How Did The Screwdriver Get Its Name?

As with many of the cocktails, you can expect at least 2 stories of how a drink was invented.

The Screwdriver is no different.

It is apparently one of the first vodka cocktails invented.

Fresh OJ, vermouth and gin
Freshly squeezed OJ makes a wonderful difference!

Prohibition caused the production of some vile tasting homemade alcohol so bartenders began adding fruit juice to spirits. Thus, the birth of cocktails.

We do know that the Screwdriver has been around since at least 1949 when Time Magazine published this quote on October 24:

“In the dimly lighted bar of the sleek Park Hotel, Turkish intelligence agents mingle with American engineers and Balkan refugees, drinking the latest Yankee concoction of vodka and orange juice, called a ‘screwdriver.”

Which Park Hotel do they speak of? India? Seems they’ve only been around since the 1960’s. Unless it was rebuilt.

Where did this madness start?

  1. Was it during World War II when soldiers snuck vodka into their morning OJ?
  2. Or when Mid-20th-Century oil workers in the Persian Gulf started mixing the same ingredients after a very long day? Lacking utensils to stir this mixture, they reached for the closest item that would work….a screwdriver.
  3. Perhaps it was the facial expression of someone drinking the vile tasting homemade vodka, during the Prohibition-era, that prompted the idea. Mixed with the need to disguise any talk of alcohol, the code word, Screwdriver, was put into use to mislead authorities. So that takes us to the 1920’s and 30’s before WWII and certainly before mid-Century!

Is it just me, or do they all seem like lame stories?

But, hey, what about this quote from Journalism quarterly, Volume 44 in 1938…. “And answered it “The famous Smirnoff Screwdriver”, Just pour a jigger of smirnoff vodka over ice cubes, fill glass with orange juice and serve.”

Could this GET any more confusing?

Then, in 1944, in Volume 23 of Newsweek, this was published:  “A Screwdriver —a half-orange-juice and half-vodka drink popularized by interned American aviators—costs a dollar including the customary barman’s tip.”

Smirnoff’s “Screwdriver” Campaign began in 1937 so that blows pretty much all of these theories out of the water, so to speak. Except for maybe #3.

However, I don’t see the Smirnoff website making any claims of inventing the drink.

That being said, let’s go with #2! It’s the earliest version that I can find. Know of an earlier story? I’d love to hear it!

Happy National Screwdriver Day!

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe just for fun on December 14, 2017.

 

11 Scrumptious, And Oh So Dangerous, Ways to Enjoy Your Cocoa This Holiday Season

Why dangerous? Because you can barely taste the alcohol and the flavour is heavenly!

Thank you, Dave, at the Highlander Pub!

Have you ever wondered where cocoa comes from? We all know it’s from a bean. Not to be confused with the coffee bean, however. But before that? What does the bean look like before it is a bean? What does the tree look like?

It is possible that the cacao tree had been in use even before the Mayan culture, which dates back as far as 600 AD. So much more that some believe the Olmec civilization 3000 years ago first discovered the delicious fruit of these trees.

The Olmec people are presumed to originate from what is today the state Veracruz and, it’s neighbouring state, Tabasco, Mexico is where the Olmec people originate. The plant is native to in Central and South America and, today, still grows wild in Southern Mexico.

If you’ve never seen what a cocoa tree looks like, see how the cocoa pods are harvested and are turned into chocolate. First time I ever saw the true source of our chocolate bars!

In Central America? Be sure to visit the chocolate factory Hacienda La Luz.

All chocolate comes from the Theobrama cacao tree. Of this tree, there are 3 main types: Criollo, Forastero(the one with the bitter taste) and Trinitario.

Today, for National Cocoa Day, try warming up your Hot Cocoa with liqueur, if you dare!

Step 1: Make your cocoa.

Step 2: Take your pick of the following:

Kahlua.

Frangelico, maybe even with brandy or both.

Baileys, of course. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without this.

Peppermint Schnapps or Tequila or both.

Rum and Cinnamon Liqueur.

Vanilla Vodka and Baileys.

Bittersweet hot chocolate and  red wine. Since chocolate pairs so well with red wine, why not mix them?

Coffee Liqueur.

If you’re a fan of orange-flavoured chocolate, add grand marnier.

Amaretto. Again, because of it’s orange based flavour.

As an Irish Hot Chocolate: Baileys, Whisky and Guinness.

What’s your favorite liqueur to add to your hot cocoa?

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on December 13, 2017. 

