La Bomba Del Amanecer

bomba1Sweet.  Messy.  Totally fun.

It’s Abraham Lincoln’s birthday today!  To celebrate, I have created a drink to honor his memory.  Happy Birthday Abe!

WOOOOO!!!

WOOOOO!!!

Okay, maybe that’s not entirely true.  Tequila doesn’t really symbolize our 16th president.  But it does symbolize Mexico (to an extent), and Linocln was a friend of Mexico: Abe opposed the Mexican-American War, and in return Mexican president Juárez refused aid to the confederates (and actually jailed rebel soldiers that went to him to ask for help).  So this drink more symbolizes our continuing friendship with our neighbor to the south.

¡Olé!

Okay, I’m pulling that out of my butt, too.  This drink doesn’t have anything to do with friendship, unless you’re talking about my relationship with liquor, in which case, it’s not friendship, but eternal love.  However, today is Lincoln’s birthday, so DRINK UP!

bomba2La Bomba Del Amanecer

– Tequila
– Cerveza (Mexican Beer)
– Grenadine
– Orange Juice

The real reason I made this drink is because I wanted to create a ‘bomb’ drink, which is a drink in which you drop a shot of liquor into a beer, and I wanted it to involve tequila.  Now there is already a Mexican Car Bomb out there (it’s a shot of tequila dropped into a cerveza), so I needed to bump it up a notch.

  • Fill a glass ½ – ¾ way with a cerveza of your choosing.
  • Fill one shot glass with tequila.
  • Fill another shot glass ¾ with orange juice, and then pour grenadine slowly down the side so it pools on the bottom of the glass.

    bomba3

    Like so.

  • At the same time, drop each shot glass into the cerveza, with the tequila going in first.
bomba4

Thusly.

  • Swirl the glass once.
WARNING - Splashing may occur.

WARNING – Splashing may occur.

  • Chug.  Chug it!  Don’t be a wuss; this is a bomb, not a fine wine!  CHUG-A LUG IT!

This is essentially a mash-up of a Mexican Car Bomb and a Tequila Sunrise, hence the name, which my Spanish speaking friends assure me means Sunrise Bomb (although I don’t really know; I can barely speak English).  I wasn’t quite sure how this mix would turn out, but I am glad to say that it surpassed all of my hopes.  Instead of mixing all together, the drink tastes more like it was layered.  If I can get poetic here for a moment (and like you can do anything to stop me), it’s like watching an actual sunrise: the night of Cerveza first, then the agave flavor of the tequila starts to shine, which then is coupled with the cresting sun of orange juice, and then the pure sweetness of the grenadine of the full sun at the very end.  It’s incredibly tasty, a lot of fun, and can get you pretty drunk if you’re not careful.  In other words, it’s the perfect drink for a hot summer day.

bomba5Enjoy!

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Snozzberry Wodka Martini with Veruca Salt

snozzberry1Sweet.  Tart.  Insane.

Most of my culinary ideas come upon me while telling bad jokes during conversations with my friends and family.  In this case, I was chatting online with my friend Joe when this happened:

ME: . . . which is why I mentioned the wodka concoction . . . whoops, I meant vodka.  What is wodka? . . . wait –
JOE:  It’s the Russian pronunciation.
ME: – is wodka vodka made by Willy Wonka?  GASP!  I have to make that a drink now.

You see, I don’t sort out my ideas into “Feasible” and “Daydream” categories when they pop into my head; instead I take it as a challenge, a sort of double-dog dare to myself to figure out how to make it a reality.  That’s almost the point of this whole blog – to bring to life the crazy, inane shit that passes through my brain while I’m talking to friends, or drinking, or riding my bike, or reading a book, or all of the above.  With a few more hits of inspiration while discussing the topic with others, I came up with the following, uber-Wonka-themed cocktail.

Though I didn’t know it when I was a kid, this moment in the film would prepare me for all the substances I would later abuse.

Though I didn’t know it when I was a kid, this moment in the film would prepare me for all the substances I would later abuse.

