Posts Tagged ‘infused’

MxMo XLV – Tea: Chrysanthemum Martini

MxMo XLV: Chrysanthymum Martini

I was back at my mum’s house the other day, and for some reason suddenly had a childhood urge/flashback for chrysanthemum tea (my mum is from Singapore). For those who haven’t had it, chrysanthemum tea is a light, floral, dandelion-esque tea with notes of honey and jasmine. You just stick the whole flower heads into boiling water. So when I saw the title of this MxMo, I knew what I was going to use.

Sometimes MxMo is fuelled by an urge to use the intellect, sometimes a drive to dig into the past, and sometimes a need to burn off exccess creative energy. This time though, it was simply a need to have the coldest possible dry martini I could make in the kitchen.

Infusing using chrysanthemum flowers took a couple of goes. The optimum I found was about 10 flowers to 100ml gin for 4 hours. Any more and you start to get bitterness, any less and the chrysanthemum is drowned out by the other botanicals.

So with that out the way, I just went ahead and made a dry martini using Noilly Prat.

Chrysanthemum Martini

  • 60ml Chrysanthemum-infused Plymouth gin
  • Little bit of Noilly Prat
  • Stirred over ice for a long time, strained into a very very cold martini glass
  • Zest a lemon peel and floating chrysanthymum flower garnish
  • Notes

    I really really enjoyed it. The chrysanthymum tastes like a very fine natural add on to the existing floral notes from the gin, and I am pretty sure chrysanthymum would make a fine botanical ingredient to a gin. Goes nicely with Noilly Prat which adds good mid-tones to the drink.

    Incidentally, I am currently involved in making a perfume fragrance (amateurishly) and have been getting to grips with top middle and bottom notes – the molecular mixology enthusiasts will be no doubt familiar with all this – wikipedia:

    • Top notes: The scents that are perceived immediately on application of a perfume. Top notes consist of small, light molecules that evaporate quickly. They form a person’s initial impression of a perfume and thus are very important in the selling of a perfume. Also called the head notes.
    • Middle notes: The scent of a perfume that emerges just prior to when the top notes dissipate. The middle note compounds form the “heart” or main body of a perfume and act to mask the often unpleasant initial impression of base notes, which become more pleasant with time. They are also called the “heart notes”.
    • Base notes: The scent of a perfume that appears close to the departure of the middle notes. The base and middle notes together are the main theme of a perfume. Base notes bring depth and solidity to a perfume. Compounds of this class of scents are typically rich and “deep” and are usually not perceived until 30 minutes after application.
    Then there is also a fragrance wheel, which attempts to categorise scents. I know that wine buffs have a similar tool, perhaps someone should invent one for the spirits category.

    image: wikipedia

    Hosted by Cocktail Virgin Slut


    MxMo XXXIV: Spice

    Mixology Monday is a monthly online drink-related discussion. This month, it’s hosted by Craig at Tiki Drinks & Indigo Firmaments and the theme is ‘spice’.


    Victoria Park in December, just outside my house in London

    In England, spice in December means the Christmas traditionals of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. As soon as winter hits and it starts to get dark at around 4pm, there is nothing else to do apart from stay in, make a big pot of mulled wine, and endeavour to keep it warm, spicy and topped up at all costs, until the daylight comes back in February. This winter though, I’ve been playing around a lot with cachaça.*

    While everybody thinks of cachaça as a summer drink, I’ve been making some cachaça infusions based on traditional English Christmas flavours. The first was a pear and spice one:

    Christmas Spice Pear Infused Cachaça
    1 70cl bottle Abelha Cachaça Silver (unaged)
    1 pear (conference)
    half a cinnamon stick
    2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
    10 clove seeds
    half a teaspoon grated nutmeg
    Skin and cut the pear, let all ingredients sit for 4 weeks in a jar or bottle at room temperature, shaking it every couple of days.

    This came out really nicely and the sugar cane notes of the cachaça work really well with the ginger. It feels they make a warm blanket in your mouth which then gets covered in lovely spices.

