Tastes like Christmas

Cinnamon and orange -

Cinnamon and orange – the recipe calls for cream or Sprite. Above I chose Sprite.

I have always enjoyed Christmas. Our Christmas Tree dominates our living room, the smell of cinnamon candles drifts through the air and holiday music starts playing as early as December 1st.

My decorations both around the home and on the tree have been collected since I was about two, including hand made Christmas decorations my mom lovingly collected from me each year and kept safe. These gems originally hung on my parent’s family tree, along with by siblings creations and the decorations we received from friends and family each year. Now that I have my own family, I received all these treasures and they hang along side those my kids have brought home or received on our family tree. And because I am crafty, there are some new decorations that we have made as a family, hanging amongst the rest.

One of my favourite family crafts at Christmas is to make pomanders. The smell of cloves, cinnamon and orange permeate the air for weeks after and the smell will continually remind me of the festive season, along with pine needles and turkey.

So when I started thinking about Christmas beverages — and wanted to make something new to contribute — my first thought went to orange and cinnamon. The result was tasted and tested for perfection and described as “tastes like Christmas!” by my daughters.

Liquid Pomander Shooter

Ingredients:
Procedure:

Fill a third shot glass with cinnamon syrup. Carefully layer orange juice concentrate over this to fill next third glass. Repeat with whipping cream  (or sprite) for last third of glass to fill. Serve.

My Thoughts:

This is a simple but powerful drink packs a punch. I originally made this recipe with Sprite, wishing to maintain the purity of the pomander flavours of cinnamon and orange. The result was very sweet and too strong for my children.

By adding a layer of cream, the tartness of the concentrated orange juice blends with the cream when you tip the combo back, leaving a sweet but bright taste once done. My youngest still found he cinnamon too strong though, saying she needed water, or more pointing at the water since it seems the drink left her speechless.

Kid-o-metre 3/5 Strong cinnamon taste not appealing to some younger kids.
Taste: 4/5  Most who tasted this liked it.
Simplicity: 4/5 Once you get the hang of layering, this is easy to do. One simple syrup to make ahead.
Ingredient finding: 5/5 All ingredients available, all year.

Bottoms Up!

After Dinner Mint Shooter

After Dinner Mint Shooter: Liquid candy.

After Dinner Mint Shooter: Liquid candy.

When I was creating layers shooters with the Christmas Holidays in mind, my husband requested I come up with something reminiscent of an after dinner mint.

In researching what was commonly done for this, because this has been done before with liqueurs, I found that the common ingredients were layers of chocolate liqueurs (either white creme de cacao, swiss chocolate almond liqueur, white chocolate liqueur), creme de menthe and baileys irish cream. One recipe suggested omitting the chocolate for a second layer of coffee liqueur called Tia Maria.

Knowing my audience, a stronger chocolate component was called for. Something truer to the original dinner mint. I had three options: cacao nib syrup (made with unsweetened cacao nibs), chocolate syrup (made with cocoa cocoa powder), and drinking chocolate (made with semi sweet chocolate) . Which would be closest to the true flavour of the chocolate candy?

First up: Cacao Nib Syrup. Our thoughts… the Cacao Nib lend a chocolate taste, but also a bit acidic. Not the right fit for this drink.

Next: chocolate syrup. Too strong!

Lastly: Drinking chocolate. Just right.

After dinner mint shooter

This is our favourite of the bunch we tested.

Ingredients:
Procedure:

Layer the drinks in the order above, starting with the mint and ending with the cream. Serve.

My Thoughts:

This was made for my hubby. What did he think. “Just what it should taste like” were his exact words. Seems I got it right. The kids loved it and I think that the more subtle flavour of the chocolate matched the sweet and light flavour of the mint syrup.

Kid-o-metre 5/5
Taste: 5/5
Simplicity: 4/5
Ingredient finding: 5/5

Terry’s Chocolate Orange Shooter

Powerful Orange and Chocolate flavours with the smoothness of cream.

Powerful Orange and Chocolate flavours with the smoothness of cream.

