ICANCOOK Sangria!

Damn, this show takes a lot of work.  It takes so much work, I need to create more work specifically to handle that work, and that work’s work begets its own work’s work, and I no longer know what reality is.  I don’t even drink that much anymore; everything’s bananas!

No, wait! By the gods, here is a bunch of sangria I made and which I mostly drank myself. This is the start of the ICANCOOK videos for CookEatLive – a series that focuses less on the deeper meaning of why we cook in a certain way and more about the incredible things you can do with food.  No instructions, just the pure thrill of seeing good food come together.

And I want to see what other people cook, too, so I slapped it up on Instagram and stuck a hashtag on it: #icancookanything.  So tell me –

– what can you cook?

Cook Well. Eat Well. Live Well.

Oh, and we’re also on Facebook.

Oh! And though you want to let sangria sit for at least a couple of hours, it’ll be much better if you wait one or two more hours after that.

Enjoy!

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Dick Figures – The Shots

DFTHAPPY HOLIDAYS!  As a gift to all you loyal readers/drinkers out there, I have decided to try and squeeze one more cocktail in before the year’s end.  While talking with my friend and colleague Zack Keller about narrating his first book The Success of Suexliegh we segued into discussing Dick Figures (a web series about two idiotic stick figures doing moronic exploits amongst equally deranged characters) that he co-created.  Since it’s impossible to have a conversation with me where I don’t mention alcohol somehow, the following exchange took place:

Me: Ooh ooh!  Someone should make a Dick Figure cocktail.
Zack:  Haha, that would be stupendous!
Me:  All it would have to do is be red and blue.
Zack:  Totally.
Pause.
Me:  It’d be really easy.
Zack:  Yes.
Pause.
Me:  I’m gonna have to do it, aren’t I?
Zack: Since you were the one who lent word to thought, I would have to say, “Duh.”

Thusly was I sent forth by the creator himself to concoct the official tipple of the Dick Figures web series.

df01The Dick Figures Double Shot

My original intention was to create a layered drink, but all my experiments were more embalming than they were delicious and had a tendency to actually make me act like a dick.  While that might be more in the spirit of the show, I concluded that it would be better for the drink to taste good with less douche-creating effects.  So I ditched my “single drink” concept for a simpler “two shots of equal measure” idea.  I just had to make sure each shot met certain criteria: they had to represent the main characters’ personalities; they had to match the zany, high-energy motif of the show; and they had to be red and blue.

df02

Red Shot
– 2 Parts Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey
– 1 Part Jägermeister
– 1 Part Red Bull: Red Edition

df03

Blue Shot
– 2 Parts Peppermint Schnapps
– 1 Part Any Overly-Sweet Blue Liqueur (Kinky Blue, Hypnotiq, etc.)
– 1 Part Red Bull: Blue Edition

To my luck, Red Bull has created a red and a blue version of their drinks that are cranberry and blueberry flavored, respectively.  Each shot gets a dash of Red Bull to give the imbiber enough of a boost to go out a kill a stegosaurus.  Red’s is made with Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey to match his spicy and vivacious attitude, along with some Jägermeister to represent his fratboy mentality and backwards hat.

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Blue is, by comparison, the smarter and calmer of the two, so he gets a good dose of chilly Peppermint Schnapps.  He’s also kind of a pussy, so he gets a dash of whatever sickeningly sweet, always-goes-into-those-so-called “Girly Drinks”, bright blue liqueur you can get your hands on (I used Kinky Blue, but Hypnotiq would work just as well).

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After making each shot, flip a coin to see which one you drink first.  Then comes the “stupid” part of this cocktail:

  • Drink one.
  • Immediately drink the other.

If you want to add a bit more foolhardiness, you’ll down the rest of the Red Bulls, along with two beers, and then steal a cop car.  Those aren’t necessary, though.

The shots are vastly different, but because they each have some fruity, berry action from the Red Bull, their flavors don’t clash at all.  Drink, turn on those Intarnets, sit back, and let Red and Blue engross you from both the inside and the outside.

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Enjoy!

Here are recipe cards for Red and Blue.  Meanwhile, stay tuned for the latest season of Dick Figures, or better yet, check out Dick Figures The Movie.  You can also go and find the first ten chapters of Zack Keller’s The Success of Suexliegh audiobook, head over to Amazon where you can buy paperback and ebook copies, or stroll around to ZackKeller.com to see more information on his other literary works Meet Me At The Falls, and his sophomore novel, Penwell.  You can also take a gander at the work of Ed Skudder, the other creator of Dick Figures, on Tumblr and YouTube.  Massive kudos to the people at Dick Figure Wiki for their extreme attention to detail, which made finding examples for this article so easy.

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 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!

An Ode to My French Press

The daybreak shines through my window
The light a blanket upon my body
Rise and to my French Press I go
For my morning sip and swig of coffee

I scoff at the Starbucks down the street
What of Coffee Bean? Please, don’t make me laugh!
I am man enough to make my own
But to drink a whole pot is a feat
I cannot hold an entire carafe
My stomach has shrunk as I’ve grown

But that’s why I love you, oh my French Press
You make enough for only one
Grounds and some salt to aid with bitterness
Hot water and pour, then I’m done!

The Cherry Garcia

Liquorfied Ice Cream = What My Childhood Was Missing

For those of you who don’t know me well or a little or at all, I love alcohol.  I love alcohol.  I want to have a sex change operation or pray to the goddess Aphrodite to give me ovaries so I can have alcohol’s children.

Or pray to Odin to turn alcohol into a woman that can bear my children. I go back and forth on the matter.

During my senior year in college while I was trying to deal with a surplus of rum that I happened to have at the time, I discovered that rum mixed with cherry coca-cola tasted a lot like my favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Cherry Garcia.  It was my first experience in liquor tasting like other foods (e.g. Flaming Dr. Pepper, Irish Car-Bomb).  It also marked the beginning of The Era of Blackouts, a period of time I know I would feel ashamed about if I could only remember it.  Since that day I have continued to work on the formula and I have recently perfected it!

The Cherry Garcia

– Cherry Rum
– Cream Soda
– Bing Cherries (2)
– Chocolate Fudge Shell Syrup

  • Chill a tumbler in the freezer.  At the same time, cut a wedge out of two cherries, place them in a shot glass full of the cherry rum and also place in freezer.  (I left the stems on the cherries because it made the photo more interesting but I would suggest you take those out.)
  • Pour chocolate fudge shell syrup (look here if you want to make it yourself) into a small saucer.
  • When tumbler is thoroughly chilled, place it upside-down in the saucer so the rim is covered in hardened chocolate.  Replace in freezer.  Repeat this four or five time, or until the rim is covered with a healthy layer of chocolate.
  • When the rim is finished, put some ice in the tumbler.
  • Pour in the shot glass full of cherry rum and cherries and then fill the rest of the glass with cream soda.
  • Serve immediately, as the chocolate rim won’t stay firm forever.  If you’re not going to start drinking the moment it’s done, put back in the freezer.

What you end up with is a cocktail that tastes exactly like Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia.  Creamy, cold, a hint of cherry and a taste of chocolate with every sip!  And save the cherries until the very end, you’ll thank me.

Enjoy!