So take a deep breath, click this link, and let’s get this wacky, slightly terrifying boat ride under way.

snozzberry2Snozzberry Wodka Martini with Veruca Salt

– Vodka
– Vermouth (White)
– Cranberry Juice (100% Juice, No Sugar)
– Nerds (no particular flavor needed)
– Sweet Tarts
– Gobstoppers
– Kosher Salt
– Pepper
– Lime

Wodka

  • Pour the Nerds candy into the vodka.  Depending on the size of your bottle of vodka, you may have to pour more in, but you will need far less than what you would imagine.  Nerds are pretty strong and it doesn’t take much to flavor the vodka.  You can also use more or less depending on how sweet you like your cocktails.  For me and the little bottle of vodka I had (which looks to be just under two cups), about 4-5 tablespoons was just right.
  • Shake the bottle every 5-10 minutes.  You’ll see the Nerds start to dissolve pretty quickly.  If you’re smart, you’ll choose one color of Nerds so the resulting Wodka will be a nice opaque pink or purple or whatever.  If you’re more like me, you’ll just pour in all different kinds so that the Wodka comes out looking like a bucket of water you’ve just used to wash your car.

    Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

    “And if you can’t afford vodka, I’m sure this Turtle Wax will give you a buzz!”

That icky color will be dashed away once we add the juice, so don’t worry.  After about an hour or so, most of the Nerds will be completely incorporated.  There will always be little left over, but it’s nothing to fret over.

Snozzberry Juice

The juice I used in the first shot wasn't the right one, so I had to do it again.

The juice I used in the first shot wasn’t the right one, so I had to do it again.

Not much to this; just juice and lime.  It does matter that there is no sugar in the cranberry juice.  The Wodka is incredibly sweet and the in-your-face tartness of the cranberry and lime is a perfect balance.  You can wait until the drink is entirely made to squeeze in the lime, or you can do it beforehand.

Veruca Salt

I could say I forgot to include the salt and pepper in the first shot, but I honestly just wanted to use my new camera some more.

I could say I forgot to include the salt and pepper in the first shot, but I honestly just wanted to use my new camera some more.

Much like a margarita, I decided to rim the martini glass to help add another “Wonka” element to the drink.  The mixture consists of crushed Sweet Tarts (because it is a Wonka candy), Kosher Salt or rock salt (because the character’s name is Veruca Salt), and finely ground black pepper because . . .

. . . Veruca’s a stone-cold bitch!

. . . Veruca’s a total bitch.

The blend should be about ⅝’s candy, ¼ salt and ⅛ pepper.  You want mostly sweet, a little salty, and just a hint of pep.

  • Tip: Don’t crush the candy into a powder; leave it a little chunky.

All righty, time for the mixing!

  • Make a martini using Wodka and Vermouth.  If you don’t know how to make a martini, then you have forgotten the face of your father and hence will be sent westward, shamed and dishonored.  (You want to take two parts Wodka, a ½ part vermouth, put it into a mixer with ice and combine.  And please, STIR IT, DON’T SHAKE IT.  James Bond is wrong and a coward.)
  • Take two small plates and fill one with water and the other with our Veruca Salt.  Take a chilled glass and dip the rim in the water, and then in the Veruca Salt, making sure to swirl it around so the entire rim is covered.
  • Fill a ⅓ of the martini glass with cranberry juice.
  • Fill the rest of the glass with the Wodka martini.
  • Take half a lime and squeeze the juice into the drink.
  • Drop in an Everlasting Gobstopper and serve.

Just forewarning you, this drink is incredibly sweet.  I’m alright with that since it’s based off of a madman who makes candy, but it can be overpowering if you’re not prepared.  If you want to knock off some of the sweetness, forgo the gobstopper at the end.  It’s a nice little touch, but it adds a lot of sugar.  Otherwise, the drink tastes like something you’d get in a candy store.  Sweet because of all the candy, very tart because of the juice and lime, and different because of all that Veruca Salt foolishness.   It’ll make you feel like a kid again.  I will say, however, that this is more of a novelty drink; you’ll make it once to try it out and have fun, but you wouldn’t want to drink it for an entire party.  For that, screw the vermouth, the Veruca Salt and the extra candy and just go with the Wodka, juice and lime.  It may not be as interesting as the martini, but it’s still a perfect balance of sweet and sour.

Enjoy!

snozzberry5Shout out to A Man Chasin’ His Hat, who gave me the idea to make a snozzberry-flavored martini, and Die Umlaut, who gave me the idea for the Veruca Salt mixture.

