Wednesday, September 21, 2011

First Taste of Hockey

I haven't done much here at Cocktails with the Penguins, or my personal blog either, this summer. I've been busy, and Twitter has absorbed most of my words. Also, it's been one hell of a depressing offseason. But we have hockey tonight! Pittsburgh Penguins hockey! It may only be preseason, but it's against the Detroit Red Wings and looks to be lots of fun. (My wife and I have bet our earlobes, and I sincerely hope I'm not wearing her itchy, ugly Winged Wheel earrings to work tomorrow.)

I came up with a drink involving late summer/early autumn fruit that tastes as good as preseason hockey feels. Get out the blender!

First Taste of Hockey

Half a black or red plum
4 ounces peach cider
2 ounces bourbon
Dash of ginger
Dash of vanilla
Cup of ice

Peel and seed the plum half. (Eat the other, or do whatever else you want with it.) Puree it with half of the peach cider and half of the bourbon. When that's smooth, add in the ice, ginger, vanilla, rest of the cider, and rest of the bourbon. Blend together. Pour into a tumbler, enjoy the game, and hope that absolutely no Penguins get hurt!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Painkiller for Trade Week

Hockey's over for the summer, but there's still a lot going on in Penguins Nation. There are the optimistic reports: Sidney Crosby's working out twice a day, like he did in summers before the concussion! Evgeni Malkin's healing up from his ACL surgery really well! Dan Bylsma swears he's working on the power play! The Philadelphia Flyers finally got a decent goalie, but jettisoned their best forwards to pay for him!

Then there are the moments when we realize how different our own team will look very soon. Tyler Kennedy became an unrestricted free agent today, after writing his resume late last season. Max Talbot turned down an offer from Ray Shero. Rumors of Jaromir Jagr's possible return have longtime fans getting jumpy. And as I write, something else may have happened.

So. We need something good and strong. Something to take away the pain we'll be feeling as we refresh Twitter and our favorite Pittsburgh Penguins forums the next few days. I can't think of anything better than the Painkiller, a terrific tiki classic. The following is the traditional recipe, though the proportions of the non-liquor ingredients can be played with to make a stronger or weaker (and still quite tasty) drink.


2 ounces dark rum
4 ounces pineapple juice
1 ounce coconut cream
1 ounce orange juice

Shake with a few ice cubes, then strain into an tall glass filled with ice. Sprinkle ground nutmeg on top.

If you feel like working a little harder, I've been enjoying this rum-infused Painkiller sorbet as well.

NOTE ON INGREDIENTS: The original recipe calls specifically for Pusser's dark rum. I don't endorse any brand, and have had no problem with other brands. Fresh orange juice is also recommended, but it's hard to come by this time of year. Any good not-from-concentrate orange juice with a bit of pulp will work.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sidney's Superstition

As Penguins fans, we hated the 2011 Winter Classic, but loved HBO's 24/7 series. One of the better parts addressed Sidney Crosby's many superstitions, including his 5 pm peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I wanted to do this drink in his honor, and then his season ended in early January. But, his doctor's cleared him for his usual summer workout routine. This made me pathetically happy after that depressing 2010-11 season. So, celebrate the fact that we (knock on wood!) have Crosby on his way back to us with this shooter. He can't have it at 5 pm on game day, but that shouldn't stop you this fall. It's better than putting on a nasty old cup, anyway.

Sidney's Superstition

1 ounce Castries peanut liqueur
1 ounce strawberry vodka

Shake ingredients together in a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice until well-blended. Serve in a shot glass immediately. Recipe can easily be multiplied for a group.

NOTE ON INGREDIENTS: I don't specifically endorse Castries, and I'm certainly not getting paid by any liquor company. I simply don't know any other peanut liqueur. (My first "peanut butter and jelly"-ish shooter was actually made with Frangelico.) This one's very creamy, intense, and rum-based.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Adios Motherfucker, Redux

I'd love to be welcoming Sidney Crosby back with a peanut-butter-and-jelly shooter, but that's most likely not going to happen. We don't get Matt Cooke back unless the Penguins go to the second round, and Evgeni Malkin is still on the mend. So. Our boys need to use the forces they have. We've seen them do it for months now, to much better effect than they have the past two games.

