Booze for History Buffs

A couple of years ago, Summit Brewing and the Minneapolis Institute of Art teamed up and made a Tudor Ale for a special event at the museum. I was lucky enough to make it to the Summit taproom while they still had some and it was delicious and fascinating! I remember thinking it was a great way to make history come alive.

Well, Mia is at it again, this time teaming up with Tattersall Distilling to recreate alcohol and cocktails from 1769 to tie in with a talk by Bertie Mandelblatt, author of “Intoxicated Empire: Alcohol, Consumption & Slavery in the 18th-c. Atlantic World.”

Bertie will be at Mia on Sunday, March 3rd to talk about her new book and then will also attend the tasting at Tattersall on Monday, March 4th. The info from Tattersall says “you’ll sample historic concoctions like pear ratafia, milk punch, and saffron-infused bitters.” Chef Steven Brown will also be on hand with “foods inspired by recipes from the past.”

It all sounds like a delicious way to learn!

Tickets for the Sunday talk are available here for $10, or $5 for museum members.

Tickets for the tasting are available here for $50.

Drinking the Bounty: Cucumber

Commentary to follow

 

Cucumber #1

  • 2 sprigs cilantro
  • 2 medium slices of cucumber
  • 2 oz mezcal (Del
  • 3/4 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz maraschino

Muddle the cilantro, cucmber, and mezcal in the bottom of a shaker glass. Add lime juice, maraschino, ice. Shake well, double strain into a glass, and garnish with a thin slice of cucumber.

 

Cucumber #2

  • 2 thin slices of cucumber
  • Leaves from one sprig of mint
  • 2 oz Malfy Lemon Gin

Gently bruise the mint and cucumber by stirring it around the bottom of the glass. Add lemon gin, fill glass with crushed ice (and more gin if needed), and garnish with a mint spring and cucumber slice.

Peach Tea Brandy Spritzer

FullSizeRender (8)I think most of us who drink have a few regretful drinks in our history. Somewhere along the lines, as a younger drinker, I got the idea of mixing Crystal Light Peach Iced Tea with Malibu. It was horrifying. And secretly delicious. Shut up, it was a lot time ago.

Because I secretly love that old horrifying beverage, I’ve been looking for a way to recreate it in a less terrifying way. Last year I bought peach schnapps and steeped a bunch of black tea bags in the schnapps to create a base that could be watered down or added to other things. It was surprisingly tasty but the shcnapps was syrupy sweet.

I wanted to come at it from a slightly different angle this year and Chris convinced me to try steeping the tea in peach brandy instead. The result is a bit drier and less “juicy,” but also way less cloying.

We just finished a morning of errands and yard work so I kept things simple. About two ounces of the peach tea brandy with ice, soda water, and a sprig of mint. It’s actually quite tea and tannin forward so next time I may try it with a bit of lemon or simple syrup. Maybe Malibu. HA! TOTALLY KIDDING!! HAHAHAHAHA!!! (Sneaks off to the hidden corner of the bar where the embarassing things are kept.)

Drinking the Bounty: Parsley

It’s not easy being greens. We are definitely in the green days of summer – this week’s CSA share was full of greens like chard and romaine and herbs like basil and parsley. I tend to think of parsley and cilantro as similar flavors, and things that are great as an accent but overpowering as anything more. That said, we decided that with the hot summer days well upon us, the refreshing and cooling flavors of parsley would be our herbal inspiration.

The overall inspiration was basically an alcoholic gremolata – a sauce that always sounds refreshing. Chris started with lemon juice and Tattersall Crema (similar to a curacao) for both sweetness and additional citrus flavor. His odd twist was a bar spoon of homemade amaretto to add a touch of nuttiness (thinking along the lines of a pesto). All of that was tossed into a cocktail shaker with two ounces of vodka, several sprigs of parsley, and ice then shaken and strained.