The Spicy Cucumber

Spicy, sweet, crunchy . . . and different.

I was lamenting to my girlfriend while on a date at some small sushi bar I don’t remember the name or location of about how I was running out of ideas for the food portion of my blog.  I had done all the drinks I had concocted over the years, but the well had run dry.  I had experimented with food, both expensive and cheap, until my budget no longer allowed me the comfort to do so.  There was always the option of blogging about diet and exercise, but that would take something like 30 weeks to finish (it actually took 35), and I was too lazy at the time to consider starting that.

My girlfriend sighed, held up the Japanese beer we had split, and said to just do something with Japanese beer and sake.  A lightbulb went off in my brain, and I exalted that she was a genius.  She told me she just wanted me to shut the fuck up, which is a feeling I cause in almost all my friends, family, and random passersby.  It took me a long while to get the right mixture of ingredients, but I finally hit it on the nail.

Hey . . . where’s the god damn cucumber?!

The Spicy Cucumber

– Sake (one shot)
– Ginger Ale
– Green Tea (2 Bags)
– 1 Cup of Sugar
– 1 Cup of Water
– Cucumber
– Wasabi Paste/Powder

A Word on Wasabi – It’s going to be a rare thing if you actually find real wasabi outside of Japan.  The wasabi root is hard to grow and is very rare.  It’s expensive even in Japan, and that’s where it grows.  If you’re a culinary snob who argues that sake must be served chilled, or hot, or tepid, or served out of the ass of a howler monkey (all of which are legit ways to consume sake, by the way, it all just depends on the season . . . the monkey option, for example, is a Spring affair) and demand that all of your ingredients be authentic, good luck.  I’ll be getting plastered for the eighth time over here while you’re still looking.

  • Boil a cup of water in a small pot.  Place two bags of green tea (it doesn’t have to be the really good kind) in the water to seep as it comes to a boil.
  • When water comes to a boil, remove from heat and in a cup of sugar, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved.  Let syrup completely cool, then store in an airtight bottle.
  • Fill a tumbler with ice and pour in sake.

I have mentioned how I measure alcohol in a tumbler before in the Mint Tea Gin & Tonic: pour until the liquor just reaches the top of the bottom ice cube.  I have since been told this is a drunk’s way of measuring liquor.  Well . . . call a spade a spade I guess. Otherwise one shot should be fine.

  • Pour in 1 – 2 tablespoons of Green Tea Syrup.
  • Fill the rest of the glass with ginger ale.
  • Cut a slice of cucumber (I did mine with a fancy spiral cut).  Spread wasabi thinly on the cucumber (I bought the powdered kind, so while making the paste I added some of the syrup to make it sweeter), and place it on the side of the glass.
  • Serve.

Now you can drink the cocktail and eat the cucumber at the same time, letting the flavors mix together in your mouth.  This will give you the sweetness of the drink and the full power of the wasabi.  But after many trials, a hang over, and some more trials, I discovered that it’s much better to plop the cucumber slice into the cocktail before you drink it.  The wasabi will mix gently with the liquid, making the drink spicier as you go through it.  And after you’re finished with the drink, you get to eat the cucumber which is now spicy from the wasabi, sweet from the syrup, and still wonderfully crunchy.  Serve this to your friends and they will be very surprised, and very refreshed.

Enjoy!

The Hanging Rose

A sparkling, fruity, pretty party drink.

ENOUGH!!!  Enough with this weight-loss nonsense, am I right?!  I know why you all started following me in the first place, and that’s liquor Liquor LIQUOR!!!  Life is too short to worry about fitness all the time.  All these months of being supportive and informative has left a bad taste in my mouth (Bad taste or sobriety?  Is there a difference?), and it’s time to get back to my hardcore roots.

What is that, a celery stick?  Stick it in some vodka before I lose you all respect for you!  Doing push-ups?  Pfffbtbt, it’s only cool if you’re attempting to get off of the pub floor . . . and failing.  Is that a beer?  MIX IT WITH SOME SCOTCH!  It’s time to put down the barbell and pick up the bar glass, and we’ll start with my brand new drink called . . . the hanging . . . rose . . .

