gin tagged posts

Greek Delight: a Masticha Cocktail

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There is a great Greek dessert that is called Greek Delight. It is actually more widely known as Turkish Delight, since it originated in Turkey. Some people still dispute that which is reasonable. After 400 years of culinary overlap recipes did exchange back and forth and many dishes lost origin. We can, however, give the credit to the Turkish for the development of this delightful dessert. Actually the Greek name of the dessert is loukoumi, very close to the turkish that is loukoum. Greeks though will keep calling it Greek delight just because. The delightful dessert is a gel made with corn starch, sugar and a flavoring. It is then covered in a mixture of powder sugar and cornstarch to prevent the pieces from sticking with each other, and on your fingers. The flavors predominant in Turkey are rose and pistachio. In Greece it is mastiha and rose. Mastiha is a unique spice produced at the island of Chios. In the past I have made another cocktail flavored with Mastiha and even a cheesecake. Here I make a cocktail inspired by the flavors of the Greek Delight (Mastiha and Rose). This cocktail merges the flavor of Masticha and Rose in one unique combination.

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Pink Penguin

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As the summer continues its course through the calendar year, cocktails hit the peak of their demand. Cocktails are one of the best beverages to cool off with under the hot summer sun. It is not just that they are over ice. It is the combination of all the ingredients working together to wake you up and tease the senses during the hot day or night. It is not a coincidence that most well-known cocktails were invented in hot and tropical places: Mojito in Cuba, Daiquiri in Miami, Caipirinia in Brazil Piña Colada in Puerto Rico... the list goes on!

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Samanya: A Tribute to Bartendering

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In 1948 when David A. Embury was publishing the book “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks” little he knew it will become a classic cocktail book, praised 70 years later. The book attempted to put an order to the mess of the cocktails and all the different mixed drinks that right after the end of the second World War became a growing trend. He laid down a few simple rules and concepts that can be a guide, a compass for every bartender. The peak era of the cocktails was in the 60s. The Rat Pack and James Bond made cocktails cool. And then came the 70’s. The Dance floor was steamy hot. The dancers need to cool down and get energy. Slowly the Martini and the Manhatan gave their place to neon colored sissified drinks.The 90s came along and Jazz, Blues and the Funk all became popular again. And just like a whole new generation was rediscovering the music, the cocktails became popular again. The bartenders gave up the colorful drinks for tasteful drinks. The globalization brought in the scene new high proof alcohols and more exquisite flavors. Suddenly David A. Embury’s book was rediscovered. The old copies skyrocketed to hundreds of dollars. It went back in press. David did not dictate, he suggested. He suggested 5 simple rules.

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Rakitini: A Tsikoudia Cocktail

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This is the third recipe that has a special meaning. It is from my island in Greece the glorious island of Crete, and even more specifically from my Home town, the town of Ierapetra ( Ιεράπετρα ) that literally translates as Hollystone. Crete is most known for the agriculture and farming, ranging from olive oil, vegetables and wine to animal farming (sheep and goats) and fishing. It is in a way self sustained island. The wine industry although not well developed is responsible for a great by product. All the leftover grape mush after the juice is extracted. This waste is converted to one of the most celebrated distilled spirit of Crete tsikoudia (τσικουδιά) or raki after the turkish version of another distilled spirit. One difference with all the other spirits? It is never mixed, not even with ice. Always straight, never in a cocktail. Well things are about to change. I just made a perfect cocktail based on the same techniques of all the classic cocktails.

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The perfect Martini

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About the martini I have already spoken. A whole series of posts targeting the 7 drinks that a bar tender has to master to consider himself an mixologist. Knowing how to make it and mastering is two different things. It is what makes a Martini, a good Martini, or a great Martini. I am not going to talk about the history of the Martini. I have all you need here. Today I am going to show you, how to master (hahahaa, like it is easy) more like how to make a good martini.

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