Fun chocolate facts: did you know that 16 of the top 20 consuming countries are European? Or that 22% of all chocolate is eaten between 8pm and midnight? Or how about that in winter the more chocolate is eaten than any other season. Yep! So according to the World Atlas of Chocolate if you are sitting here reading this at 9pm on a bleak winter day in Europe your most likely going to be eating chocolate! Hehe.

So with Christmas coming up the idea of working with chocolate just sounds like a good idea. The idea of creating a drink inspired by the Terry’s Chocolate Orange is not a new one, since the chocolate confection was first created in 1931 according to Wikipedia. So, as part of my research the first step is always to see what has been done. Martin came up with a Chocolate Orange Cocktail he says is a hit with women using  Kahlua, Baileys, Grande Marnier and cream, you can find his recipe here. Ian Cameron of the Difford’s Guide tells of a Bitter Chocolate Orange Cocktail using Campri, Dark Chocolate Liqueur, Vodka and orange juice which you can read more about here. And Drinknation has a recipe featuring Creme de Cacao, Grande Marnier and cream which you can check out here.

Two very entertaining kids calling themselves Mocktails4kids even created a non alcoholic version of a chocolate and orange drink featuring orange juice, cream and Fee Brothers Creme de Cacao. You can check out their YouTube video here. I was so impressed with these two kids and decided to try their recipe with my own Cacao Syrup ( Fee Brothers syrup would cost more that I can justify to have it shipped up north) and agree with their dad/producer that doubling the chocolate (or even tripling it) is required to balance the flavours.

What about shooters though? Bar None Drinks suggests a combination of Creme de Cacao and Triple Sec with a touch of cream, and cocktail:uk suggests a combination of Kalhua and Curacao with or without Baileys. But no virgin shooter featuring chocolate and orange flavours. Ok so now there is one!

Terry’s Chocolate Orange Shooter

This shooter features North Canadian Drinking Chocolate I created back in October and a strong orange taste. In order to cream it up, I added a layer of cream as the final layer.

Ingredients:
Procedure:

Pour orange juice concentrate into bottom of shot glass. Spoon (it’s too thick to pour) Drinking Chocolate onto this layer so it floats. Carefully top with whipping cream and serve.

My Thoughts:

This is exactly what I wanted for this drink. Strong chocolate flavour – but true chocolate flavour; and bright orange flavour from the concentrate without the sweetness of a syrup. As someone who absolutely loves orange juice, this is a perfect dessert shooter. The chocolate needs to be room temp though, or you’ll have a problem getting all that wonderful chocolate out of the bottom of the glass.

Kid-o-metre 5/5 kids loved this!
Taste: 5/5 yup yummy!
Simplicity: 2/5 the layering is a bit tricky, and the one layer is more challenging.
Ingredient finding: 5/5 all easy to find locally.

Chai Shooter

chai shooter and chai

Chai Shooter and Hot Frothed Chai.

I love tea. My dad got me into Earl Grey years ago, and if I am looking for a solid anytime tea, that is my choice, with milk and sugar (never could go black). But if I was to choose a hot drink for comfort, for curling up on the couch and reading a book, I would go to my stash of Chai Tea, brew it up with honey and milk and sit back and relax to the aroma of cinnamon, ginger & cardamon.

According to the Mighty Leaf, chai tea is 5000 years old and originates in the courts of Siam and India, created originally as a healing drink. Considering the health properties of ginger and cardamon are said to include assisting with nausea, infection, colds and flu; and cinnamon also is said to have similar properties, assisting with colds, infection and upset stomach; it doesn’t surprise me that one would turn to this drink for comfort and has become popular across the globe.

Chai now comes in vanilla and chocolate flavours, in lattes and in iced drinks. So how about creating a shooter?

Chai Infusion

In order to create something authentic I went back to the basics and found a recipe for chai tea —from scratch— and made up a strong chai infusion as my base. You can find both this recipe and the recipe for other common chai drinks here. Here is how I altered it for my purposes

Ingredients:
  • 12 black tea bags
  • 5 sticks cinnamon
  • 1/8 cup black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup cardamon pods
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 inches ginger root, sliced and peeled
  • 4-5 cups water
  • 2 cups brown sugar
Procedure:

Put cinnamon, pepper, cardamon and cloves into ziplock bag and crack with rolling pin or hammer until broken but not powder. Add to water, teabags and ginger in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and steep for 1 hour. Add sugar and boil 5 minutes until sugar dissolves. Cool and strain with double strainer. Return liquid to heat and simmer 30 minutes to concentrate syrup. Cool and store until needed in fridge.

