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Pama Frost

Pama Frost DetailHappy New Year!

Over the years we have done plenty of experiments with ingredients, often recommending to our readers that it's okay to adopt a playful attitude of trial and error when it comes to recipes. Sometimes it's a result of substitutions for not having the right ingredients, but more often it comes down to personal taste. There are recipes that call for very specific proportions, but most of the time it makes more sense to taste the result and adjust as necessary. For instance, adjustments are almost always expected when balancing sweet and sour. One never knows how much acid is present in a volume of citrus juice, and personal taste can affect what you consider "balanced". We tend to lean toward the sour side, but we understand that some recipes are meant to be sweet. Time and experience can transform your idea of a good cocktail.

Today, we are turning back the clock several years to a time before we started writing about cocktails. The scene was St. Paul, Minnesota, formal dining at W.A. Frost & Company—a place that was already starting to mix interesting flavors at the bar. We tried a lowball cocktail before dinner one night and enjoyed the experience enough to make a few notes about the ingredients: Earl Grey tea-infused bourbon, lime, and Pama liqueur. So, here we are, years later, trying to reconstruct a drink we thought we enjoyed one night at a restaurant more than 1500 miles away. It should be a fun experiment!

Let's start with the base spirit. Bourbon can be a serious subject, but for our purposes, we don't need to use anything rare or expensive. To make the Earl Grey tea infusion we poured four ounces of bourbon into a jar with a single tea bag, closed the lid and let it sit for 24 hours. The next day, we had a very dark base spirit scented with bergamot tea!

Next, we grabbed our bottle of Pama. We don't use Pama very often, but we should reconsider that habit. Despite being a liqueur, it retains the acidic bite that you get when you drink fresh juice. We knew the flavor could get lost among the other ingredients, so we added a full ounce, which isn't as sweet as it sounds. It's a pomegranate liqueur, but instead of being sweet like you might expect from grenadine, it's tastes more like sweetened pomegranate juice.

To the Pama, we added a half-ounce of fresh lime juice. Together, these quantities are not balanced. Pama is unusual—if this was Cointreau, it would be a different story. So, we added a quarter-ounce of simple syrup. More on that in a moment.

Pama FrostPama Frost
1.5 oz Earl Grey tea-infused bourbon (see below)
1 oz Pama pomegranate liqueur
.5 oz lime juice
.25 oz simple syrup
1 oz seltzer

Add ingredients to a mixing glass. Shake with ice and strain into a low-ball or rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Top with sparkling water (or tonic) and garnish with a lime wedge.

Earl Grey tea-infused bourbon
Add a tea bag to 4 ounces of bourbon and steep in a sealed jar for 24 hours. Remove and discard the tea bag.

Now, some of you are looking at the recipe and wondering why lime juice and bourbon don't clash. Most whiskey cocktails opt for lemon, but here, it somehow works. It might be the Earl Grey tea or it could be the Pama, but lime definitely plays nicely with the bourbon. We tried the recipe without any added sugar. It's nice, but the flavor is dry. It has a sourness that is odd at first, but it grows on you as you try to decipher the mystery ingredients. Then, we added a little simple syrup and—BANG! The bergamot tea flavor practically jumps out of the glass and everything comes into balance. A half-ounce of simple syrup makes the drink even sweeter, but we don't think it's necessary to go that far. You could also top with tonic instead of seltzer to add some bitterness to the flavor profile—that's what they did at the restaurant.

Since we cannot remember the name, we needed to come up with something. It has been cold lately which made us think of permafrost, so we decided use that idea and commemorate the restaurant and liqueur by calling it the Pama Frost. Have a go at Earl Grey tea-infused bourbon and let us know what you think of this cocktail.

Holiday Gift Ideas 2015

FloralElixir

It's that time of the year when folks like to give gifts, and we know it's sometimes difficult to find the perfect item for the mixologist in your life. Regular readers know that when we aren't scrutinizing over menus at local establishments, we like to spend our time trying new and old recipes, testing commercial ingredients, creating homemade ones, and testing various tools and techniques. At the end of the year we usually put together a list of things we recommend. Be sure to check out similar posts from years past to get ideas about tools and other items we have found useful.

