Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sipping! It beats the heat

It is just too blooming hot to cook and almost too hot to eat. I have not really wanted anything for days now, not for lack of interest but for rising humidity and heat. I have a pantry that could feed a ton of people on any given day provided I don't mind spending some time in the kitchen. But cooking requires heat and the one thing I want to do without right now is heating up anything. I am even tempted to type this by moonlight just to keep the light bulbs in the chandelier from heating the space above the table.

Fortunately for us, Son3 had a group of kids over for pizza during band camps dinner break. There were a couple of slices left so, voila, dinner was served. I nuked the pizza to bring it up to temp and would like to say I made a refreshing salad to go with it, but I didn't. Instead we ate rubbery pizza and called it quits. Though I was through with food I decided I needed a little more, but I just did not want to chew. It finally hit that what I really wanted was a beverage, then I decided it needed to be an adult beverage. After I found the key ( When we put in the pool we decided it would be a good thing to keep all spirits under lock and key. It is a good idea but I put it in a different place each week and I forget where I hide it) I started rummaging through the supplies and found something I have been concocting for many days.

When we were in Portland recently, we had this very delicious libation at Toro Bravo ( If you are ever in Portland do yourself a favor and eat there, but take a few friends so you can sample as many of the small plates as possible) The drink had some cute Bull type name which had nothing to do with the drink itself. I guess they just want to keep the bull theme running throughout the menu. I forget what the name of it was, but it had gin, apricot liqueur and peach bitters. I think it had some juice also but I don't remember exactly. Tonight I thought I would do a little trial mixology and try to recreate the drink, but first let me back up a step.

When we returned homefrom Oregon, I went to the state store (A package store run by the state government for anyone who lives in a civilized state where they believe a person/business can manage alcohol affairs with little government intervention.) to buy some apricot liqueur. Obviously the State of Alabama does not want me to have this elixir, for after searching 3 stores and finally a call from one store to their distribution center it seems to not be available here, even though they have it on their order forms. I suppose I could have given up, but why? I liked the drink and thought I would try to find a way to make it.

Apricot liqueur

11 ounces dried apricots
1 cup sugar
2 cups vodka

Cover the apricots in hot water and let sit for about 8 hours. Drain the apricots and press out as much water as you can without tearing the fruit. In a large wide mouth mason jar add the apricots and sugar then cover with the vodka. Put on the lid and shake until it looks like all the sugar is dissolved. Place in a dark dry spot and store for three weeks, turning daily. ( I shook mine daily cause it made me feel like I was doing more than just turning the jar) At the end of 3 weeks pour off all the liquid and then press down on the apricots with the back of a wooden spoon to get the rest of the liquid out of the apricots. Strain through a cheesecloth or coffee filter and put in a clean jar with a lid. Store in the refrigerator. I have no idea how long this will keep but it is keeping for now.

This is my attempt at duplicating the cocktail we had
1/2 ounce apricot liqueur
1/2 ounce roses lime juice
1 1/2 ounces gin
dash of peach bitters
shaved ice

Mix all in a shaker and strain into a cocktail glass.

I think the one we had at the restaurant may have had a dash of grenadine because it was pinker than the drink I made, but I have none here so ...

Well the verdict is that I am not a very good bartender. The drink is fine but it a little stronger than I would like it to be. I think cutting back on the gin and using just `1 ounce would be fine. I also believe I made some extremely potent liqueur. I rarely measure anything and I think I over vodkaed the mixture. It has a wonderful apricot aroma, but it packs a wallop. If I do it again I will be certain to measure and not eyeball the ingredients. Possibly I can just add more apricots to the existing mix along with a little more sugar Don't know. I guess trying new does not guarantee success and this really did not succeed.

There has to be an upside to everything though and the upside of this is it probably won't take me long to fall asleep.


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