Chai Shooter

Ingredients:

Procedure:

Pour chai infusion into shot glass, mix cream and cinnamon syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice and layer over chai infusion. Serve.

My Thoughts:

In order to create a strong flavour I blended cinnamon syrup with cream and layered that over the chai infusion in a shot glass. The result was a stronger hit of cinnamon, similar to if one had topped their latte with ground cinnamon, and sweetening the first flavours hitting the tastebuds.

This would be lovely as a hot drink too, using heated chai infusion and frothing the cream and syrup before pouring over the drink and served in a demitasse.

Darkness Falls

Drinks made with Black Liquorice Syrup. From left to right:

Drinks made with Black Licorice Syrup. From left to right: Ghost Shooter, Spicy Night Cocktail, Tiger Ice Cream Shooter and Black Lagoon Mocktail

Today’s focus, for the second halloween blog, is black drinks.

When researching spooky drinks, I came across some beautiful layered drinks both shots and martinis featuring black vodka. The idea of layering a black beverage appealed to me, and I had just the ingredients in my kitchen! So in honour of me mum, who is a huge licorice fan, I created a black licorice flavoured syrup and started my experiments on what could be done with this new ingredient.

Black Licorice Syrup

The goal here is to make a concentrated syrup that will work even when diluted by half without loosing it’s flavour in the recipe. With all syrups, the best test is to mix 1:1 with water. If the resulting taste is perfect than the original syrup will work well in drink mixes.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 oz aniseed (or 1 tbsp aniseed extract)
  • Black food colouring (I used Duff Goldman brand)
Procedure:

Blend aniseed (or extract) with water and bring to a boil. Simmer 10 minutes then remove from heat if using seeds and allow to steep 30 minutes. Strain and add sugar. Cook until sugar dissolves completely, then add food colouring drop by drop until the desired darkness is reached (about 10-15 drops). Because this food colouring looks purple when not strong enough, be sure to check syrup for darkness – you want BLACK. Taste syrup, it should be sweet and licorice flavoured. If still bitter add more sugar, if too weak and you have aniseed extract on hand ad a few drops until desired concentration is reached.

Ok that’s the foundation. Now for the fun!

Tiger Ice Cream Shooters

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First up, something fun to play with densities. Since Black Licorice syrup is definitely NOT black vodka, one cannot expect it to float on just about everything.

Black vodka is coloured with black Catechu and has no flavour other than that of the vodka – or so they say. Black vodka is also 80 proof, so wowee zowee it’s definitely NOT virgin! But does float nicely.

Sambuca, is another anise (or licorice) flavoured adult only beverage – and while not black is only 42% alcohol and in the liqueur category. Good! Nice to know, and somewhat relevant if searching for recipe ideas online.

Since my syrup is denser than any alcoholic original, I can’t expect it to float and have to find other ingredients that will float on it instead. Turns out that orange juice, both concentrated and in it’s normal diluted version both float nicely on syrups with a 1:1 sugar to water concentration. OK! Here goes the testing.

My first kick at the can was to layer concentrated OJ over the syrup and see how that faired. Too strong, too sweet. My hubby says also too orange tasting. Next try: three layers, same two on the bottom, but an added layer of cream (since it’s supposed to be like ice-cream eh!).Still not perfect. The cream hits the pallet too fast and is gone before the liquorice gets to your tongue.

So I tried mixing the cream and orange first then layering it on top. Better. Closer. Now to perfect it. According to my daughter, Tiger ice-cream is more orange than licorice. So, 1/3 licorice to 2/3 orange should do it. What was the verdict. Pretty Good!

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 oz black licorice syrup
  • 1/2 oz orange juice concentrate
  • 1/2 oz whipping cream
Procedure:

Pour syrup into bottom of shot glass. Mix juice and cream in cocktail shaker and dry shake (shake with no ice). Layer onto the syrup in the shot and serve.