I've posted this classic drink recipe before, but it's even more appropriate now that the Tampa Bay Lightning forced a Game 7 in the quarterfinals. Birds of the Burgh suggested on Twitter last night that I make a drink for a team facing elimination and make it strong. Nothing else seems more right than this.

While you're making this Wednesday evening, one of my favorite fight songs: "Comanche", by the Revels.

Adios Motherfucker

1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz light rum
1/2 oz silver tequila
1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz blue curacao liqueur
2 oz sweet and sour mix
2 oz lemon-lime soda

Pour all the ingredients except for the lemon-lime soda into a chilled glass filled with ice cubes. Float soda on top. Stir gently.

Let's grind these bitches down!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Arron Appreciation

When Arron Asham first came to the Pittsburgh Penguins from the Philadelphia Flyers, I was among the skeptics. I joked about how Asham would have to "wash the Flyers stink off with tomato juice," as one does when they're sprayed by a skunk.

When Asham scored his second goal of the playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning last night, it occured to me that he deserved a drink. This is a variation on the Highland Mary or Mary, Queen of Scots, which uses Scotch instead of vodka. I don't like Bloody Marys of any description, but after all, Asham needs that tomato juice. I also don't eat meat. That said, it can't all be citrus, spice, and everything nice here at Cocktails with the Penguins, and a friend of mine really liked this, so some of you may, too.

Arron Appreciation

1 1/2 ounces Scotch
1/2 cup tomato juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 dashes Tabasco Chipotle sauce
dash Worcestershire sauce
2 regular-size pieces Slim Jim or similar beef jerky

Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker with a handful of ice. Snap one of the jerky pieces in half, and add that to the shaker to flavor the drink. Shake until blended. Strain into a tall glass half-filled with ice. Use the other piece of jerky as a garnish/swizzle stick.

Ingredient note: The flavors in here are so rich, there's no need to waste a truly great Scotch on this. Go ahead and use the cheap stuff.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Pittsburgh Penguin

Recipes for cocktails called the Detroit Red Wing and Dallas Star exist. I believe I invented something that can fairly be called the San Jose Shark a couple weeks ago. (Like other people, I got inspired by the teal color of their uniforms. I won't post it until later, if at all.) When I decided to share the San Jose Shark on Twitter, I felt kinda bad that I'd never gotten around to creating something worth calling the Pittsburgh Penguin.

Then I found out about a Kahlua cocktail called a Panda Bear. I love pandas. I love all black and white animals. I'm not ashamed to admit that this is why the Penguins logo initially caught my attention. I liked the concept of the dark Kahlua with something creamy, but hate milk in a cocktail. I also got inspired by the Dallas Star to use Goldschlager, as Vegas Gold is part of the team's colors.

I enjoyed the hell out of it last night, though the Penguins weren't on. I like almost every cocktail I improvise. They're like children--I value each one because I made them and it cost a bomb to bring them into this world. (I don't use cheap liquor.) So I did a quick Twitterpoll. My tweeps' response confirmed that I was on to something.

So, finally, *the* Pittsburgh Penguin cocktail!

Pittsburgh Penguin

1 1/2 ounce Kahlua
1 ounce cream of coconut
1 ounce Goldschlager
crushed ice

Shake all liquid ingredients in a shaker. Fill an old-fashioned glass about two-thirds of the way with crushed ice. Pour the liquid over the ice.

Should any Penguins fan have a different idea of what would fit, or know of a drink called the Pittsburgh Penguin that existed before this one, I'm listening.