Hmmmm.  Okay, I may have gone a bit overboard with the enthusiasm at first, but this drink is still a lovely addition to any afternoon get-together.  And it’s a layered drink, so people will think you’re all talented, or whatever.

The Hanging Rose

– Rum (1 shot)
– Champagne
– Club Soda
– Grenadine
– Green Food Coloring
– Rose Extract (in theory)

I first started working on this drink about five years ago, when a friend and I were having a drink before going to some house party.  “Make up a drink, right here, right now,” he shouted at me.  Mixing the only ingredients I had (vodka, lime juice and grenadine), I created the first version of The Hanging Rose.  It was pretty, but also tasted like that one time I was so tired I accidentally brushed my teeth with dish soap instead of toothpaste.   Since then I have been striving to get the drink to something more palatable.

  • Pour into a glass one shot of white rum.
  • Fill glass halfway with champagne.
  • Fill ¼ of the glass with club soda.
  • Tilt the glass slightly, and slowly pour the grenadine down the side of the glass, letting it pool on the bottom.  This is the same effect as you would see in a Tequila Sunrise and will create the “flower” portion of the drink.
  • You’ll want to wait a minute before adding the grenadine.  Our champagne/club soda mixture is thinner than orange juice, and the grenadine will mix more easily in it, so take a moment and let the liquid settle (e.g. stop swirling, moving) before adding the grenadine for the best visual effect.
  • Add a tiny, tiny drop of green food coloring right in the middle of the glass, creating the “stem” of the drink.  Because the food coloring will spread like crazy if the drink is moving even a little, you might want to consider serving the drink before adding the food coloring.  The look of the drink is far more impressive if the top half of the glass isn’t entirely green.   As you can see from the pictures, waiting is not something I did.
  • Ooh and ahh over the look of the drink, then mix with a spoon, go, “that doesn’t look so bad,” at the new dark cream color of the drink, and continue on with what you were originally doing.

In all honesty, this drink is a work in progress as it still feels like it is missing something.  If I had thought about it sooner than five minutes before I started taking the pictures for this post, I would have gone out and tried to find some Extract of Rose to add to the drink.  I would also suggest using a champagne flute rather than the tumbler I used; I thought I had one until I remembered I threw it out the window one New Year’s Eve.  But still, the drink is fruity, floral and light, perfect for a bridal shower, or perhaps a brunch.  The club soda can help take that dryness off of the champagne, the grenadine adds a different sweetness to the party, and the shot of rum helps the drink pack a bit more of a wallop.  This may be a feminine drink, but I know more than a few ladies that can easily drink me under the table.

Enjoy!

The Gourmet Binge

If you’re a part of my loyal readership (all thirteen of you have my undying love, by the way) you have come to understand my love of hard drink.  This affection comes more from a place of culinary delight rather than one of getting drunk, although I can’t say I dislike the awesomeness of a night of bar-hopping.  But I like to make my nights out at the bars an adventure, a story of epic proportions, a saga if you will, allowing I have the time and the budget to do so.  While sitting down and drinking shot after shot of whiskey and glass after glass of martini is most definitely cool (and a definition of manly thereof), I must admit that I find it kind of boring.  There is an entire world of liquor out there to enjoy and I believe it is my god-given duty, my holy charge, to taste of every school of libation before then end of the night.  Are there rules? Of course, this wouldn’t be fun if there weren’t rules.  Is it dangerous?  No, unless your idea of danger is to consume as many different liquors in a relative short period of time without promise of food or rest.  Then yes, yes it is.  Is it wise?  No, not really, as the final price of the bill will be akin to a new computer.  Is it worth it?  That depends on if you enjoy being badass.  So here it is, the game of the 9-Course Drinking Extravaganza.

RULES:

Number of Players: 2 – 6
Equipment: None is required, although it is recommended that one member be in charge of keeping score on a pad of paper.
Object:  To last the entire night without passing out, blacking out, throwing up or giving up.
Play:  The game begins when you step into the bar.  You must sit directly at the bar and be able to do so for the duration of the game.  You must order at least two drinks per hour, but no more than four an hour.  Every drink must be of a different class than the two that were consumed previously, although you do not have to cycle through all of the classes before returning.  You must finish each drink and wait 10-15 minutes before ordering the next.  Every five rounds all players can decide to do a group shot, where all players drink the same shot.  You do not have to drink at the same pace.  If a player is disqualified at any point they must drink water for the remaining duration of the game.

