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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chambord & Champagne: a treat at under 200 calories

My New Year’s resolution to lose some of my holiday weight is slowly paying off, and these low calorie cocktails are helping.  Dieting Salt Lake City cocktail lovers have much to celebrate.  Cocktails with less than 200 calories are compatible with almost any diet.  The last post delivered the recipe for the Chambord Flavored Vodka & Perrier.  Today we have something a little different: a Champagne cocktail recipe from Chambord that weighs in at 199 Calories.  Utah cocktail lovers are already familiar with Chambord® Black Raspberry Liqueur from France.  Add a little sparkling wine and you have a close relative of the Kir Royale: the Chambord & Champagne.  Enjoy.

Chambord & Champagne
1/2 oz Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur
4 oz Korbel® Champagne
Pour Chambord in the bottom of a chilled champagne flute and top with ice-cold champagne.  Drop in a black raspberry and savor the taste.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chambord Flavored Vodka & Perrier

So how is your New Year’s resolution to lose some of that weight doing?  Living in Salt Lake City, one sees a lot of people who could stand to lose some weight, including me.  Most diets want you to give up cocktails, but what if you had some recipes for cocktails with less than 200 calories?  The previous post delivered the recipe for the Skinny Margarita.  Today we have something a little different.  Chambord® Black Raspberry Liqueur from France is widely available in Utah, and Chambord is now marketing a Chambord flavored Vodka that, when combined with Perrier®, makes a Chambord Flavored Vodka & Perrier, a simple, refreshing cocktail that weighs in at only 108 Calories and tastes great.  The people at Chambord Flavored Vodka have provided a cocktail recipe that is low in calories, high in taste, and easy to make. What more could a dieter want?

Chambord Flavored Vodka & Perrier

1 ½ oz Chambord Flavored Vodka
3 oz Perrier®

Pour vodka into a glass filled with ice and top with Perrier. Garnish with a lemon wedge and a black raspberry.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Skinny Margarita cocktail may match your New Year’s resolution needs

The holiday season was unkind (vis à vis weight) to many in Salt Lake City and across the USA; sadly, the Utah Mixologist is among them.  New Year’s resolutions (or just plain common sense) demand weight loss, but most dietary regimens mandate that you forsake cocktails.  What, then, is a dedicated cocktailian to do when faced with such a dilemma?  Well, the folks at Casa Noble Tequila have come to our aid with a low-calorie cocktail recipe that’s a close cousin of one of our favorite cocktails, the Margarita.  By eliminating the (sweet) Triple Sec, Casa Noble has trimmed the Margarita down to less than 200 calories.  Now that’s change we can all get our behinds behind! 

My wife brought home a bottle of agave nectar late last year, and it didn’t take long to taste how it improved our Margaritas, plus agave nectar has a low glycemic index.  If you don’t have any, be sure to pick some up.  The best thing is that if you find this cocktail a little on the sweet side, you can save even more calories by cutting back on the agave nectar.  Casa Noble Crystal is a Blanco Tequila, and you know how well Blancos and Margaritas go together.   Future posts will feature additional low calorie cocktails, but for now: Olé!

Skinny Margarita (from Casa Noble)
  • 2 oz Casa Noble Crystal (Blanco) Tequila
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice (or the juice of 1 whole lime)
  • ¾ oz La Sierra agave nectar (or other organic agave nectar)

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake, strain and serve up or on the rocks. Garnish with a lime wheel. To salt rim – moisten rim of glass with lime and gently roll in a plate of kosher salt.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

How does your classic cocktail measure up?

When amateur mixologists in Salt Lake City (or across the nation) begin to get interested in classic cocktails, they usually start by looking for recipes on the internet, but sooner or later cocktail books find their way into the mix.  Regular readers will be familiar with recipes from the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), and last weeks post on the Little Devil introduced “Barflies and Cocktails by Harry and Wynn” (1927).  (For more information on this little book, and a good recipe, see the Little Devil Cocktail.)  Of course, you can always get classic cocktail recipes from modern classics like Dale DeGroff’s The Craft of the Cocktail.

If you enjoy classic cocktails and begin buying old cocktail books (or replicas), you will probably run into difficulties with measures.  When a recipe calls for 1/3 of Gin or 2/3 of Bourbon, you might ask “what is 1/3? 1/3 of what?”  Fortunately, this mixologist has done some of the research for you and can report the results.  If you have a jigger that has two small, opposing, unequal measuring cups on the end of a metal rod, the smaller one (the 1/3) is usually half the size of the larger one (the 2/3).  On mine, the two cups hold ¾ and 1½ ounces respectively (1½ oz is a shot or a jigger), which become the 1/3 and 2/3.  Some of these recipes, though, call for 1/6, which then becomes only 3/8 of an ounce and is a little difficult to measure.  In cases like this, you can always adjust the quantities a little while maintaining the proportions.  That means that rather than having 2/3, 1/3, 1/6 be 1 ½ oz, ¾ oz, and 3/8 oz, you can use 2 oz, 1 oz, and ½ oz.  Just be careful that your cocktail doesn’t become too large.  Another vague measure is a “glass.”  Is that a shot glass, a wine glass, or a 12 oz tumbler?  Actually, in the old recipes a “glass” without qualification usually refers to a 3 oz glass, which might seem small, but has the benefit of delivering reasonably sized cocktails.  So here’s the Utah Mixologist’s version of the straight dope:
              1/6       3/8 oz              (or round up to ½ oz)
1/3       3/4 oz              (or round up to 1 oz)
2/3       1 1/2 oz           (or round up to 2 oz)
Glass   3 oz
For more on measurement, check out the following post on dashes.