Travel Cocktail Kit The past few months have allowed us to thoroughly field-test our version of a handy kit for mixing cocktails during commercial air travel. We think we have the best travel cocktail kit in terms of size and function. You can read all about

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Tailspin

Tailspin

Well, the holiday season is just around the corner! Too soon? Ok, then let's have a little distraction before we deal with lots of food, family, gifts and snow. Today, we are stirring a drink called the Tailspin. This is a lovely, spirit-driven classic that follows the same formula as the Bijou cocktail, only instead of orange bitters, the Tailspin uses Campari.

A few things stand out here. First, this gin drink combines the three main ingredients in equal proportions. That makes it fast and easy to remember. The second is that as a gin drink, the gin is not the dominant flavor—not by a long shot. As such, we prefer the spirit to play its supporting role without distracting us with intense juniper. Modern dry gins work well, but we usually reach for Plymouth.

Tailspin 1 oz gin 1 oz sweet vermouth 1 oz Green Chartreuse 1 dash

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Halloween Party Cocktails

Corpse

It's a question we get asked every year: What cocktail should I feature at my Halloween party? There are a lot different answers depending on what is important for your situation. We usually answer with a series of questions. How much work do you want to do ahead of time? How much work do you want to do during the party? Do you want to make something spirit-driven or citrus-based? How important is it for your theme to be represented (either in name or ingredients)? Your answers to these questions can be determining factors, so here's a list of possibilities with summaries and links to the specific details.

Batches and Bowls We usually always refer folks to large-volume solutions like Punch, Sangria, and Morganthaler's Gallon of Margaritas. We covered all of these in this post back in January. Even if none of them are for you, it's a good

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Poi Dog

Poi Dog

We expected great flavors from cocktails in Maui during a recent trip to the island. Given the fact that they have such ideal growing conditions for fresh ingredients, we were hoping for wondrous citrus, pineapple and coconuts, or muddled passion fruit and mangoes. At the very least, we thought we would find a decent tiki concoction. But like many tourist destinations, the resorts (at least in West Maui) are setup for high-volume service for vacationing beach bums and sun bunnies not discerning cocktail enthusiasts. Sure, you can order a Mai Tai, but you don't really know what you are going to get. Most of the time it's sugary mixers and rum. Nobody seems interested in geeking-out with bartenders crafting world-class drinks. Some restaurants still loosely throw around the word "Martini" to describe their ridiculous list of vodka-based sugar-blasts. Visitors seeking spirit-driven classics can forget it. Italian bitters are

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Travel Cocktail Kit: Tested and Improved

Using the Travel Cocktail Kit

Last December, we wrote about a fun DIY concept: The Summit Sips Travel Cocktail Kit. If you recall, this was based on a commercial product idea whereby the traveling cocktail enthusiast packs a small tin in their carry-on baggage. Once in flight, you open the tin to reveal sugar (rich simple syrup in our case), bitters, and a spoon. Upon ordering some whiskey and and a glass of ice from the attendant, the kit allows you to construct several Old Fashioned cocktails for in-flight enjoyment. Not all of us can afford to fly first-class, so this is a great way to elevate your air travel experience—especially while sitting in the cheap seats. Over the summer, we had an opportunity to finally test our kit. We also heard from several readers about their own experiences and ideas, so we decided to post a follow up.

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Death in the Gulf Stream

Death in the Gulf Stream

Something we often admire about classic cocktails is their simplicity. We suppose early recipes had the advantage of being first to attempt basic combinations. Such is the case, for instance, with the Daiquiri: rum, lime and sugar—a favorite of rum lovers everywhere, including at least one famous writer from the Florida Keys. It shouldn't surprise you to know that in addition to his reputation for enjoying such drinks, Ernest Hemingway also had a hand in creating a few. One of them is called Death in the Gulf Stream, and it is both easy and efficient.

Cocktail construction efficiency isn't something we think about very often. In a typical setting, one has plenty of ice, a sink to rinse tools and glassware, and just a general concern for making the best use of every step and ingredient—it's the end result that counts. Need to shake a drink over ice,

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