 

How Life Changed After Repeal Day

I’ll be honest, I had to look this one up. Well, I look them ALL up. I don’t have these facts running through my head at leisure. What does Repeal mean?

A hint….if you’re not sure either.

Popularly known as the Volstead Act.

Woodrow Wilson, the President of the United States at the time, along with American Congress passed this Amendment, outlawing alcohol….

THE 18TH AMENDMENT

RATIFIED JANUARY 16, 1919

“SECTION 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

SECTION 2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

SECTION 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.”

Used, with permission, from http://repealday.org.

Enter the Speakeasy

To it’s benefit, alcohol consumption dropped in the days, and years, following the establishment of Prohibition.

As a result, cases of deaths due to Cirrhosis, in men, decreased from 29.5 per 100,000 in 1911 to 10.7 in 1929.

State mental hospitals saw a decline in admissions for alcoholic psychosis from 10.1 per 100,000 in 1919 to 4.7 in 1928.

The  arrests police made for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct dropped by 50 percent between 1916 and 1922.

Then there’s the other side….the Speakeasies. They did exist before Prohibition but skyrocketed in popularity afterwards.

Reformists believed, during the Prohibition years, there had been an increase in child neglect and violence against children.

Hmm, makes you think alcohol is a coping mechanism?

Not to mention the lost revenue! The Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform and The Association Against the Prohibition Amendment claims $861 million was lost in federal tax revenue from untaxed liquor when $40 million was spent annually on Prohibition enforcement.

 On March 4, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt became President of the United States. It didn’t take long for changes to be made to Prohibition….

THE 21ST AMENDMENT

RATIFIED DECEMBER 5, 1933

SECTION 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

SECTION 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use there in of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

SECTION 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Just to be clear, Repeal means to revoke or annul.

Did you know there are still countries still enforcing prohibition? Apparently, outlawing alcohol in Canada didn’t really fly – it lasted only 2 years – and was implemented due to the war.

Heart & Crown on Preston St., Ottawa

Why Celebrate This Day?

First of all, be thankful, if you live in a country without prohibition, you can enjoy a glass of wine or draught in public with your friends without getting arrested.

Other holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo are not even written in the American Constitution and they are vastly celebrated. The Repeal Amendment is a part of the Constitution so enjoy…. responsibly.

The 21st Amendment allowed for the continuation of traditional fermentation and distillation, that was so rudely cut off for 17 years prior.

This catapulted the American bartender into “culinary artist” status.

If it were still outlawed, chances are you would make sure you found a way to have one today.

Exercise your right, go ahead and celebrate National Repeal Day. Have your favorite drink after work….because you can!

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on December 5, 2017.

It’s National Harvey Wallbanger Day!

Harvey What?! The Harvey Wallbanger is a glorified Screwdriver. Not to say it isn’t delicious because it is.

It’s origins are speculated by many but really unknown.

Three-time world champ mixologist, Donato Duke Antone claims to have invented this drink in 1952. He named the drink after a surfer, Tom Harvey, who frequented his bar, the now-defunct Black Watch Bar in Los Angeles.

Or perhaps it was George Bednar, an employee of McKesson’s Imports Company, who promoted Galliano. Bednar hired an artist, possibly one, Bill Young, to design a surfer caricature with the slogan, Harvey Wallbanger is the name. And I can be made!”. They also promoted another slogan“Fond of things Italiano? Try a sip of Galliano.”

Lucky for whoever invented it, the drink caught on for beach goers.

An interesting tidbit of information, not necessarily related to the Harvey Wallbanger, finds John McKesson and Charles Olcott as the founders of McKesson’s in 1833 New York City. It began in the production of therapeutic drugs and chemicals then merged in the 1960’s, introducing alcoholic beverages, drugs and chemicals.

In 1988, an article announced that  McKesson’s would cease the production of alcohol and would maintain their pharmaceutical-only status.

In my opinion, the Harvey Wallbanger is the perfect example of the naming of wild cocktails during the psychelic era.

What Makes The Wallbanger So Different?

The one ingredient that makes this drink different from a Screwdriver is Galliano, a vanilla-anise flavoured Italian liqueur now owned by Lucas Bols.

If there’s anise in it, wouldn’t it taste like licorice? Well, the vanilla prevents the strong taste of anise to take over the liqueur. Like most popular liquors and liqueurs, the company protects its secret ingredients. Galliano is no different. The only spicing they divulge is Mediterranean Anise, Juniper, Musk Yarrow, Star Anise, Lavender, Peppermint, Cinnamon and Vanilla.

