Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Winter Storm Marcus: The Cocktail

(Others in the storm cocktail series: Hurricane Irene in August 2011, Winter Storm Nemo in February 2013, Winter Storm Juno in January 2015)

With another winter storm comes another cocktail!  I was at first confused by Marcus, since I thought they were going for Greek/Romany names of antiquity.  But!  Marcus is a praenomen derived from the Roman God of War, Mars.

And of course, guess what?  Mars is the son of Juno!  It all makes sense. 

Unfortunately, as in the making of Winter Storm Juno, I was stuck in the same Roman Gods sphere, trying to mull over where to go when it's clear that the Romans didn't really do cocktails, they drank wine...though their certainly are some pleasant liqueurs to work with, many stand on their own.  Limoncello?  Best with ice or with some soda water.  Amaretto?  Ice.

Even more frustrating, it seems as if the Romans didn't have the same level of affiliation of sacred plants or animals to their gods as many other cultures seem to.  The figs with Juno were a rarity as I played wikipedia roulette, trying to find something to latch onto when designing a cocktail.  My choices with Mars?  Wolves, woodpeckers, and swords/spears.  Wolves have to do with the fact that he was the father of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, and woodpeckers were renowned by the Romans for their power of augury (determining the will of the gods).  Swords and spears are appropriately war-like for the god of war. 

And that's it. 

You get to the point where you just say: "Google, is there a woodpecker cocktail?"

And then it tells you, yes, there is.  And it is 2 ounces vodka and 15 dashes bitters.

Well.  That's certainly exceedingly creative.

What about the wolf?  Anything to work from there?

Wolf Bite:  absinthe, midori, pineapple juice
Black Wolf: sambuca, chartreuse, tabasco
Lone Wolf: cardamom tincture, bourbon, lemon, amaro

While the last one is definitely more my style, there's a definite issue in the fact that Mars had about 87 children by at least 35 women.  Not a lone wolf, not at all. 

And then, hm.  What about swords or spears?  Beyond adding an awesome cocktail sword or a pickle/cucumber spear, there weren't really any named cocktails with sword in the name.

(though I did learn that stainless steel cocktail swords exist, which is awesome)

Then I was thinking, okay, what about God of War.

Then the first thing you get is a terrifying concoction based on a video game god of war with hershey's strawberry syrup and everclear

Now, there was also amaretto in it, which jives with the Italian connection, but the drink just doesn't seem all that manly and war-like.  They did use the strawberry syrup as an ode to blood, but I have to say, the attempt was a bit far-fetched.  I mean, I get what they were going for, but no.

So what I am left with?  I have no idea.  Boozy milkshake with almond milk and strawberry and amaretto?  I mean, that sounds delicious, and maybe irreverent is the way I want to go here.  "God of War, ha.  I'm making your cocktail have STRAWBERRIES in it.  And there ain't nothing you can do about it."

After all, here's where we are with the snow here in Boston as of last Monday afternoon.  Last Monday!  (I tried looking for an update through today, but no luck). 

from here

from here

So.  Irreverent it is.  

Winter Storm Marcus

(the easiest way to prepare this is by putting your blender carafe on a scale and measuring out the ingredients by weight rather than volume)

1 ounce homemade vanilla vodka
1 ounce homemade vanilla simple syrup
1 ounce amaretto
4 ounces homemade almond mil
113 grams frozen strawberries

1.  Blend. 
2.  Drink. 

Vanilla Vodka

30 vanilla beans
1 handle vodka

 1.  Pour out about a cup of the vodka and reserve for another use.  
2.  Add vanilla beans.
3.  Wait six months, turning occasionally to mix.
4.  Feel free to top off vodka as you use the vanilla, it will continue to extract out the ethanol-soluble compounds from the vanilla beans.

Vanilla Simple Syrup

220 grams granulated sugar (1 cup)
1 cup water
2 vanilla beans (these can be new or have spent time in the vanilla vodka)

1.  Mix water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and simmer until sugar is dissolved. 
2.  Add vanilla bean and

Homemade Almond Milk

113 grams raw or toasted almonds**
pinch of salt
sweetener as desired
spices as desired

1.  Add nuts to about 4 cups of water and allow to soak overnight.
2.  Drain nuts and wash under cool water.
3.  Add nuts to blender carafe and add in four cups of water.
4.  Blend using a high powered blender for about a minute.  
5.  Use a nut milk bag and filter out the leftover nut pulp.  Leftover pulp can be used to make crackers, cookies, all sorts of different things.  It's also good mixed in smoothies.

**a mix of almonds and hazelnuts is nice, as is most other nut combinations, but be wary of using all super fatty nuts, like cashews or macadamia nuts, the filtering gets tough and they separate out in the fridge.

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