My Thoughts:

I thought to drop a 2 oz ball of vanilla ice-cream into the mix, increasing the glass size to compensate. While it looks pretty, the drink becomes impossible to drink in a gulp and, since this is a layered drink, that is required to blend the flavours of the two layers. So, ice cream is not an option, regardless of cool (pun intended) factor of the ice-cream!

Kid-o-metre 3/5 one of two kids likes this in my family
Taste: 3/5 Half of us like licorice, the other half not so much.
Simplicity: 4/5 One syrup, and the easiest thing to layer ever!
Ingredient finding: 3/5 Having aniseed in town is great, having aniseed extract in my cupboard was even better, made it easier. Black food colouring though needs to be picked up out of town.

Ghost Shooters

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This next shooter is another attempt to layer – but I wanted to try a different blend of flavours than the common orange and licorice. So I checked out what pairs with licorice or anise and came up with the idea of chocolate. Well, I happened to have some white chocolate cream left, so why not! The result is a layer of white chocolaty goodness floating like a ghost over the black drink. Add some whipped cream and some chocolate ships for eyes…Yup, spooky!

Ingredients:
  • 1  oz Black Licorice Syrup
  • 1/2 White Chocolate Cream
  • whipping cream – whipped
  • 2 chocolate chips
Procedure: 

Pour syrup into bottom of shot glass, carefully layer the chocolate cream over the syrup and let settle for a minute. Top generously with whipped cream, add two chocolate chips and serve.

My Thoughts:

They now sell chocolate covered licorice, so this combo wasn’t much of a stretch. Does it work in a shooter? Yup. Sweet and creamy dessert type shooter. However don’t tryp to do this with no hands as some whipped cream topped shooters dictate. You’ll choke on the chocolate chips, and the chocolate cream is too thick to tip upside down, but mostly you’ll choke. Trust me. I tried it.

Kid-o-metre 3/5 not a hit – even with chocolate
Taste: 3/5 an aquired taste.
Simplicity: 3/5 two recipes, not hard though. Minimal ingredients required.
Ingredient finding: 3/5

Black Lagoon Mocktail

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This next recipe is an adaptation of Matha Stewarts Black Lagoon Cocktail. She had the great idea of making licorice flavoured ice cubes and then floating them in a blend of rosemary lemon vodka and seltzer. I had a similar syrup that I chose to use – stronger citrus flavour and brilliant in the drink. If I made the drink with club soda – hold the vodka – and followed the rest of the recipe I should in theory be able to create an all ages version.

Ingredients:
  • 2 oz rosemary citrus syrup (recipe below)
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 oz club soda
  • Licorice Ice Cubes
  • Black liquorice for garnish (didn’t have this at the time for the pic!)
Procedure:

Combine syrup, juice and club soda in a 8 oz old fashioned glass filled with Black Licorice Ice Cubes. Stir to blend flavours. Cut the ends off a black licorice stick to make a staw and serve immediately.

My Thoughts:

According to the original recipe as the drink melts the colour goes from clear to black. I have not had a chance to find this out yet, primarily because I failed to read the original directions – oops! I make the ice cubes out of the licorice syrup, strong sugar syrup it turns out, and the ice cubes turned into super sweet licorice toffee! So not to be undone, I scooped it out of the ice cube tray, plopped it in the bottom of the drink and continued as directed. The syrup added a super sweet flavour to the drink, slowly dissolving in the soda. The result was pretty terrific.

Check out the real way to make licorice ice cubes here if you want the original look.

You’ll also note that there is no licorice straw in my drinks. Seems there is no licorice in town this week… sigh.

Kid-o-metre 3/5 not a hit – with kids
Taste: 5/5 liquorice and rosemary, who knew!
Simplicity: 3/5 two recipes, not hard though (Colette, follow the directions gal!).
Ingredient finding: 3/5 Rosemary and food colouring from out of town


Rosemary Citrus Syrups

This syrup comes from a recipe for Rosemary Citrus Spritzer – all virgin from The Kitchn. I am continually finding great uses for this syrup!

Ingredients:

2 lemons – zest and juice
2 oranges – zest and juice
4 (4 inch) sprigs rosemary
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 honey

Boil all ingredients one minute, remove and cool 10 minutes to steep. Strain and store in airtight container until use. Lasts about 1 month.


