Thursday, 25 April 2013

Summer Spice

I was inspired this week, by the long overdue appearance of the sun and got to thinking of all the exotic locations I won't be visiting this year (boo), and how I might bring a little of their flavour to this week's blog. Add to that, the discovery that my local supermarket now stock Hendricks Gin and several ideas began to form. At first, I was going to dedicate the whole blog to my newly accquired bottle of Hendricks and indeed, I believe it more than worthy, but there was one tequila cocktail that I have rather fallen in love and felt I had to share it with you, so instead, this post will be dedicated to cocktails with a bit of spice. However, expect to see a lot more of the wonderful Hendricks in the weeks to come and do take a look at their website for some other inspired cocktails and if you like gin, their are some fabulous recipes and a bit more about Hendricks in this earlier post - Mother's Ruin

This first cocktail was taken from their website, although I inadvertently gave it my own twist by misreading the ingredients list. The recipe calls for elderflower cordial, but in my excitement, I took it to mean elderflower liqueur and if you are a regular to this blog, then you will know that my love for Chase Elderflower Liqueur runs deep. Thus, it was only when the drink was made, that I noticed it should have been cordial, but upon tasting, deemed it a success, so stuck with it. The resultant drink is less sweet because the liqueur has less sugar and more alcohol and by default, is more alcoholic, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Certainly, it floated my boat. The basil works well with the botanicals of the gin and lemongrass imparts a delicate and fragrant flavour.

The Hendricks Experience (almost)


1 3/4oz Hendricks Gin
3/4oz Chase Elderflower Liqueur
3/4oz fresh lemon juice
2 basil leaves
1/2 stick of fresh lemongrass

Slice the lemongrass and put in the bottom of the shaker and muddle (squash it a bit with a pestal or something similar)
Add all of the remaining ingredients  and half fill the shaker with ice
Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass

Next up, I took my spice inspiration from India and more specifically, the sweet spices used to make masala tea and other spiced Indian drinks and blended them with freshly squeezed orange and a touch of vanilla to give the drink a little sweetness and warmth, without being cloying. in an ideal world, I would have used vanilla gomme syrup which, with the addition of acacia gum, adds a silkiness to the drink, but I didn't have any. So, in it's place, I used a little vanilla pod for the flavour and egg white, for the texture. The cardamom and cinnamon definitely add to the mix of flavours, without overpowering the wonderful flavour of Hendricks. A success, I feel.

All the Raj


1 3/4 oz Hendricks Gin
1 oz orange juice
2 cardamom pods
Pinch of cinnamon
2cm length of vanilla pod
1/2oz simple syrup (sugar syrup)

Add the egg white, syrup and orange to the shaker and whisk until frothy
Lightly crack the cardamom pods before adding to the shaker
Slice the length of vanilla pod and scrape out the black seeds and add seeds and pod to the shaker
Add the Hendricks and half fill with ice
Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass

My newly rekindled love affair with tequila shows no signs of abating, at least, not until the bottle runs out, and this next cocktail takes it's inspiration from Mexico, with the inclusion of chilli. I find that tequila works well with a bit of fire to enhance its own spicy aroma, or, depending on your opinion, to kill the taste of it. Either way, it's a winner, but do test the heat of your chilli before you start, or you could get more than you bargained for! The peppercorns might seem like an odd pairing, but the earthy, spiciness works well with tequila and peppercorns are a surprise match with strawberries as well. One of the most delicious puddings I ever had, was a bowl of warmed strawberries with a balsamic and black peppercorn reduction - who knew?

Fresa Picante


1 1/2oz tequila resposado
2-3 strawberries (depending on size)
1/2 chilli (medium heat) adjust according to taste and the strength of your chilli
6 black peppercorns
1oz lime juice
1/2oz simple syrup

Muddle the strawberries in the bottom of the shaker until they are pulped
Add the chilli and black peppercorns and muddle again
Add the remaining ingredients and half fill the shaker with ice
Shake vigorously for 20 secs minimum and strain into a cocktail glass

This last cocktail, I discovered last week when I was making margaritas, but as it is a drink over ice, it didn't make the cut for last weeks blog post - Ay Caramba. However, both Mr TG and I thought this was a great drink and so simple to recreate. Admittedly, classing ginger beer as a spice is a little tenuous, but it does have ginger in it, so....

El Diablo


1 1/2 tequila resposado
1/2oz creme de cassis
1/2oz lime juice
ginger beer

Add the tequila, cassis and lime juice to a shaker half filled with ice
Shake vigorously and strain in to a tumbler filled with ice
Top up with ginger beer

Well that's it for another week. I hope you find something you want to try here and if you do, I'd love to know your thoughts. Have a fabulous weekend, drink responsibly and come back next week for more cocktail recipes x

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