Disqualifications:

  • You may not drink anything without an alcohol content other than water.  You may consume as much water as you like.
  • You may not mimic your friend’s order (copycatting) in a given round, although you can order what they ordered once a new round has begun (piggybacking), but you can only piggy back twice in the entire game.  This does not include group-shots.
  • You may not repeat an order you have made earlier in the game.  This does not include group shots.
  • You may not order a drink that is made with more than three liquors.

Drink Class:

The Malts – Malted-grain drinks, e.g. – beer. You may order the same beer twice in a row, once.  This is called Barreling.

The Fruits – Fermented fruit juices, e.g. – wine, cider.  You may order the same glass of wine twice in a row.  This is called Mothering.

The Classics – Simple cocktails containing one liquor and one mixer, e.g. Gin & Tonic, Jack & Coke, Martini, Screwdriver.

The Mixies – Cocktails with no less than three ingredients, but no more than six.  E.g. – Appletinis, anything that comes with a slice of pineapple and an umbrella.

The Scorchers – Any drink that involves fire.

The Bombers – Any drink that involves dropping a shot into another drink.

The Regals – Straight liquor, in a tumbler.

The Blasters – Shots.

Awards:

A player that does a bomber, a blaster and a scorcher in a row wins the Purple Stomach award and gets to be called by the rank of their choosing for the rest of the night.  A player that has three or more classics during the game wins the Golden Age award, and gets to be called any entertainer from the 40’s and 50’s for the rest of the game.  A player that drinks three or more regals during the game wins the Tortured Heart award, and gets to be called by the author of their choice for the rest of the game.  Three or more malts consumed in the game, and a player will be called “Homer”.  These awards can be compiled to create names such as Admiral Twain Sinatra or Captain Homer Bogart Hemingway.

A man whom, I would assume, might look like this.

Game End – The game ends when all remaining qualified players decide to stop the game, or when there is only one qualified player left.

Now I’ve never actually played this game since not a whole lot of my friends want to attempt it.  With the few that have been interested, we often are having too much fun to keep track of the rules.  Here is one example of the 9-Course Drinking Extravaganza that I once played (with myself, but not by myself, at a bar):

1. Gin & Tonic (my favorite, and often first, drink) – Classic
2. Shot of Jack – Blaster
3. Black and Tan (half pale ale, half porter or stout) – Malt
4. Tequila on the Rocks (a double) – Regal
5. White Russian – Mixie
6. Irish Carbomb – Bomber
7. Rum & Coke – Classic
8. Stella Artois (2) – Beer
9. Flaming Dr. Pepper – Scorcher
10.  Irish Coffee – Classic
11. Gin & Tonic
12. Shot of Tequila

Now this seems like a lot of liquor, and it is, but I was drinking at least one glass of water with every drink, I ate before I started drinking and during the two Stellas, and I consumed it all at a leisurely pace in a space of seven hours.  I can not claim I wasn’t dead-ass drunk by the end, nor that I followed all the rules I have listed above, but I definitely wasn’t sick, I remember the entire evening, and I did not experience a hang over.

I must caution you readers though.  This game is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for the completely foolish.  The point of the game is not to beat the other players but to experience a variety of alcohol and never lose control so you remember each one, so the entire night is like sitting down to a huge, coursed meal.  The selection of drinks must take you on a journey to exotic places (tastewise), not a one-way trip to the sewer.  Excluding blasters, bombers and scorchers, a player must take their time with each round to fully savor the drink. If you look up at that list and get scared, this is not the game for you.  Likewise, if you see that list and think, “I never want to drink any other way,” this game is not for you.

Actually, on closer inspection and regaining my senses, this game isn’t really suitable for anyone.  But if done right it’s a lot of fun.  Like sky-diving.  Naked.  Into a forest fire. Full of snakes.

Or like that, yeah. Great example.