Spicy Night Cocktail

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I love licorice flavour and was looking for flavours that complement the flavour of aniseed other than orange. Cinnamon and cloves came up and I just had to try it out.

This drink is made with syrups and soda water, to keep the beverage as clear as possible, the licorice and cinnamon syrup do infuse upward making the drink muddy, grey and mysterious.

Ingredients:
Procedure:

Pour cinnamon and licorice syrup into bottom of flute glass. Mix orange simple syrup, sour mix and soda water in cocktail shaker with a bit of ice to chill it and stir well. Strain, and pour carefully, layering if possible, over the darker syrup base. Top with some clear soda water to keep the top as light as possible. Serve.

My Thoughts:

I wish this was more distinctive in look from the Black Lagoon, when the drinks are both blending light into dark. Next time I make this I will consider ice as a barrier from the two elements mixing. I made this as an afterthought, feeling like I needed one more offering for this blog. I have not tested it on my family yet and me mom is not here to tell me the drink is terrific. (I stand alone in my household, with no licorice loving companions, what ever will I do?)

If you have been enjoying this, I would love to hear from you! A shout out to those in the UK who have been following and in the USA – Hi Y’all! Did you know that in the UK Licorice is spelled Liquorice? Yup! Just a small fact you may —or may not— care about.

 

Spoon!

Drinks inspired by the mighty tick. From right to left: Big Blue Moon, Mighty Blue and Blue on Ice.

Drinks inspired by the mighty tick. From right to left: Big Blue Moon, Mighty Blue and Blue on Ice.

“[The Tick is has an eating utensil in his hand. He is trying to come up with a battle cry that will strike terror into the hearts of evil-doers]

Tick: [shouts] Spoon!”

Yesterday a much awaited item to add to my arsenal of drink making tools arrived in the mail – a genuine bar spoon complete with twisted handle and metal disc on the end. With spoon in hand, I spent the next half hour waiting to yell “Spoon!” to my Tick loving hubby, who was in meetings… oh so many meetings.

So with the thoughts of blue drinks coursing through my mind, I set upon a mission to make a new drink inspired by the Tick – something big, blue and powerful.

Here is my Ode to the Tick.

The Mighty Blue

“Like a great blue salmon of Justice, the mighty Tick courses upstream to the very spawning ground of evil.” – The Tick 

This first drink is inspired by spiritdrinks.com recipe for Angostura Stinger. The recipe is a blend of mint, chocolate, orange, cream and bitters. Creating similar ingredients sans-booze was not difficult but took a few steps.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 oz mint simple syrup
  • 1 oz White Chocolate Cream (recipe below)
  • 2 oz blue curaçao syrup (recipe below)
  • 2 oz half and half cream
My Thoughts:

The taste of the white chocolate and cream mix well with the flavours to create a sweet powerful flavour that is best sipped. I omitted the bitters as the home version of the curaçao tends to have that component. Great for a dessert beverage.

Kid-o-metre 4/5 Sweet!
Taste: 4/5  nice blend when you keep the mint syrup light in the mix.
Simplicity: 3/5  Three recipes to make, but nothing hard to do.
Ingredient finding: 5/5 Local Local Local.


 White Chocolate Cream
Ingredients:

6 oz white chocolate chips
1 cup whipping cream

Heat whipping cream in saucepan on medium high. When heated add chocolate chips and stir until melted. Remove from heat and pour into container to cool. Keep in fridge until use.

Blue Curaçao Syrup
Ingredients:

2 cups cold water
2 cups white sugar
1 tbps orange extract
peel of two mandarine oranges – chopped
10 drops blue food colouring

Mix water and sugar on medium high in a sauce pan until sugar is dissolved completely. Add extract and orange peels and continue to heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Give the ingredients a chance to infuse for half hour then tint mixture with food colouring to desired degree. Strain out peels and store in air tight container in fridge until needed.


