JiggerWocky: adventures in alcohol and academics

JiggerWocky: adventures in alcohol and academics

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Joyful, Joy Division!

I opened my Christmas present early this year, and got the most amazing bottle of Mezcal. In fact, it's boutique Mezcalero, which is only available in Oaxaca and California. Here's my friend Camper English, with whom I share quite a few similarities, describing it: http://www.alcademics.com/2009/10/new-booze-mezcalero-mezcal.html

Here's one of my all time favorite recipes from Mayahuel in the East Village.
The Division Bell
1 oz. Del Maguey San Luis Del Rio Mezcal
3/4 oz. Aperol
3/4 oz. Maraska
3/4 oz. lime juice
Shake and serve up. Twist and squeeze a grapefruit peel over the glass. Rub the rim of the glass with the peel, then discard it.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Variation on a Theme: Celebrating Repeal Day

We here at JiggerWocky believe Repeal Day is a far too overlooked holiday. While our existence is premised on the enjoyment of alcohol, we also enjoy restraining government from legislating morality. Today we toast to both classic and the innovation!

Earl Grey Marteani:
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup (1:1)
1 1/2 ounce Earl Grey tea–infused Tanqueray gin *
1 egg white
Garnish: lemon twist

The Great Pumpkin:
1.5 oz VSOP Brandy
1 oz brown sugar simple syrup
1 0z lemon
1.5 oz organic pumpkin (canned is preferable, actually)
Shake vigorously, strain, finish with cinnamon and lemon

Thursday, December 3, 2009


1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup chilled club soda
1 1/2 cups gin
1 1/2 cups fresh grapefruit juice, plus 3 thinly sliced grapefruit wheels, for garnish
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup sweet vermouth
2 1/4 cups chilled Champagne or sparkling wine
In a large pitcher, stir the sugar with the club soda until dissolved. Stir in the gin, grapefruit and lemon juices and sweet vermouth and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
Transfer the punch to a large bowl. Gently stir in the Champagne and float the grapefruit wheels on top. Serve in punch glasses over ice.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's All Nice on Ice, Alright!

Often store-bought ice is lacking in character. The small chips dissolve too quickly, leaving your drink already watered down and not properly mixed. But there's a solution to the dissolution! Alex Day, master mixologist and my secret boyfriend, is here to help:

A cube is just a cube, isn’t it? Dream on. Your cocktail has specific cold requirements, and if you want to mix with the best, learn to chill.

By the 1850s, hardly could be found a respectable saloon that didn’t have extensive experience with ice, importing huge blocks from ponds in the North and then cutting an individual piece per order. No longer was frozen water brought from far off a novelty; now ice was a necessary element for mixed drinks.

As a state of water, ice plays an incredibly valuable role as both a dilution mechanism and a tool for merging flavors. A fully integrated cocktail usually has around 20–25 percent of its volume provided by water, either from shaking or stirring with ice, and so it is this percentage that we most want to control. If very dense, very cold ice is used, a cocktail will end up being colder and much more pleasant on the tongue. Most of today’s bars and restaurants use commercial ice machines, churning out limp, flimsy ice that hardly chills a drink and leaves chips of ice in your well-deserved cocktail. But at home you can easily make fantastic ice the way they used to.

A eureka moment will hit when you do a side-by-side comparison between a simple sour-style drink made with flimsy, machine ice, and one made with a large chunk. For me, there’s nothing more appealing than a springtime daiquiri—frothy and cold as Antarctica—and it was just such a drink that opened my eyes to ice. Now, my kitchen freezer is little more than a place to freeze and store ice. Luckily, my roommate appreciates daiquiris more than frozen peas.

Start with good water. If your tap water has lots of minerals, it’s a good idea to boil it first. Minerals will stay with water while it freezes, adding a fragile structure to the ice. By limiting these impurities, your ice will be stronger and clearer.

De-stink your freezer. Do your best to clear your freezer of odorous inhabitants. Water will absorb these flavors as it freezes.

Skip the ice cube tray. Instead, use a metal pan 2 inches deep or more and as large as your freezer will hold. Fill this with hot water to slow down the freezing process, letting impurities out before they’re trapped. Place in the freezer for about 24 hours.

Prepare to cut. When fully frozen, remove the pan from the freezer and set aside for 10 minutes. Remove ice from metal tray and set on a cutting board. I find most ice picks to be pretty dull, mostly because the cutting of ice has fallen out of practice and quality tools can be hard to find. So I use a clean wood chisel, available at any quality hardware store. Begin by firmly and very carefully holding the ice down with your nondominant hand.

Score the ice. With your other hand, tap the chisel across the ice, making a line about a quarter of an inch deep. Turn the block over and do the same to the opposite side, scoring a straight line through the ice.

Make the break. With a decisive hit, push the chisel into the middle of your scored line, forcing the ice to break apart. Repeat to get the best size ice for your application: I like 2× 2-inch cubes for rocks glasses, slightly larger for shaken drinks, and any extra smaller shards for stirring. Return the chunks to the freezer until cocktail hour.