    I was talking to Jay at Oh Gosh! about old fashioned style serves, and he hinted me towards grapefruit bitters. They work really well with cachaça; I think it’s because they’re a little bit lime-esque, which is cachaça’s natural citrus partner. So here is a Christmas take on a cachaça Old Fashioned.

    spiced pear cachaca old fashioned

    Spiced Pear Cachaça Old Fashioned
    25ml Pear and Spice infused cachaça
    25ml Aged cachaça (e.g. Abelha Cachaça Gold – aged 3 years)
    2 dashes Fee Brothers Grapefruit Bitters
    1 dash Angostura Bitters
    1 spoon of fine white sugar
    a bit of orange peel

    Put sugar and bitters in a tumbler, add ice and cachaça gradually, bit by bit, stirring all the time. Squeeze the oils out of the orange peel, (flame them if you wish), then stick a couple of clove seeds into the orange peel and use it as a garnish.

    The freshness of the orange zest on the nose provides a nice little contrast to all the warm flavours of the spices. With the spice infused cachaça, the Angostura Bitters aren’t necessary, but the grapefruit ones do just enough to avoid sweetness overload. The litmus test – I was sharing it with my friend whilst we were bantering the evening away, and we both had real difficulty passing the drink back to each other. While I was drinking it, the dog put his head on my lap, and I felt utterly fulfilled inside. I would have happily died at that point and become re-incarnated as a pair of warm slippers or a smoking jacket.

    the dog

    Do you guys have minced pies in the US/around the world?

    Photo by WallyG

    Mince Pies - they’re little sweet short pastry pies filled with ‘mincemeat’ which in this case actually means a mix of raisins, apples, sultanas and fruit peel, normally steeped in brandy. In the UK, you have to eat them at Christmas, or else you get accused of being in Al-Qaeda and The Queen can shoot you. They’re something of an obsession to the British, and the best crowd pleasing infusion we made was a “Mince Pie Infused Cachaca”. It’s brilliant for a number of reasons.

    Firstly, the words “pie-infused” before any spirit just don’t sound right. Also, in the UK, pie is a funny word. It’s a synonym for fat, as in “You’re looking a bit pie since you started going out with Tom?”, “Yeah, I’ve got love chub.” We also have a football chant of “Who ate all the pies?“, which is a standard thing for a mob to politely shout at someone who is circumferentially challenged.

    abelha cachaca infusions minatures

    The other reason is that it’s simply delicious. All the citrus peels in the mince are fantastic with the cachaça, but I think ‘mince meat’ would be an excellent infusion for a bourbon (not a scotch though) or rum too. Vodka would work too I guess, but I think the sweetness in spirits like bourbon, cachaça or rum really lift apart the flavours of all those annoying little granny fruits in the mince meat.

    I made 2 versions, one using Delia Smith’s recipe, and one using a jar of pre-bought Tesco’s (Tesco is a large, aka, monopoly grocery chain in the UK) mincemeat. In both cases 300g of mince meat to one 70cl bottle of Abelha Cachaça Silver seemed right. I left these for about three and a half weeks, and they came out delicious.

    Tesco Mincemeat

    It’s a great thing to serve to people in a shot glass as they come in from the cold. If you wanted to make a cocktail with it, I would suggest the following, based on the fact that we normally eat mince pies with cream, but custard would be good too:

    Brasilian Mince Pie with Custard
    50ml Mince Pie infused spirit (bourbon, rum, cachaça etc)
    20ml Fresh Apple juice
    Half an egg yolk
    Half a spoon of fine sugar
    10ml single cream
    Shake with ice, strain into a chilled martini glass, dust with fresh nutmeg and serve.

    This one could use a little work. I have suddenly got to the end of the post and am thinking that no-one has a clue what mince pies are, but there you go. Holla if you love mince pies!!


    * Disclosure: Me (Anthony) and my friend Hal have recently started our own independent brand of cachaça which we are importing to the UK. It’s an artisanal, copper pot still, small-batch cachaça, which also happens to be organic, and produced ethically. It’s called Abelha Cachaça, and this is our blog. But anyway I hope that noone minds that we we taking part in Mixology Monday as a brand and that you enjoy the reading about the drinks. I made them in my kitchen and I promise they are delicious.