Note on ingredients: I am not compensated by any company, and do not endorse any brand. I use brand names here only because I don't know any substitutes for the types of liquor used.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Real Deal Neal

I missed an opportunity to name a drink after James Neal when he scored his first goal as a Pittsburgh Penguin, and this one's amazing, so I'm making up for it.

Detroit Red Wings games are always super-stressful for me, because I'm married to a Red Wings fan. Since we're both women, we traditionally bet that the one whose team loses will wear the other's NHL team earrings to work the next day. I was happily visualizing the Penguins earrings in her lobes when the Penguins proceeded to piss away a 4-0 lead (or the Wings came back, or both). The Wings tied it, and the game went to shootout. Of...course!

Joey McDonald had done a terrific job for the Wings after Jimmy Howard was chased out of the net. But it wasn't quite enough. James Neal, after lots of good tries throughout the game, scored the one and only shootout goal. That was all the Penguins needed, really. And so, in gratitude to Neal for keeping those ugly, itchy Winged Wheels out of my earlobes, I offer this. I'm still in love with variations on the caipirinha, and I'm surprised at myself for not thinking to combine two of my favorite flavors sooner. Maybe this can help you forget controversies involving elbow-happy wingers for a moment.

Real Deal Neal

2 ounces vanilla-flavored vodka
1 small lime or half a large lime, cut into wedges
1 teaspoon sugar

Muddle the lime and sugar in an old-fashioned glass (a wooden spoon or piece of sugar cane is best). Fill the glass with ice, crushed if possible. Pour vanilla vodka over it. Stir, then sip.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Justin Deffrey

Yes, I know that the Pittsburgh Penguins' *former* AHL call-up, who was recently given the chance at the full-time NHL role he deserves, is named Dustin Jeffrey. But fans and announcers alike sometimes get confused and want to call him "Justin." It really happens after a drink or three.

Jeffrey's two goals last night, one in the first period and the game-winning goal in overtime, were sweet by any name. The Penguins have still gone over a month without winning in regulation, but in the past couple of weeks, it seemed like they were getting either one pity point or nothing. The team and the fans needed a win badly, and Jeffrey delivered. He and Jordan Staal snapped the Boston Bruins' seven-game winning streak.

I decided to toss together random ingredients during the second intermission because I was craving something tiki-ish and I didn't want to walk the streets of Brooklyn on Saturday night. I always have dark rum and cherry liqueur in my kitchen, and I like cream of coconut more than is good for me. You'll probably have a hard time with anyone's name after this.

Justin Deffrey

2 ounces dark rum
2 ounces cream of coconut
1 ounce cherry liqueur
1 ounce pineapple juice
dash allspice

Pour all ingredients in cocktail shaker with a handful of ice. Shake for about 30 seconds. Pour the resulting drink into a hurricane glass mostly filled with ice, preferably crushed.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sweet Whiskey Nisky

I haven't been inspired for a while, partly because I was busy and partly because of the rash of injuries that hit the Penguins this winter. But I'm optimistic about the new guys. One of them, Matt Niskanen, was best known earlier this season as that dude on the Dallas Stars who got his ass handed to him by Sidney Crosby. That will change soon. Niskanen scored his first goal with the Penguins last night and assisted Chris Conner out of his 17-game goal-less streak. While it wasn't enough to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, his effort was definitely welcome, as was the one pity point.

A Penguins fan on Twitter (I forget who) tweeted "Sweet whiskey Nisky!" in response to his goal. I got inspired. I had a bit of limoncello that I just hadn't felt like using in my kitchen, so I used that. I love the combination of lemon and honey. I ended up with this while trying to avoid Mike Milbury on Versus during first intermission. This took the edge off when I realized I actually agreed with him that Antti Niemi deserved that nice new contract with the San Jose Sharks.

Sweet Whiskey Nisky

1 1/2 ounces whiskey
1 ounce limoncello
1 teaspoon honey
handful of ice

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake like crazy. Pour into a glass, ice and all. Good for sipping.