Sunday, October 23, 2011

MxMo LXII: Morning Drinks

Pumpkin Milk Punch
A Tipsy Vixen creation

1 oz Advocaat
1/2 oz Raynal VSOP Cognac
3/4 tbsp Libby's canned pumpkin
1/2 oz simple syrup
2 oz whole milk
dash of vanilla extract (optional)
cinnamon or pie spice

Build ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until cold, and strain into an old-fashioned glass over ice. Sprinkle ground cinnamon or pie spice over the top of the drink to garnish, and enjoy!

I had my first Brandy Milk Punch while having brunch with my good friend, Millicent, at Lula Cafe.  It's quaint but hip little restaurant in the heart of Logan Square, and while some have accused the joint of being more hip-ster than hip, I have come to be more forgiving of the occasionally pretentious staff.  When I ordered the drink, after having read about somewhere (unfortunately, where exactly escapes me,) the bartender- a young lass who no doubt rolls up her left pant leg when she rides her fixie to work everyday- looked at me a little cross-eyed, and seemed almost annoyed given that she clearly thought this to be some fly-by-night trixie cocktail.  I seem to recall that she even said something like, "oh, that must be something kind of new because I've never heard of it," as she set down her copy of Franny & Zoe, to serve my friend and I.  Millicent found this exchange more amusing once I politely offered to our bonny bartender that it was in fact a much older drink, having been created by the original hipsters, the barmen of the Golden Age of Cocktails.  Suddenly more intrigued, she set about finding a recipe on her iPhone, and whipped up the drink post haste.

My first sip was sublime, and it's safe to say that I've been firmly ensconced in the bandcamp since.  Our bartender made extra, eager to try it herself, and enjoyed it so much she spent the rest of the morning talking whiskey and shooting the breeze with us.  It's the morning that finally sold me part-and-parcel on Lula Cafe as a neighborhood hang out, and opened up the field of breakfast drinks for me beyond the safe and expected (read: boring,) standbys like Screwdrivers, Mimosas, and Bloody Marys.  Don't get me wrong, I love a Bloody Mary with all my heart, but sometimes, it just doesn't make a great dance partner for my french toast and veggie sausage...

It should also be noted that I'm a big fan of pumpkin pie, eggnog, and all things autumnal.  As such, I decided that for this month's Mixology Monday theme, Morning Drinks, I wanted to not only create a drink that was breakfast friendly and decidedly lacking in orange juice as a component, but also a perfect snapshot of my favorite time of year.  I think this version nicely captures all of the  flavors of pumpkin pie, and also provided a nice excuse to use the Advocaat I made from scratch this week.  I opted for milk here, instead of the traditional half & half, since the addition of the mashed pumpkin and the Advocaat make for substational thickeners, but try it anyway if you feel so moved, or just prefer a more viscous beverage.

Also, take a minute to stop by Kevin's blog, Cocktail Enthusiast- he hosted this month's event, and has some really great reviews and cocktails to share...

Cheers, and happy fall!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Devil's Advocaat

Sometimes remakes are just not worth the effort, as seen with the 1967 film, Bedazzled, featuring the fabulous Raquel Welch, and later in 2000 with Elizabeth Hurley (sorry, Liz: no contest.)

However, I decided to take my chances this week and try my hand at recreating Advocaat- the rich, creamy liqueur of Dutch origin- since I'd be needing it for my Mixology Monday experiments... So, what exactly is Advocaat? It's traditionally a brandy-based liqueur (those Dutch really do love their brandewijn,) made with egg yolks and sugar. It's very similar in taste to eggnog, it's British cousin. It's also not altogether far off in flavor from Irish cream liqueur, which relies on- surprise!- Irish whiskey for it's base spirit, and cream instead of eggs.

Advocaat seemed like a seasonally appropriate item to acquire and use for this challenge, and since Caroline  and I are both big nog fans, I figured it wouldn't go to waste around our house. There are a few brands of commercially produced Advocaat on the market, including one from the well known Bols company, but I decided that since it can be made at home (and the store-bought products are likely to be full of extra sugar and artificial flavorings- poo!) that I would take a stab at a lovely recipe shared last winter by David over at 12 Bottle Bar. If you'd like the recipe, please go explore his blog to get it- he and his crew are the business!

1) First thing's first, I cleared space and assembled my ingredients and equipment.

I separated the egg yolks right into a big glass bowl (this would also later serve as part of my double boiler setup,) and made sure I had my sugar, salt, brandy, vanilla extract, measuring spoons and cups, and my trusting handmixer ready to go. I used light brown sugar, mostly because I realized after I got home from the store that I didn't have any granulated white sugar, but also because it's closer to what those Dutch folks be usin' back in the day...

2) I added the salt and sugar to the yolks, and beat them senseless with my mixer.

This got pretty thick and splattery pretty quickly- next time I think I'd spend a little more time smooshing out the lumps in the sugar before adding it, so that it incorporates into the yolks more rapidly and therefore stays in the bowl...

3) Then in went the brandy, and the drooling started...

This thinned out very quickly, so I learned fast to keep the mixer on a low setting; waste not, want not!

4) Then I moved the whole thing over to the stove:

I don't have an actual double boiler, so I just used my 4-quart stockpot. I brought the water to almost boiling, and then turned the heat down to low and put the bowl into the pot. Caroline and I took turns whisking, since you pretty much need to do it nonstop to keep it from gumming up on the sides of the bowl. Once the Advocaat starts to thicken again, it happens pretty fast, so I was glad for David's suggestion to use the double boiler method; I just kept diddling around with the heat to keep the water almost hot. You don't want to cook the yolks, or cook off all of the brandy... By the time it was thick enough to coat my kitchen spoon, I had the heat almost all the way down to the lowest setting. I took the bowl off the heat, and added the vanilla. Then it was pretty much a waiting game until it was cool enough to bottle...

I happened to have a pretty nifty bottle with a wooden cap, that once contained some rather inexpensive hazelnut liqueur puchased for some fancy chocolate hazelnut cupcakes Caroline made a couple of years ago. I'm kind of a packrat like that... Anyway, I think it looks pretty spiffy in there. Use any well-sealing, sanitized container you like. Be advised though, that I ended up with quite a bit more Advocaat than the 700ml quess-timate David provided; my bottle is a 750ml liquor bottle, and had nearly a whole measured cup beyond that, so pour cautiously!

So, here it is cooled, bottled, sealed and ready for le Frigidaire! Tomorrow, I present the taste test and mix up a few new drinks. So excited!

{Edited 10/22}

I was somewhat surprised this morning to find that my Advocaat had "shrunk" significantly- the bottle only looked about half full. I suppose beating the eggs put a lot more air into the whole concoction than I realize, so I must amend my assessment of the quantity produced and say that David's estimation of about 700ml-ish is pretty close; I did use some of the leftovers last night, after filling the bottle, to make the first draft of my MixMo cocktail ;)