The Big Blue Moon

“I am mighty. I have a glow you cannot see. I have a heart as big as the moon. As warm as bathwater. We are superheroes, men, we don’t have time to be charming. The boots of evil were made for walkin’. We’re watching the big picture, friend. We know the score. We are a public service, not glamour boys. Not captains of industry. Keep your vulgar moneys. We are a justice sandwich. No toppings necessary. Living rooms of America, do you catch my drift? Do you dig?.” – The Tick 

Seems there are a ton of ideas for blue drinks out there, both using the blue tinted citrus flavoured curaçao, or Sourz Tropical Blue or for virgin drinks the use of blue Kool-Aid or Hawaiian Punch. Since neither family friendly blue liquid was available locally, I decided to make my own curaçao syrup, add a dash or two of food colouring and work with something more “adult inspired.”

The original Blue Moon includes vanilla, cream, curaçao and orange juice but I wanted something fizzy and the rating on the recipe was not inspiring. The Blue Duck blends curaçao, vanilla and raspberry together in a martini flavour, this had potential to update with a fizzy twist. And I could use my new “Spoon!” to not only measure some ingredients but also to try a stirred drink.

Ingredients:

Serving Size: Two 9 oz drinks

Procedure:

Measure vanilla, lemon juice, blue curaçao syrup and blue raspberry mix into a martini glass. Stir to blend and pour into two 10 oz old-fashioned or highball glasses. Add Ice and top with club soda (about half can per glass). Stir again to mix and serve.

My Thoughts: 

This is a very tart drink. The pure vanilla can become overpowering, so care has to be taken to make sure the other flavours are in correct proportion. If you prefer something sweeter, use Sprite.

I first tried this without the raspberry mix, forgetting I had an additional blue ingredient in my pantry. Without the added ingredient the beverage was too sour and the vanilla dominated the blend. Adding that one extra ingredient changed the mix to something worthy of writing about. Why the name Big Blue moon when the drink is far from the original? Well the tick doesn’t talk at all about ducks!

Kid-o-metre 3/5 with the addition of blue raspberry, this drink was acceptable but not guzzled down when served with dinner.
Taste: 4/5  Tart and good when thirsty, would be good with salty tortillas and dip.
Simplicity: 5/5  one recipe, simple to make, rest is all bottled ready to use from the local store.
Ingredient finding: 5/5 Small town possible.

Blue on Ice

“Let your journey into hugeness teach us all a lesson. Absolute power is a sticky wicket. And, Arthur, chum, you were the stickiest. Don’t you get it, good friend? Some of the best things come in small packages.” – The Tick 

This one is directly inspired by the layered drink called the Toronto Maple Leafs. I was looking for a layered shooter, using the colour blue, but also using my wonderful new spoon. In the end I also got to use my long spoon to pull the iced cream from the bottom of my blender (another reason they  make the shaft so long – just for that purpose!)

Ingredients:
  • 1 oz blue curaçao syrup (see above)
  • 1 oz Irish Cream Syrup (recipe below)
  • 1 oz whipping cream
  • 3 ice cubes or 1/4 cup ice

Serving Size: Two shots

Procedure:

Divide blue curaçao syrup between two shot glasses. Carefully layer Irish Cream Syrup over the blue syrup. Toss the cream and ice into a blender or magic bullet and use the ice chop setting if you have one to crush the ice into slush. Spoon over each drink and serve.

My Thoughts:

I originally tried this with the two ingredients from the original recipe. Because of the lack of the alcoholic bite, the final drink was too sweet and needed something new to cut the flavours. So I decided to try layering cream on the top. Even with whipping cream the density of the two top ingredients was too close and after four attempts I realized I had to be creative to get that final ingredient layering on the top. Inspired by the Maple Leafs who spend all their time on the ice, I decided to throw caution to the wind and toss the cream into a blender with a little ice, creating an iced cream that happily sat on top of the drink looking like a pile of ice shavings from the Zamboni.

I left these two drinks sitting for my kids to try, by the time they got home from school the iced cream had melted into a froth, leaving white moustaches on both girls after they tipped the drink into their mouths. I am guessing there would be a small brain freeze with the original, not a problem for such as the tick, who has such a small brain to start with I am sure it would never be affected!

