Thursday, June 12, 2014

Shirley Temple

This article is appropriate for all ages.

The Shirley Temple.

Made famous by... somebody, The Shirley Temple is a non-alcoholic drink that your little cousins can gulp down at family weddings so that they can look like the big people.  They are often so very sweet, that they can even be off-putting to adults, and Shirley Temple herself has said she hated the things.  But, to each their own, and so we are going to give this one a shot.

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You will need:

Homemade Grenadine: Remember no HFCS.  It's not like our homemade stuff had any less calories, but HFCS just sucks for cocktails, or in this case mocktails.
Ginger Ale / Ginger Beer:  We are using Ithaca brand ginger beer, because it's got great carbonation and great taste.   Also because we always give favor to the home team here in New York (even if it is that "state" part and not the city).
Lemon-Lime soda: While we're not using it here, most recipes will combine ginger ale and something like 7up in this.  We can't really figure out why, so we left it out, but we recommend Green River sodas for that.
Orange Blossom Water: This is optional as well, and it gives this drink a mild bitter tang to it, which children may find strange but adults who don't like over-sweet tastes will welcome.  We will be using the easy to find (and totally worth having in your house) Alwadi Orange Blossom Water.
Citrus Juice:  We are using bai5 Costa Rica Clementine beverage, but traditionally this is made with a splash of orange juice.  There is also tangerine juice, mikan juice, or even pineapple juice might work.
Glass with Ice: You can make ice cubes out of juice or tea or other things as well.  Just remember that if your tap water tastes bad, then don't use it to make ice for this, otherwise it will just make everything taste bad.

Cherry Garnish:  They have that red dye made from those little bugs in the rain forest that you mash up.  We don't really care... we'd eat a handful of those bugs like they were Skittles if we thought it would taste good.  You don't have to use it. 

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There really is no substitute for a ginger soda made with real ginger, and Ithaca brings it to the table.  Not as dry and burn-tastic as some of the heavy Caribbean stuff, but not muted like Q or Fever Tree either.  The use of real sugar and glass bottles helps keep the carbonation up to snuff for any mixing you may have planned.  They come 4 to a pack and we have to admit, we used one for this demo and then just straight up drank the rest because they were quite good. 

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Like their rose water we used in a previous cocktail recipe, the presence of orange blossom water (from Alwadi)  is mainly felt via smell. This is where the carbonation of the ginger beer is very important.  By carrying those qualities up to your inner smelling-parts, the orange blossom water holds together the sweetness of the grenadine and soda as  it spins them together in a tie-die of taste.

While it is possible to make rose water at home apparently, orange blossom water is way out of our league (seriously, where are we gonna find a bunch of orange trees?), so we picked up Alwadi Orange Blossom Water at our local supermarket.  You can also buy it online

If you are not into sweet drinks, this orange blossom version is a good version to try.  You can even cut the sugar further by just using club soda instead of ginger beer.   

But let's say you're going for the sweeter thing... 


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Isn't that just so spiffy?

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We came across bai5, and it's pretty nice stuff.  It's got something of a Capri Sun flashback to your childhood taste quality to it, without all the unhealthy calories.  Because of that, it can float on the top of this (if you pour it slowly onto the ice), creating this lovely Rainbow Dash effect.

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A little word of warning:  While we have been avoiding High Fructose Corn Syrup and other unhealthy additives, these drinks as you see them here are by no means low in calories, almost all of them from refined sugars and natural fructose.  That photo above is most likely pushing fast-food levels of caloric intake.  So just because they don't have alcohol or hfcs, don't go thinking that these are something you can just start chugging down on a frequent basis with no negative consequences.     ...they do really look cool though don't they?

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Coming up next time:

The Renaldo Moon


Sunday, June 1, 2014


This article is appropriate for all ages.


A while back, you may remember we made some apple-pomegranate  Grenadine back in our Jack Rose episode.  We didn't go into how we did it, but we promised one day we'd show you, and now that day is here.  

Grenadine is a mixology staple, and while it doesn't always make an appearance every night, the revelry can be brought to an abrupt halt if the need for it arises and it is naught to be fount.  So in to the end of making you a better mixologist, we show you how to have the real stuff ready to go.

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You may have noticed that our background image took a bit of a punch to the face...  yeah it did.  If you would like to sponsor a new one, send us $1, because we buy these things at the 99cent store.

Also, you may notice we have a miniscule amount of pomegranate juice, and that's because we already made a large amount of this earlier and never documented it, so we don't need to make much at this point.  The amount that this portion yields is enough for between 8 and 12 drinks, depending on how you like it. 

You will need:

Pomegranate Juice: From concentrate is completely ok, but avoid anything that is a combination of juices like pear, grape, apple, etc.  We're making grenadine here not... something that's not grenadine.  And stay the hell away from anything with preservatives in it, because we'll be heating this stuff and they get nasty when that happens.
Sugar: Equal in weight to the amount of pomegranate juice, until you get up to about a liter, then you can back it off a bit to like 60-75%.  Traditional recipes call for molasses, so you could use brown sugar, but that does effect the overall color, and since grenadine is so often used as a visual, we are opting to keep it as red as we can, so we'll be using cheap-o store brand bleached sugar for this.  Seriously, you end up with brown grenadine and that Tequila Sunrise is gonna end up looking more like Montezuma's Revenge.  
Salt: You don't need a lot of this.  Something like 0.5 grams per 500ml of juice.  But a tiny pinch of salt really enhances the flavor.
Saucepan: Do not use something like a skillet or some super-wide surface area thing.  You'll scald the juice, scorch the sugar, and spill everything everywhere.  Just use a saucepan. 
Lemon/Lime: Add this towards the end of the simmering.  Sometimes pomegranate juice actually has citric acid added to it already, so you may feel you don't need it and that's fine.  But it's good to have half a lemon or lime for every 250ml of juice.

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"Reducing" and "boiling" are often thought of as equals in the kitchen, but in reality, to reduce a solution by removing water, you could just as easily use rapidly moving dry air that is room temperature and a lot of surface area.  Since we don't have that, we'll be using heat, but just like the taste of a cooked tomato is quite different from an uncooked one, the same thing applies to just about all fruits and pomegranate is no exception.   So do remember that A) it's going to be thick enough thanks to the sugar, and B) in 15 minutes plenty of water will find its way out of the thing even on the lowest simmer.

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Find the Yankee Rose here.

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It really is just that simple.  There's no excuse to not have this good stuff around.  Remember, commercial products like Rose's "grenadine" don't even list pomegranate on the label.  It's full of high fructose corn syrup and red dye.  Besides being disgusting, Rose's Grenadine just kills a cocktail dead faster than Carrie Nation because it's just HFCS and food coloring.  

Our home-made version is a great way to sweeten a up summer iced tea, or even add to cupcake icing for a little bit of fruity tang.  It's even a great alternative flavoring for milk, when the kids want strawberry Nesquick and you're all out (or you just don't feel like giving your children something with: 
 That's seriously what's in Nesquick according to their own website... not much of that is in what we just made, now don't you just feel better about yourself?

Next up, we put our grenadine to good use with:

The Shirley Temple

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