Dash it all! How to mix consistently great cocktails

When it comes to classic cocktails, dashes are another area that causes confusion in Salt Lake City and around the world.  The next post gave you the straight dope on how to convert the measures used in classic cocktail books like the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930) and “Barflies and Cocktails by Harry and Wynn” (1927).  This time we’ll cover dashes.  A dash implies a quick flip of the wrist to inject just a bit of an ingredient into the mix, but bitters bottles have plastic stoppers that limit their output to a few drops, while a liqueur bottle could easily put out a lot more.  If you research your collection of cocktail books and search the web, you will find a dash defined to be (in teaspoons) 1/12, 1/8, 1/6, and 1/4.  So what is a cocktailian to do?  Especially if you would like to produce consistently delicious cocktails?  Well, part of the answer lies in the example above: use two different measures for a dash.  Use a smaller one, say 1/8 teaspoon, for bitters and a larger one for liqueurs etc. (try 1/4 teaspoon).  So here’s what the Utah Mixologist has been using:
            Dash of bitters             1/8 tsp
            Dash of others             1/4 tsp

Please be aware that there may be recipes where you might want a larger dash.  For example, when a recipe that includes over five or six ounces of ingredients calls for a splash of something, it probably means more than 1/4 tsp.  As always, you might want to modify these measures as your cocktail mixing skills develop to get just the taste you want.  Remember: if you modify a recipe and get it just the way you like it, write it down.  My bar includes a sheaf of printed recipes with my modifications written on them so I can reproduce them later.  And finally, be sure to have fun while working on your cocktail recipes, but always drink responsibly.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Little Devil Cocktail may give you a jab!

When Utah mixologists write their wish-lists, interesting cocktail books usually find their way into the mix.  This was the case for the Utah Mixologist when he added “Barflies and Cocktails by Harry and Wynn” to his list.  This pocket-sized, but pricey, book, first published in 1927, was written by Harry McElhone, founder of both Harry’s New York Bar (in Paris) and the International Bar Flies association (Wynn did the illustrations).  The book is brimming over with 1920’s humor (like the IBF… is that a plus?) and (more importantly) cocktail recipes.  Thumbing through turned up an interesting cocktail recipe named the Little Devil Cocktail. 

Harry acknowledges that the recipe was donated by Fritz from Ciro’s Bar in London, so this Little Devil has traveled from London to Paris to Utah.  The stated proportions for this cocktail are “1/6 Lemon Juice, 1/6 Cointreau, 1/3 Bacardi Rum, 1/3 Gin.”  This can be a little confusing (I’ll cover measures in a future post), so quantities have been adjusted in the recipe below.  It is important to note that yesterday’s Bacardi Rum is not the same as the Bacardi® Rum you can buy today, so the mixologist substituted a nice Gold Rum.  Use your favorite.  As written, this cocktail is a little tart!  The only sweet in this cocktail is the Cointreau®, perhaps a little from the Rum, and maybe some from a sweeter gin (if you have it).  If you don’t like your cocktails this tart, experiment with adding a little simple syrup.

Little Devil Cocktail

½ oz Freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ oz Cointreau Liqueur
1 oz Gold Rum
1 oz Gin (try a sweeter Gin ?)

Combine ingredients in a shaker 2/3 full of ice.  Shake briskly until the shaker frosts up a bit.  Strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with a twist of lemon peel, and be prepared for a tart treat.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cocktail ingredients Utah update – January 2011

There’s not much happening at the Utah DABC State Liquor Stores this month; they seem to have exhausted themselves for the December holidays.  A quick scan of my local store showed a lot fewer sale tags than last month, but that should come as no surprise in January.  It looked like there was a great deal on Maker’s Mark (20% off), but it turns out that the 375ml bottle is the one marked down (from $15 to $12).  The reduction is steep enough, though, that it’s a couple of bucks cheaper to but two 375ml bottles than one 750ml bottle.  A mark-down this steep is often a sign that a product (in this case the 375ml size) might be discontinued soon.

The above is not intended to imply that there is nothing good on sale this month.  Gosling’s Black Seal® Rum, for example, is one item you should pick up if your bar is bare.  Gosling’s is essential for a “legal” Dark and Stormy, so if you decide to pick some Gosling’s up, grab some Ginger Beer on the way home.  There are also some good Tequilas that are normally in the $20-$30 range marked down around 10% this month, including a couple of 1800®’s and an El Jimador® Reposado.  Both 1800 Silver and the El Jimador make great Margaritas.  Last month had some quality Rums on sale, but this month they’re more commercial and homogenized: Bacardi®, for example.

Once again this month does not appear to deliver much in the way of exciting cocktail ingredients on clearance.  If you see anything good at your local state store, post a response to this article.  You can check out what’s on sale by clicking through to the “SPA Product List” to open a price book in PDF format that shows all of the markdowns for the current month.