“Destiny’s powerful hand has made the bed of my future and it’s up to me to lie in it. I am destined to be a superhero, to right wrongs and pound two-fisted justice into the hearts of evil-doers everywhere. You don’t fight destiny, no sir! And you don’t eat crackers in the bed of your future or you get all…scratchy. Hey, I’m narrating here!” 
– The Tick 

Kid-o-metre 5/5 Whether it’s melted or iced, this drink is pure yum!
Taste: 5/5  Gotta be good if it’s inspired by hockey right?
Simplicity: 3/5 This one takes skill baby!
Ingredient finding: 5/5 Even up north, these things are easy to find… especially the ice!


Irish Cream Syrup

This is the recipe from Allrecipes.com for DIY Original Irish Cream. I just omitted the whiskey!

Ingredients:

1 cup whipping cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp instant coffee granules
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 tsp chocolate syrup (Hershey’s or similar)
1 tsp pure almond extract

Add all but cram to blender, blend well then add cream and blend again. Pour into container and store in fridge. Lasts about 1 month refrigerated.


Well there you have it, that was fun! Not too scientific this time, in keeping with the theme…

“Oh, science… boring… interest… fading…” – the Tick

Bye for now!

Apple Shooters, Sparklers and Fizz

My love of sweet apple drinks started about 8 years back, while out with my husband’s band Heavy Things (now Down Water Union) at a bar gig. After the event the wives all shared an apple pie shooter – which tasted sweet and exactly like apple pie if you had soaked the apples in vodka for a week! While I loved the flavour I only had the one since for me – it’s never been about getting inebriated.

The idea of enjoying shooters – for the taste instead of the alcoholic hit stuck with me. Knowing that kids love candy and sweet drinks, one of my missions has been to provide super strong hits of flavour without the consequences of the alcohol. I hope to come up with many ideas for shooters in future blogs, however in time for thanksgiving I decided to work on a all ages version of my first shooter: the apple pie shooter.

The original apple pie shooter is layered sweet shooter. Layered drinks rely on science – yep love me some science!

My kids and I did a whole set of experiments on density while we were home schooling during the teachers strike. We used honey, water, and oil, a penny, grape and a cork. The penny sunk through all layers, the grape floated on the honey which was the bottom layer as it is the most dense. The oil floated above the water and the cork floated on the oil. It looked pretty cool and we kept it around for about a week before I finally tossed it all out.

Putting a sweet drink and the coolness of layers together, I figure this will be a huge hit with the younger crowd.

Apple Pie Shooter

This is a layered drink, so specific tools are needed to make this happen smoothly. While any shot glass will work, for layered drinks I prefer a tall 2 oz shot glass so that the layers are visible. The recommended technique for layering is pouring over a spoon that fits well into the inside of the shot glass. For some great tutorials check out WikiHow or  Mix that Drink. Since I don’t have a specialty twisted handle bar spoon and a bunch of quick pour spouts at hand, I prefer the simple way of layering drinks using a slow pour over the back of a spoon.

Layering drinks is all about knowing the density of your choices. This can be fun if you like to experiment, as you work out which syrup, juice or cream will sink or float over the others. The rule of thumb is that the more concentrated the drink or syrup the more dense it is. Normally creams will float over juice which floats over syrup. If you are wondering, simply add your first liquid and then slowly pour your second along the side of the glass. While it won’t be perfect for presentation, if the second drink sinks, it’s more dense and should be poured first for your future drinks.

Ingredients:
  • 1 oz cinnamon syrup (see below)
  • 1 tsp butterscotch syrup (see below)
  • 1 oz Apple Sour (find recipe here)
  • dash ground cinnamon
Procedure:

Slowly pour cinnamon to just about fill half shot glass. Gently drizzle butterscotch syrup over this layer using spoon technique. Layer Apple Sour (juice) over butterscotch. Let drink settle, sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon and serve.

My Thoughts:

I originally tired this with equal parts of each liquid, but found that the butterscotch was too heavy a flavour for the drink. I like the flavour of fresh apple that the Apple Sour gives, as well as the green colour gives a neat look to the drink. If you prefer a more cooked taste for your “pie” replace the Apple Sour with fresh apple cider or fresh bottled apple juice. Feel free to experiment with your three components to create the perfect “apple pie” taste for your family.

