The Cuppa Joy
The Cuppa Joy is a sweet and boozy cocktail that’s delightfully British. The name comes from my girlfriend Kim-Joy of NeedToKnead, who made the teabag shaped biscuits you see in the later pictures. It’s also her teapot. This week I’ve decided to continue with my love of infusing simple syrups. Last week we explored using fresh herbs as the flavouring agent in the simple syrup, but now we’re going to try something dried. The Cuppa Joy is a martini-style drink made from gin, lemon juice, and Earl Grey-infused simple syrup with a beautiful reddish-brown colour, fragrant nose, sweet taste and bitter finish.
Last week I suggested using a mid-range gin like Bombay Sapphire, which you can still use for this cocktail. Or you can try using some of the 5 quid stuff I bought for a party. But this cocktail is all about the gin, and the quality of your creation is directly tied to the caliber of gin you use. I recommend an upmarket gin such as Hendricks if you prefer a more earthy-vegetable taste in your martinis, or Masons if you prefer a clean yet herbal flavour.
Dowling Duncan and redesigning the American Dollar:
Why the size?
We have kept the width the same as the existing dollars. However we have changed the size of the note so that the one dollar is shorter and the 100 dollar is the longest. When stacked on top of each other it is easy to see how much money you have. It also makes it easier for the visually impaired to distinguish between notes.
Why a vertical format?
When we researched how notes are used we realized people tend to handle and deal with money vertically rather than horizontally. You tend to hold a wallet or purse vertically when searching for notes. The majority of people hand over notes vertically when making purchases. All machines accept notes vertically. Therefore a vertical note makes more sense.
Why different colors?
It’s one of the strongest ways graphically to distinguish one note from another.
Why these designs?
We wanted a concept behind the imagery so that the image directly relates to the value of each note. We also wanted the notes to be educational, not only for those living in America but visitors as well. Each note uses a black and white image depicting a particular aspect of American history and culture. They are then overprinted with informational graphics or a pattern relating to that particular image.
$1 – The first African American president
$5 – The five biggest native American tribes
$10 – The bill of rights, the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution
$20 – 20th Century America
$50 – The 50 States of America
$100 – The first 100 days of President Franklin Roosevelt. During this time he led the congress to pass more important legislations than most presidents pass in their entire term. This helped fight the economic crises at the time of the great depression. Ever since, every new president has been judged on how well they have done during the first 100 days of their term.
I get so annoyed with Americans who make fun of Canadian currency because it’s “Monopoly Money.” What? Our currency is multicoloured, see-through, holographic and almost indestructible! I guess that’s not as cool as being impossible to tell apart, wrinkly, bland and super easy to rip?
These designs are slick as hell, though.
I can’t reblog this enough.
On this blog one of the things I strive for is innovation. I try to do cocktails that haven’t been done before, or if they have I try to put a little spin on them. What makes my job easier is when spirit manufacturers decide that they’ve had enough citron vodka and honey whisky and decide to do something strange. Some of these flavours are delicious and their creators deserve a pat on the back, while others are gimicky and really only drinkable when drowned in mixers. That being said I am a huge proponent of the “throw it against a wall and see what sticks” philosophy when it comes to this. 1. Bakon Vodka
Let’s just get it out of the way. Holy dang, there’s bacon vodka! Bakon is, like most bacon-flavoured things, vegan. You’re not secretly screwing up your vegetarian friend’s diet by slipping this into their bloody mary. Even if I ate bacon, I would boycott this monstrosity on the sheer principle that bacon has somehow managed to slip into every aspect of our lives. Weird trendiness aside, reviews for the product aren’t terrible and at least the serving suggestions are primarily bloody mary focused, which is already a savory cocktail. But they also recommend trying it in a chocolate cocktail, which gives them points for creativity but makes me shudder.
2. Crop Cucumber, Meyer Lemon and Tomato Vodkas
Crop Harvest Earth Organic is actually a pretty cool company that uses organic ingredients in their products. The “artisinal flavour” is a bit of a gimmick. It’s just their unflavoured vodka. Of these flavours though I’ve had the opportunity to try the cucumber and tomato vodkas. If you read my previous post you know that I love my cucumber cocktails, and Crop’s veggie-infused vodkas did not disappoint. It was suggested that I try the tomato one in a bloody mary, but that seemed like a waste to me. So I had them both straight up, and then served with ice and soda water.
Vodquila is the answer to a question nobody asked. As the portmanteau suggests it is a blend a vodka and tequila. Best served as cold as humanly possible to dull your tastebuds. In short, Vodquila is a pointless amalgamation destined to be the highlight of every 2-4-1 night at your local creepy club with unisex toilets. Vodquila is the laziest entry on this list, it’s not trendy, it’s not creative, it’s just different.
4. Oddka Wasabi
Oddka appeals to me because of their shear dedication to the strange. And because this is not a post about the tastiest vodkas but the most innovative. I would like to talk about how much I appreciate their strangeness. As far as the quality of the base spirit, Oddka but like I said this is about creativity.
It’s difficult to find a complete list of Oddka flavours, but this is what I was able to put together.
