THE QUAFF: Jalapeño Green Tea Mojitos Edition


Earlier this week, I brought you tales of classic mojitos. Now I come to you with a variation on the theme. Introducing the jalapeño green tea mojito, a cocktail invented by my friend Sly and me and patterned after the wonderful green tea mojito, which was also featured on this here blog (with me in a Vanilla Ice costume, no less).

After the jump, check out this very special Quaff — special because my parents were present for the entire experience…

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THE QUAFF: Classic Mojito Edition


A week ago, I attended a lovely Memorial Day BBQ at my friend’s house, and when I asked if I could bring anything, the hostess suggested that I bring some hard alcohol for summer cocktails. This immediately got my brain working: I knew I had mint in my fridge… and mint makes me think of mojitos… and mojitos makes me think of rum… and rum makes me think of pirates… and pirates makes me think of the Caribbean… and the Caribbean–

Wait. I’ve taken this word association too far. Let’s go back to mojitos. Clearly, this would be a perfect barbecue option, and besides, I didn’t really have much experience making classic mojitos. Sure, I’ve made the green tea variation dozens of times (including a variation on that variation to be published on this blog in the next few days), but I’ve rarely made claaaasssic mojitos.

WELL, after a quick trip to Ralphs supermarket (where a handle of Bacardi was marked down from $27 to $13!!), I trotted over to my friend’s house to assemble some pitchers of the much loved Cuban cocktail. My usual trusty photographer Sly was off in the Rocky Mountains somewhere, pedaling a pennyfarthing from one cowboy town to another, and so I had to rely on the photographic skills of our friend Havarti. I’m proud to say she did a fine job, especially given the backlighting and the limitations of my iPhone camera.

Pictures after the jump…

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THE QUAFF: Fresh Cocktail Hour Returns!


A horrendous thing has happened in Los Angeles: my dear friend Sly and I have ceased making cocktails. Terrible, I know. To be fair, it really isn’t my fault. Every time I invite Sly over to make a beverage, she always denies me coldly — often with some excuse such as “I’m sorry, I just ate three pistachios” or “I’m sorry, but I’m currently perusing a pamphlet about Rodin” or “I’m sorry, but I may have just boarded a flight to Durban.”

Luckily, as the fates would have it, Sly decided to grace me with her presence this past weekend, and with her was Aletheia, who sharp-minded blog readers may remember from the verrrrry first Quaff post, known affectionately then as Fresh Cocktail Hour. Anyway, the two lovely ladies showed up at my apartment with sacks of produce from the farmer’s market, all meant to be juiced, muddled, and transformed into cocktails. Clearly, we had work to do.

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THE QUAFF: Fun with Veev Açaí Spirit!


Recently I received a complimentary bottle of VeeV Açaí Spirit, which meant I had to face one of my biggest fears: berries. For the uninitiated, I have something neurologically wrong wherein I detest the thing that millions — perhaps BILLIONS — of people worldwide love. I speak, of course, of the berry. I hate almost all berries. I’ve come around to cranberries, and I suppose a caper is technically a berry, and I’m okay with those, but all the rest: big problems for me. Huge. It’s not even that I dislike them but can tolerate them in food. I usually want to gag when I smell, or worse, taste berries.

However, I’m determined to have some breakthroughs this year because after all, I do aspire to call myself an unqualified foodie (I mean that in every sense of the term), and I’m not sure I can live up to that title if an entire realm of foods is verboten to me.

And so when the VeeV arrived, I was determined to take on the challenge head on. With the help of Paul Abercrombie’s Organic, Shaken, and Stirred, my friend Sly and I delved into the wide world of AÇAÍ!

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THE QUAFF: The Mysterious Stranger


Some things look beautiful but taste average. Some things look nasty but taste really good. And some things look bad and taste worse.

When my friend IndianJones and I endeavored to make The Mysterious Stranger cocktail from Paul Abercrombie’s Organic, Shaken & Stirred cocktail book, we had some serious fears that the cocktail would fall in that last dreaded category. I mean, this was one nasty looking libation. However, Paul Abercrombie had yet to steer us wrong. Even the worst recipes were still pretty solid. Would the Mysterious Stranger be the first true disappointment from Organ, Shaken & Stirred? Or would this beverage be something of an ugly duckling. Results after the jump… Continue reading

THE QUAFF: A National Margarita Day Celebration of Don Julio!


Today is National Margarita Day, and in honor of the day, I plan to a) have a margarita later, and b) celebrate its most vital component: tequila! I’ve gained a recent appreciation for the notorious spirit, which had previously ranked low on my favorite alcohols. However, thanks to a handy tasting seminar in December courtesy of Jose Cuervo, I actually no longer approach tequila with apprehension and fear. In fact, I look forward to it. Imagine my pleasure when Don Julio sent me three complimentary bottles to sample: blanco, reposado, and anejo. This was a task I was only too happy to take on.

Well, just last week, my quaffing buddy Sly was down at my apartment watching the Grammys with me, and as we listened to Christina Aguilera screech and bellow her way through yet another horrific performance, we realized that this was the ideal time to bust out some tequila. And so that’s what we did.

Our experiences with Don Julio after the jump…

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THE QUAFF: Thai Boxer Edition, Featuring An Epic Feat of Strength


About a week ago, I saw an intriguing cocktail book on sale at Williams-Sonoma. It was called Artisanal Cocktails and written by Scott Beattie, who apparently is a big time mixologist up in the Bay Area. I figured it would be a nice change of pace from Paul Abercrombie’s Organic, Shaken, and Stirred, which I’d been mining for drinks for the past four months. And so I happily purchased Artisanal Cocktails, knowing that a new Quaff would be en route.

Sure enough, there was an intriguing cocktail in the book called the Thai Boxer, which called for coconut milk and many herbs (mint, basil, cilantro), among other things. It fascinated me greatly, and as luck would have it, I had some coconut milk on hand that needed to be used. In no time, my friend Sly was at my apartment, ready to help conjure up this first attempt at a Scott Beattie recipe.

Our adventure, including a lengthy battle with my new cocktail shaker, after the jump…

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