon with only the residual stirred into the drink.  You'll notice however we do not do that in our Cappuccino variant in the Italian section.

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As you can see, we are once again using the ever-present "Irish Coffee Mug" of the transparent variety.  While in reality we actually don't like these things, because it is transparent it will allow you, the audience to actually see what's going on in drink construction.  Large ceramic mugs which are pre-warmed are much better at keeping these selections warm, as the thinner glass mugs conduct heat too quickly. 

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Link to our original Coffee Episode.

Irish Coffee

Éirinn go Brách

What we use:
Booze: Jameson Irish Whiskey
Coffee: Kenya AA French Roast.
Chantilly Cream
Nutmeg/Cinnamon/Whatever other spices you might like.

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Instant coffee = Evil.

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That's nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove pictured there.  For holiday times some green sugar sprinkled on top looks nice as well.  We don't have any so that's why it's not here.

Italian Coffee

Mama Mia

What we use:
Booze: Romana Sambuca
Coffee: Kenya AA French Roast.
Chantilly Cream

While "Italian coffee" like this is more of an American invention and staple of Greek diners all over the North East, it is based on the Sambuca variation of the Italian Caffè Corretto.

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This is a basic wet cappuccino with Frangelico added to the espresso before the milk is added.  Frangelico is a hazelnut flavored liqueur and is great for using in desserts and sweet sauces.   It also pairs with Eggnog very nicely.

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Mexican Coffee

"Dammit Mexico, get your own flag."  -Italy

Now there are all kinds of versions of this out there.  Every Mexican resturant and wanna-be clebrity chef has some sort of take on "Mexican Coffee" which oddly enough usually does not involve coffee actually grown in Mexico

We bring you Café Iguana.  A Mexican Coffee dessert cocktail formerly served at The Iguana Club in New York.  They still have it on the menu, but now they just use Parton XO and not their special stash of coffee infused reposado.  That's still quite good, but not exactly the same, and since Patron XO seems to be obscenely expensive, this will help you make the exact same thing out of more competitively priced Tequila labels.

This recipe calls for regular coffee as well as espresso powder.
For the regular coffee we are going to use Costa Rican Tarazu. As for the espresso powder is just a house-blend but remember it's the grind that's important here, and you want a fine espresso grind.

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Cold-brew is a process that, if you do it with Tequila, you eliminate the need to have Kahlua in this mix.  This is very similar to what we did with orange infused Tequila in our Margarita.

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Cold-brew will give you a bitter product, it just will.  This is why we recommend adding at least a quarter cup of sugar to the jar and shaking it up so it dissolves.  Anywhere from 1-6 hours later you can filter it out and you're left with some hard core coffee Tequila.  Tequila Coffee... TeqCofee.

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You can also add cocoa and spices to the coffee itself.  If you are thinking of doing that, we recommend Jacques Torres's Wicked.  A blend of hot cocoa mix and hot Mexican pepper powder.

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Cold-brewing coffee with liquor is an amazing thing.  The end product is very different from simply adding booze to already made coffee.  Again, we can't stress enough that this process makes the end product quite bitter, so you will need to add sugar, there is simply no getting around that.  Also, don't go using your 12 year old Scotch or something like that for cold-brew coffee.  The brewing process is going to change the taste, and so platinum quality spirits are not something you need to make this as best as it can be.  That being said, don't go with the bulk stuff either (except light rum... then you can go get the Castillo you cheap bastard), but for anything else, get something nice that is made with care.


When cold-brewing coffee using Tequila, Vodka, Whiskey, Rum, or something similar, it is important to remember that because of the length of time the brewing process takes, the amount of caffeine extracted is going to be very high.  Also, the percentage of alcohol will not decrease from this process, meaning that what you are left with is a highly powerful substance that has the potential to really ruin your day.   This is the kind of thing you can drink way too much of without realizing it, so don't go filling up that jumbo cappuccino mug with straight coffee hooch and top it off with ready-whip... you will end up having to use the word "stroke" when people ask what the hell happened to you from that day forward.

And when we say "provided by" we mean we just walk over there and buy some every week.  All coffee featured on Pinky Mixology comes from D'Amico Coffee Roasters of Brooklyn N.Y.  

Yes, before Brooklyn was trendy it was simply known as the place where at least 1 character in every WWII movie was from and that character wouldn't shut up about it.  And that kind of thing takes serious coffee roasted with old-world know-how and served up with new-world attitude.  This continues today with D'Amico Coffee.

D'Amico Coffee has their storefront on Court Street in oh-so trendy Brooklyn, where you can not only buy whole-bean and ground coffee, but ready-made hot and iced coffee, as well as the ubiquitous (in Brooklyn at least) Manhattan Special espresso coffee soda.  But don't stop reading just because you're a time zone away, they will expertly ship the coffee you need to just about anywhere.  If you have a business where you serve coffee, it should be this.  No.... stop talking, this is what you need.

You can order from their website:

Or check out their new catalog (.PDF):


Next up, we go into the world of the most American of spirits, Applejack. Not just runner up for best pony (seriously, best pony is always Rainbow Dash), Applejack is a whiskey made entirely from fermented apple juice.  Sometimes oaked, sometimes not (it really should be though), it is seriously underrated and worth seeking out.  So get ready as we find an Applejack from every state that we can, and pit them against them each other in Pinky Mixology's first ever label review.  There will be cocktail recipes, food pairings, and plenty of shenanigans in the Pinky Mixology AppleJack-Off

Also, we will give away a T-shirt.

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...wait ...oh we should have picked a different name.