Fresh Cut Grass
Salty Caramel Popcorn
Electricity (Some sort of grape thing)
Some of the flavours make sense, such as Apple Pie, others are just variations on other popular flavours such as melon and peach. Salty Caramel Popcorn is jumping on the salted caramel trend that’s not quite as annoying the previously mentioned bacon trend, but there is some real interesting stuff here. Fresh Cut Grass is basically Bison Grass vodka, but still I’m a huge fan of the fresh and earthy flavours you find in grass vodka (probably because it reminds me so much of gin). I haven’t tried Electricity and the descriptions of its taste are varied, everyone agrees it’s some sort of grape flavour, but some claim that they can taste spice and copper tones in the flavour.
The real originality of Oddka is in their wasabi flavour. Now, adding spice to spirits is nothing new. Absolut has their Peppar vodka (green capsicums, chili and jalapeno) and New Orleans (black pepper and mango) both of which are delicious, and Southern Comfort has that Tabasco travesty. But Anyone familiar with spicy flavours knows there’s a distinct difference between the capsaicin heat present in hot peppers and the mustard oil (allyl isothiocyanate) flavour you find in mustard, horserarish and wasabi.
Other than the brand Indio, a small-batch company in Oregon, Oddka is the only company to make and distribute a mustard oil based vodka. There are no horseradish vodkas available, and other and Indio, no company makes wasabi vodka.
The obvious choice is to throw it into a bloody mary, but I’d say that’s a waste. Like putting the tomato vodka in one. Instead I’d suggest playing up the wasabi flavour, maybe try blending it with ginger flavours, or maybe even some soy sauce. I’m going to try to get my hands on some and I’ll post a cocktail once I’ve got one.
5. Three Olives Dude
I’ll make this brief. I gave this the top spot on the list because it is the most innovative flavour of vodka I’ve ever seen. If you can’t tell it’s Mountain Dew-flavoured. They call it lemon-lime, but it’s Mountain Dew.
That said, I hate everything about Dude-flavoured vodka. The taste makes me gag, the colour is super offputting and the marketing surrounding it is insufferable. These are some of the cocktails on their website. Put bluntly: they are stupid. The Dude-O-Politan: A Cosmo made with Dude, plain and simple, made so that you and your brahs don’t have to worry about getting cooties or something from drinking a cocktail. The Surf’s Up: Dude, Kraken, and lemon-lime soda, so vodka, rum and more Mountain Dew. Cool. Finally, there’s the groan-inducing Bromance. A shot of Dude (ew) dropped into lager. I have no idea who these are supposed to appeal to, and don’t any of them were treated before they were put up on the website. Frankly, I’m surprised they didn’t use crushed Doritos rim in any of these
The reason why the room was pink was because on black and white film, hues of red become dark shades of black. Pink is the perfect balance to give it that dark creepy grey.
A related fun fact: while old black and white film was under-sensitive to reds, it was correspondingly over-sensitive to greens. Actors whose characters were meant to have unnaturally pale complexions - like Morticia Addams - would often take advantage of this by wearing makeup with a green base tint in order to make their faces “pop”. This is where the modern trope of cartoon vampires having green skin comes from.
These are some fun fucking facts
Auron’s Cucumber Cooler
For my first cocktail I decided to tweak an old favourite of mine. It’s a blend of gin, lime, basil and cucumber. This is pretty much the ultimate summer cocktail as it’s refreshing and extremely versatile. It’s more of a spritzer than a cooler, but I like alliteration. The name comes from Final Fantasy X’s Auron who always sort of remains calm in high pressure situations. It might seem like a stretch, but since his character is sort of a Kurosawa-esque samurai I should probably make a version of this with sake.
This cocktail is best with a mid-range gin, since the other ingredients will mask any bluntness in mediocre gin, but will also make the subtleties in a really nice gin go unnoticed. I recommend Bombay Sapphire, at 15 pounds it’s not too expensive and the slightly higher sweetness of Bombay blends nicely into the flavour. I used Whatever I Found in the Liquor Cabinet brand gin.
The reason I called the cocktail versatile is because you can make lots of little changes to suit your palate. This just happens to be the way I prefer it. You can substitute vodka for gin, though I’d recommend increasing the simple syrup ratio to compensate for the loss of sweetness. You can use rosemary instead of basil for your simple syrup. Soda water can be swapped out for tonic water or left out entirely and served straight up if you’re anything like the guests at my barbecue.
20ml Basil Simple Syrup (Recipe below)
25ml Cucumber Essence (Recipe below)
10ml Fresh lime juice
Soda water or tonic water to top
Sprig of basil to garnish
Combine all ingredients except for soda and sprig in shaker. This is a dry shake so don’t use any ice. Strain contents over a short class full of ice, top with soda or tonic. Give it one final stir with the sprig of basil to make sure it is fully combined.
Basil Simple Syrup
50g white sugar
10-15 fresh basil leaves
Bring water to a boil and stir in sugar and basil leaves. Once the sugar dissolves remove from the heat and let cool. Once it’s cool strain the basil leaves out and the syrup is finished. It will keep in an airtight bottle for about a month.
1/2 English cucumber
Peel half an English cucumber and cut into chunks. Put into blender with the water. Blend until the cucumber is fully pulped. Strain the liquid into a container and discard the pulp. The essence will last for a couple of days in the fridge.
I was going to end every post with a joke. But I’m skipping the first week because every cucumber related joke I found was disgusting,
I started doing a cocktail and homebrewing blog!