Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Superstar Daiquiri

Honestly, sometimes I come up with a cocktail and just wait for a particular Pittsburgh Penguins player (say that five times fast!) to "earn" it. So it was with this one. I fixed it over a month ago right before a game, just because I thought it would look cool, and it tasted good, too. I immediately thought of Max Talbot. But it wasn't the playoffs yet, so it had to wait a bit. He's been awesome against the Ottawa Senators in this first round, though, hasn't he? Last night, when he scored that shorthanded goal, there was no doubt that the Superstar was back and in fine postseason form.

Longtime (and unusually attentive) readers may have seen me post things about how I like to take advantage of in-season fruit, how I understand that nobody wants to go chasing all over town for ingredients, how I like to keep things easy, and how I hate garnishes. But as Talbot would no doubt tell you himself, he's a special case and worth a bit of extra effort during the playoffs. We're at the tail end of kiwi season. Fresh starfruit's pretty hard to find--what you'll get right now is grown in hothouses, and can probably only be found in Asian markets and/or stores in larger cities. Starfruit's pretty bland-tasting and is basically only there so I could get the "super star" garnish, so two kiwis would actually be better if you want to save time and money. Either way, it has a cool, almost poisonous-looking yellowish-green color that Talbot would probably love in a shirt.

Superstar Daiquiri

1 1/2 ounce light (a/k/a "white") rum
1 ounce Midori melon liqueur
1 kiwifruit, peeled and sliced in half
1 starfruit, sliced horizontally and peeled. (Save biggest piece for garnish.)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar

Pulse all ingredients in a blender until they're thoroughly mixed. Add a handful of ice cubes; blend until the drink's cold and frothy. Pour into a tall glass. Garnish with starfruit slice on the rim. Don't wait too long to drink it!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Annual Goal

My basil's coming up next week, I'm sure of it! Hopefully I'll be drinking this cocktail with some of those leaves as the Penguins continue in the playoffs. I have faith that they will, though, as much faith as I do in my basil, despite the fact that they lost Game 1 of the first round to the Ottawa Senators last night.

One of the reasons why I have faith is the fact that Craig Adams scored his annual goal. What a wonderfully well-timed goal it was, too. It brought the Penguins back from the 2-4 brink and energized the fans at Mellon Arena. I might have been bouncing on the couch shrieking, "Hell yeah, we can DO THIS!" I may be a bit late by my own standards, but I'm not letting that go unnoticed.

I put this together last summer. It's prepared like a mojito, but...well, not exactly. My decision to try basil because it was ready and the mint wasn't led me to a few other substitutions, though the end result *looked* like a mojito. The flavor, however, is refreshingly different. Enjoy!

The Annual Goal

2 ounces gin
handful of fresh basil leaves
1 scant tablespoon sugar
About 1/2 ounce lemon juice
2 ounces club soda

Put basil leaves in the bottom of a large glass. Fill halfway with crushed ice. Add gin, sugar, and lemon juice, then muddle the basil. (I like a wooden spoon best for this.) Top with soda water.

Note on ingredients: I usually use Sugar in the Raw, a/k/a demerara, for a regular mojito with mint, lime and rum. It'll be distractingly, jarringly sweet here. Plain white sugar works best.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Best Decision

Okay, the Washington Capitals have officially swept the Penguins. (I threw up in my mouth a little typing that.) There were a couple good things about last night's game, though. Really. The first is that, as so often happens when he plays the Capitals, Sidney Crosby went from "cute kid, great butt, super-awesome hockey player" to "oh, my, sexy as hell!" for the night. The second is that one of the two new guys, defenseman Jordan Leopold, scored not one but two goals for the Penguins last night. Leopold is a very capable defenseman, but not exactly a goal-scoring machine--these two goals brought him up to ten for the season. I find his attempts at Capitals-killing really charming. So does a Penguins fan I follow on Twitter, who described him as "BEST DECISION WE MADE ALL YEAR" last night. She gave the cocktail I fixed myself last night its name.

I'm warning y'all, this is gonna look *so* gross on the page. But it's pretty decent in the glass. My beloved L'Ailee thought she wanted grape juice this weekend, so she bought a big bottle. She enjoyed a couple of glasses, then got sick of it. I got sick of that bottle taking up valuable real estate in my refrigerator, so decided to try it as a mixer.

I love to, as a cooking mentor of mine put it, "echo" a flavor in multiple ways within the same dish or drink, so I bought myself an airplane bottle of Ciroc grape vodka. As you can imagine, Ciroc stirred into grape juice was awfully sweet, so much so I wanted to pour it down the sink. But I don't want to be wasteful, so what could I cut that grapey sweetness with? Why, grapefruit soda, of course. I got out a can of Fresca. I took a sip. I settled down with the resulting cocktail. Much like Leopold, it worked out pretty well after I gave it a chance.

Best Decision

4 ounces chilled Concord grape juice
1 1/2 ounce Ciroc vodka
2 ounces Fresca

Pour grape juice into a tall glass. Stir Ciroc into it. Float Fresca on top. Stir lightly.