A Few Thoughts on Drinking

As a man who loves to drink, I have spent quite some time at different bars, restaurants, clubs and homes exploring the world of liquor.  It’s not so much that I’m an alcoholic (although I know many who would refute that) but over time I have come to realize that it’s not the effects of liquor I enjoy, but the actual taste of the liquor itself that I love.  There is a whole world to booze that I find fascinating and captivating, but it is a world that takes effort to enter.  The differences between Jack Daniels and Wild Turkey are very subtle until you get your tongue tuned to them, at which point the differences are glaring and obvious.  I have come up with not so much a guide, but ideas to keep in mind if you want to become a connoisseur.

Know Your Limits

It’s important to know how your body reacts to liquor: how fast it metabolizes in your system, how long it takes for alcohol to hit you, which ones will leave you with a worse hangover.  Everybody is different, and until you know your exact limits all you’re doing is drinking blindly.  To appreciate liquor you must be able to keep yourself from going over the edge, or even getting to the “A Little Tipsy” stage.  You have to be able to keep yourself in the “Warmed Up” area for a prolonged period of time, and that takes not just knowing the liquor but also yourself.

We All Have Bad Experiences

I know this will make me throw up, but hell that's a small price to pay for love.

That being said, to know your limits you have to go past them, and you can’t be scared to do so.  It’s one of those times where you’ll only know where the line is once you’ve crossed it.  And once you know where that line is you can’t be afraid to walk up to it.  I’ve heard many people who have had a bad night with tequila and then sworn it off for the rest of time.  We’ve all had a bad experience with tequila.  It’s fine if you’re not interested in becoming a connoisseur, but if you claim to “love drinking” then this line is just an excuse.  For this purpose, drinking is about not being afraid, and in learning hobbies the failures teach you as much as your successes.

That Rule of “Liquor before beer, In the clear, Beer before liquor, Never sicker” is Bullshit

I have mixed all kinds of liquor in all sorts of combinations and the reason I got sick is because I just drank too much too quickly, not because I started with beer.  This doesn’t really come into play with the hobby of drinking, I just hate this rule.  I drink what I want, when I want.

Do Research

I've read this sentence 18 times and I still don't know what it's saying. Time for another belt.

Find out how the individual liquors are made.  Research how liquor actually impacts the human body.  Find out why real martinis are stirred not shaken.  Know what taking it “old fashioned” means.  Understand how temperature changes the viscosity and taste of alcohol.  Learn all the basic cocktails by taste alone, and learn how they are made.  The more you know the deeper the experience.  But . . .

Cocktails Do Not An Experienced Drinker Make

Drinking is not like juggling, where the more experienced you become the more things you can juggle.  The more you mix with your liquor, the easier it is to drink.  This is great if you want to get plastered, as a drink with a ton of alcohols will do the trick in no time (for example, Long Island Iced Tea, a name I’ve never really understood since there’s 0% tea in it).  But you also don’t taste any of the liquor, and taste is the name of the game in this respect.  It’s okay to start off trying different cocktails, but at some point you will have to progress to simple cocktails, and then after that you will have to go to taking the liquor straight.  Don’t be scared.  And I’m not saying you have to give up cocktails.  My favorite drink of all time is a Gin & Tonic and it’s primarily the thing I order every single time.  But if you want that connoisseur title, you got to put down the margarita and take that tequila on the rocks.

Be A Person With Standards, Not a Snob

A person with standards will never order cheap stuff or drinks that are more sugar than liquor.  A snob is someone who judges others for not ordering drinks how they order them.  The first one is the tao of drinking, the second will leave you drinking alone.

Scotch is the Pinnacle

How many of you would I kill for this bottle? ALL. ALL OF YOU.

No one starts off liking scotch, but scotch doesn’t care if you like it.  Scotch is like a Magic-Eye puzzle; until you learn how to taste it, until you know the method, you’ll never get it.  But once you do, an entire world of magical shapes and colors appears.

Don’t Give in to Peer Pressure

Don’t let your friends push you faster than you are willing to go.  If you’re not interested in getting plastered and you really want to enjoy your drink, then fuck ‘em.  If they don’t understand that you’re not trying to get drunk, or you would rather pay more money for one drink than getting twice as much for the cheaper stuff, let them go sit on a tack.  In a few years you’ll be able to sit back and really enjoy a glass of 60 year old Morlach and be an example of class and experience while they are throwing up in the bar toilet.  That might seem silly now, but the older you get the more you realize drinking until you’re sick is one of the stupidest ways to spend your time and money.