Kid-o-metre 5/5 Tested on my own daughters, passed with flying colours.
Taste: 4/5 Who doesn’t love apple pie?
Simplicity: 2/5. Three special ingredients and some technical skill required
Ingredient finding: 5/5 everything available in a small northern town with only one store


 Cinnamon  Heavy Syrup
Ingredients:

2 cups water
6-8 cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup cloves
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar

Combine spices and water in sauce pan, bring to boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and steep 1 hour. Return to medium heat and add sugar. Stir and cook until sugar dissolves and liquid turn clear. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour into container and let sit for stronger flavour for up to 4 days. Strain out spices and store in fridge until needed.

Butterscotch Syrup

I took the Butterscotch Syrup recipe from a blog when I was looking up how to make Butterbeer for halloween. Treasures by Brenda has a bunch of ideas on this, and had a great recipe for butterscotch syrup that I can say is by far the bestest. Check out her blog here, and look for “Harry Potter Butterbeer Recipe #1 – A non-alcoholic recipe.”

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup half and half cream
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Combine butter, brown sugar, half and half cream and salt in a small saucepan and simmer gently for five minutes. Stir in vanill and let cool.


Apple Lemon Fizz

This is a simple recipe that looks a bit like ale when it’s done. While the original is called a fizz, due to it’s citrus, sugar and soda water ingredients, you could just as easily classify this in a beer/ale category. The idea for this comes from Food 52 and called for an apple brandy. Homemade Applejack syrup infusion to the rescue!
Ingredients:
  • 1 oz Applejack Syrup Infusion (recipe here)
  • 1 oz Apple Sour (recipe here)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • White of 1 egg (if it’s a large egg, that’s sufficient for two drinks)
  • Chilled club soda
Procedure:

Mix first five ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake will to mix (about 10 seconds). This will emulsify the egg and is called a dry shake. Add ice, repeat process until very foamy, then strain into a old-fashioned glass. Add a splash (about 2 oz) club soda to give it a nice thick foamy head. Serve immediately.

My Thoughts:

The recipe seems cool, but in the end was a upscale version of apple lemonade. While the foamy head is cool, it doesn’t bring anything to the taste of the drink and dissipated quickly. Of all the drinks, this experiment was less satisfying, but yielded some ideas to work on and probably needs just a tweak in presentation to finish it off.

Kid-o-metre 3/5 Not as sweet as some of the others, but the foam gives great moustaches!
Taste: 2/5 would I buy this in a restaurant… perhaps not.
Simplicity: 5/5. Not brain science
Ingredient finding: 5/5 yep! Easy to find the ingredients

 Ginger Apple Sparkler

This is a super simple recipe that is refreshing and lovely anytime. While I have this in my fall repertoire, you can bet I will pull it out next summer on a hot day too. This idea is thanks to Martha Stewart with a slight alteration since I wasn’t able to find sparkling apple cider in town, and wanted to use my favourite muddler instead of making yet another syrup.

Ingredients:

2 oz Apple Sour or fresh apple juice
4 slices ginger
2 oz simple syrup (1 part sugar, 2 parts water)
club soda

Procedure:

Muddle ginger in simple syrup until flavour are well blended. Add apple juice or apple sour and ice. Shake to mix and strain over ice into old-fashioned. Top with club soda and garnish with a piece of candied ginger and a cinnamon stick if desired.

My thoughts:

I reduced the amount of lemon in the original drink, as my apple juice wasn’t as strong as an apple cider would be. Using my fresh pressed green apple juice (apple sour) give the drink a different look from the original as the liquid is slightly more opaque and of course green tinged. I love ginger, and the fresh muddled ginger is a stronger flavour than would be found in a syrup.

If you wanted to omit the fresh ginger, try using ginger ale instead of club soda. Haven’t done this yet myself, so don’t know how it would compare. If you do, please comment!
Kid-o-metre 2/5 Too strong for my youngest (7 yrs) but my 11 year old loved it.
Taste: 4/5 Nice refreshing, but not everyone likes ginger
Simplicity: 5/5. Super easy, nothing but simple syrup to make.
Ingredient finding: 5/5 everything available in a small northern town with only one store if you adapt as suggested.
Do you have some ideas for apple drinks – that you have adapted for an all ages audience? I would love to hear them!