With the distillery situated in the Netherlands, Bols International is still run by the Bols family. Their first liqueur, in 1575, a blend of cumin, cardamom and orange was produced in the small Amsterdam distillery called tlootsje.

Lucas Bols, the grandson of the founder, played a key role in growing the company by shipping their product all over the world.

The design of their bottle is distinctively unique and ergonomic for bartenders to pour from.

In 2007, Bols opened their doors to those who wished to learn the craft and for tours. They offer courses, seminars and contests to bartenders and consumers. Visit their website for some cool how-to videos too!

The Official Harvey Wallbanger

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 4 ounces orange juice, freshly squeezed is best
  • 3/4 ounce Galliano
  • cherries

Over ice, pour the vodka and juice. Float the Galliano over the back of a spoon.

Other drinks made with Galliano:

Galliano + root beer

Galliano + bourbon + bitters (orange or angostura)

Golden Russian: Galliano + vodka + lime juice

Titanic: Galliano + vodka + blue curacao + dry vermouth

A layered shot called Tummy Boom: Galliano + Campari (campari on the bottom)

I’m quite partial to The Kim: Galliano + triple sec + brandy + sugar

I know what my next liquor purchase will be so I can make some of these great looking cocktails!

Enjoy your Harvey Wallbanger! Cheers!

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on November 8, 2017

 

National Brandied Fruit Day

What is brandied fruit? My mind goes back to my childhood when those boxes of Pot of Gold sat open on the coffee table at Christmas time. Rum chocolates and that sort of thing.

Brandied fruit is not so tame, I’ve discovered.

Bourbonized Apricots

When I think about it, I have actually eaten this. On a vacation to the Dominican Republic a few years back, I returned, quite happily, with some delicious tequila, called Bear Hug, that I had sampled at the duty free shop.

No lemon, nor salt is required to toss one of these shots back. It is the sweetest, smoothest tasting tequila I have ever tried. Better yet, don’t toss it back. Savour it’s delightfulness with a small ice cube. Move over, Jose Cuervo!

A nice little gift waited for me at the bottom of this bottle of Bear Hug. Not a worm but strips of papaya! Those little babies pack a punch! Be careful eating too much in one sitting, otherwise you’ll end up with alcohol poisoning.

Granted the title implies using brandy, but, based on the above combination, why not use any favorite liquor? Incidentally, brandy is produced from the distillation of wine. Whereas, wine is the product of fermentation and, in many cases, aging.

Again, I will mention the Bitters Experiment. The fruit I have used so far are apricots and cranberries. Use your imagination! Mangoes are my next target. The most popular are: Apples, Apricots, Cherries, Pears, Peaches and Plums. A variety of berries work great, too!

As far as the alcohol aspect, you can use Armagnac, American Brandies or Cognac. Catch my post coming up in February for National Brandy Day.

Jack Daniels & Cranberries

For the best results, infuse your chosen fruit in your best tasting alcohol for at least one month.

The down side is you have to add alot of sugar, such as the case of this recipe. I did not add sugar to my fruit infusions but could add honey if I so chose. Or I could mix my bitters with a fruit juice or a sweet liqueur, the options are endless.

I did find one that requires much less if you’re interested in attempting your own concoction for National Brandied Fruit Day.

Make Your Own Brandied Fruit

1 pound of fruit

3-4 tablespoons of sugar (more if the fruit used isn’t overly sweet)

1/3 cup water

2 inches of a vanilla bean

Additional spices, such as cinnamon, allspice, peppercorns, etc, even citrus peels, can be experimented with.

Simmer water and sugar and cook until clear. Let cool.

Sprinkle the cut/sliced/chopped fruit with lemon juice. Fill sterilized jars, leaving half an inch of space at the top. Pour the brandy/liquor mix to fill the rest of the jar.

Add small bits of vanilla to each jar and any spices you wish. Seal and store in a dark place for a month or longer.

Once it’s ready in a month from now and you want to nibble on a couple of pieces, top up the jar with more of the same alcohol/brandy to keep the fruit safe for consumption.

A jar should last up to 10 months in the refrigerator after opening.

For the full recipe, since I made modifications to my own preference.

Ways to Enjoy Brandied Fruit

  1. On top of ice cream.
  2. All by itself.
  3. When the girls come over for a pajama party. (No one’s driving after a few of these, right?!)
  4. Toss some in your Sangria.
  5. As an accompaniment to your cheese plate.
  6. Bake it into a cake.