That being said . . .

Take the fucking shot, you sissy.   Remove the stick from out of your butt for a second and remember that drinking is also about friendship and fun.  The fine liquor is too expensive and it takes a long time to develop your tongue to them to be drinking it all the time.  You’re at a dive bar, not visiting some castle in the barony of Westmorland.  Kick off your shoes, take a shot of Jack, and get hammered until screaming “Come On Eileen” at the top of your lungs is not only the best idea you’ve ever had, it’s the best idea anyone has ever had.

And not with karaoke or with the jukebox, either. Just start singing.

The Grey Earl

Like a fizzy tea-party on a hot day full of happy drunks in your mouth.

Tea-infused liquor galore!  After my initial trials with gin and peppermint tea, I wanted to take a shot at combining my favorite drink, Gin & Tonic, and my favorite tea, Earl Grey, in a holy union of serenity and awesome.  Alas, after many (many many many) taste-tests and failures, I realized that Early Grey + Gin + Tonic (tastewise) = A night of kinky sex play with a hooker that leaves everyone involved feeling ashamed, especially the duck that was used.  The problem is that there were too many flavors competing for top spot.  Both earl grey and gin have very distinct and unique tastes and even though tea-infused liquor tends to favor the tea, the gin was giving the earl grey a run for it’s money because of how tonic brings out the juniper in the liquor.  The final drinks were never bad, but when it’s the end of a long day nobody wants to have their cocktails taste confusing.  This only inspires contempt in the American heart, making us feel like we are not living in a democratic nation.

But I still believed the flavors of the bergamot in the tea and the juniper in the gin could cohabitate.  So I ditched the tonic, added a few more ingredients and ran many (many many many) more tests and happened upon a new refreshing drink!

The Grey Earl

– Gin
– 3 bags of Earl Grey Tea
– Club Soda
– 1 cup of Water
– 1 cup of Sugar
– Simple Syrup
– Blackberries

Even though one can infuse any liquor with anything easily enough, I have discovered that gin works best with teas.  Chiles and limes work great with tequila.  Vodka is like that girl at parties who is trying to overcompensate for her incredibly plain looks by inviting any and everyone into her bed: easy, but not adding much in the way of flavor.  And anyone who tries to infuse whiskey with any flavor should be hanged, shot, drowned, burned, hanged again, drawn, and quartered.  Be a man (especially you, women, you’re not off the hook) and take it straight.

"I'll put down the gun when you take it neat."

But gin and tea are natural together.  They both have an air of sophistication about them and yet are accessible to everyone no matter what social class.  They were made to go together.  I don’t know, maybe it’s all in my mind.  But then again, maybe you’re all in my mind . . . . . . I better get on with this.  I’m getting paranoid.

  • Put the three tea bags in a large glass.
  • Pour gin over tea bags.
  • Let the tea steep for a minimum of two hours and up to a maximum of a few days.  (I only let mine sit for about six hours. I wanted a nice even balance between the tea and the gin.)
  • While the liquor is steeping, make simple syrup by boiling 1 cup of water.  When water starts to boil, lower heat to a simmer and add in sugar.
  • Stir sugar until it is completely dissolved and then immediately take off the heat.  Let this sit until room temperature, and then pour into a squeeze bottle.
  • Once liquor has been infused, remove and discard the tea bags.
  • Fill a Collins glass with ice.  Fill ⅓ with the tea-infused gin.
  • Crush or blend a ¼ cup of blackberries.  Place in strainer and place strainer over Collins glass.
  • Pour club soda over the blackberries slowly, filling the rest of the glass.
  • Add a shot of simple syrup, although that really is up to how sweet you want it.

And there you go!  I decided to not add the berries directly to the drink as I only really wanted the drink to be slightly purple and I did not want to deal with any pulp or seeds while drinking.  This, like the Mint Tea Gin & Tonic, is surprisingly refreshing, although is doesn’t pack the wallop the Mint Tea G&T has.  The gin and the earl grey sit nicely together, their complex flavors mellowed by the club soda and sweetness of the syrup.  Great for a little get together taken on a sun deck in the afternoon.  Goes great with something salty and crunchy, like bruschetta or crackers and humus.

Enjoy!