The resulting cocktail has a strong parsley aroma but a complex herbal and citrus flavor. The parsley actually lightens up the heavier citrus flavors, making it a light and refreshing cocktail with just a little depth from the amaretto. Definitely a summertime winner!

FullSizeRender (7)Being Green

  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz Tattersall Orange Crema (or curacao)
  • 1/4 oz amaretto
  • 2 oz vodka
  • 2-3 sprigs of parsley

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice, shake well, double strain and serve neat with a parsley leaf garnish.

Drinking the Bounty: Snap Peas

My bartender is out of town this week. OH NO! I love cocktails, I love thinking about and drinking cocktails. But I leave the making of cocktails up to Chris most of the time. I’ve certainly never tried to come up with a mostly original idea myself. I was hoping there would be a softball this week – a cucumber or maybe some early raspberries. But nope – it was all greens.

IMG_9335As I stared at my vegetables and they stared back at me, I decided the sugar snap peas were going to work best for me because of their crisp sweetness. Suddenly it occured to me that peas are often paired with mint – I could go in a mojito direction! I spent a few minutes marveling at my own creativity before googling “snap pea mojito” and realizing I’m not that original. Oh well, still sounds good.

I started by muddling four or five pods worth of shelled peas into a shaker with just a pinch or two of sugar. I wanted the sugar there more for abrasion than sweetness. Once I had something of a paste, I added two ounces of Skalvenn Rum (a local rum that is a nice mixing spirit) and ice. I gave it all a quick shake IMG_9341and then strained (I should have double strained) into a highball glass and topped it all with a bit of soda water and a sprig of mint.

You might think the delicate flavor of the peas would be overpowered by the mint, and you would be almost right. But there’s a sweet “green” flavor, for lack of a better term, that shines through and adds a

beautiful spring-like crispness. This is definitely the sort of drink to enjoy on the patio during a summer heatwave. I may not have been as creative as I hoped, but I still managed to make something tasty!

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Snap Pea Comeback

  • 15-20 peas (4-5 pods worth)
  • 3-4 mint leaves
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 oz white rum
  • Soda water

Muddle the peas, mint leaves, and sugar to form a rough paste (you want the flavors blended but the leaves still mostly green) then add rum and ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass, top with soda water and garnish with a mint sprig.

Drinking the Bounty: Strawberries!!

I. Love. Strawberries. I think I single handedly kept the strawberry seller in business at the farmer’s market by my office. Quarts and quarts! Some went into popsicles, some went into milkshakes, some went on top of ice cream, some went in my mouth. Well, you get the idea.

While the market berries had shown up a few weeks ago – the rules we set for ourselves and this challenge meant we couldn’t use them in cocktails until they (hopefully) showed up in the CSA. This was that week – hurray!

We started out by playing with a strawberry-balsamic syrup (one of my favorite flavor combinations) but felt like it hid the fresh flavor of the berries far too much. When you have farm fresh berries, you want farm fresh flavor! We ended up going for something much closer to a smash – with muddled strawberries to pack that fresh punch. A little lemon juice added a bit of tartness, the barreled gin adds some smooth vanilla notes, and the fruity cognac buttresses the strawberry flavor against the aroma of the mint. (I tried it before and after the mint garnish and the aroma really does change everything.)

 

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Strawberry Smash

  • 5 small strawberries
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz rich simple syrup
  • 1 oz cognac
  • 1 1/2 oz barreled gin

Muddle the strawberries with the simple syrup to make a strawberry mash. Add lemon juice and spirits. Stir to mix. Top with ice and a little soda water, garnish with a mint spring.

 

CSA Preview

STRAWBERRIES!!!! (And rhubarb, basil, spinach, kale, lettuce, and parsley)

I was concerned about running low on strawberries after hitting the farmer’s market today.

Mostly I’m excited, because despite getting berries at the market, our arbitrary made up rules meant we couldn’t feature them on the blog until they (hopefully) showed up in the CSA.

Stay tuned!