I would love to hear of any of your variations of fruit and liquor/liqueur. Drop me a line!

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on her birthday, October 20, 2017.

 

It’s National Vodka Day

Vodka, an Eastern European spirit stems from the Russian word voda which means little water.

Polish Vodka is traced back to the 11th Century and was referred to as gorzalka. This translates to “to burn”. Hmm, how proper.

Today, it is more commonly called  Woda in Poland.

I’m not so sure I like Wikipedia’s description of vodka where it states that it is made up of water and ethanol. Think I’ll steer clear of drinking vodka and maybe put some in my gas tank instead.

But really, it is fermented cereal grains, and sometimes, potatoes. Some brands use fruit or sugar.

In 1405, the first written mention of the word vodka comes from court documents  from the Palatinate of Sandomierz in Poland. It refers to medicine while gorzalka was still meant as the distilled drink.

The Age of Vodka

The oldest distillery, Sobieski, dating back to 1864 in Starogard Gdańsk,  Poland.

Made from 100% Dankowski Rye.

In the fields of nearby towns, Freda, Lubichowo, and Osowo Leśne, the grain, specifically for their vodka, is grown. Rye is their specialty and has received a Gold medal for their product.

Despite all this greatness, the cost is very comparable to the ever popular Smirnoff.

A point of interest, if you’re in Poland, visit the largest castle in the world, the 14th Century Malbork Castle, near the Baltic Sea coast.

Also in Poland is the Wierzynek, a restaurant in Kraków, which showcases its long running heritage. The building originates back to the 1300’s!

On opening night in 1364, 5 kings and 5 princes attended the affair. It has maintained upper status ever since.

Smirnoff History in Short

Made from Fermented Corn.

Pyotr Smirnov began his distillery in Moscow in 1864 and labelled it as PA Smirnoff. He pioneered the charcoal method of distillation. His third son, Vladmir Smirnoff took over when Pyotr passed away in 1898 and made it a huge success. For awhile.

In 1904, Vladmir was forced to sell. He re-established the distillery in Constantinople in 1920 after having to flee Russia, escaping, luckily with his recipe, from an anti-alcohol campaign . He moved again to Poland and renamed the vodka, Smirnoff, the French spelling. A second factory opened in Paris in 1925 with marginal success. He joined with Rudolph Kunett but ran into financial trouble. Enter John Martin, of A1 Sauce fame who bought the rights to Smirnoff in 1939. Martin marketed the corn-based spirit as the “white whisky” with no taste and no smell.

A Soviet-based Vodka made from wheat and rye.

They, too, use the charcoal method which they believe mellows the spirit and removes impurities.

Something to make note of: Regular Smirnoff is gluten-free whereas, the flavoured Smirnoff, all 31 of them, are not.

Żubrówka is a pale yellow vodka distilled from rye. Translated, it is Bison Grass Vodka. The Bison Grass is grown in Białowieża Forest, Poland.

Gotta love wikipedia. They have compiled a list of vodka, the country they’re  from, and from what they are fermented.

I dare say, Canada has one of the coolest looking bottles in the list! You’ve probably seen it in your liquor store?

Not on the list, however, is Beattie’s which is made from potatoes. They are situated in Alliston, Ontario but the family-owned business has Scottish heritage.

Wherever you are, there is likely a distillery nearby to  try out for National Vodka Day.

Some may drink this spirit straight but personally, I prefer to mix it, especially in a Caesar.

Mix it up with almost anything! Cranberry juice, 7-UP, I hear Mountain Dew is quite good, too, lemonade, even throw some in your Sangria for an extra kick. Add a mix of pineapple and orange juice or each on their own. Not that I’m promoting it but Red Bull is a staple mix for it now. It does taste good but so not good for you for so many reasons. But that’s another blog….

The dangerous thing about mixing with vodka is how it sneaks up on you. It is virtually tasteless so you think you’re drinking juice, or whatever your mix is, then drink a ton of them. End of story. We know where THAT leads….to a day after hangover!

So please drink responsibly.

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on October 4, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prefer Bourbon or Whisky For Your Sour?

Simple…. Delicious…. Whisky Sour.

1 oz bourbon…. Why bourbon? Because it tastes better!

3 oz lemon/lime

Made the best way…with Bourbon

Garnish with whatever you like but traditionally it is with a lemon wedge and a maraschino cherry.

For National Whisky Sour Day, try these variations:

Boston Sour – same as above but shake with an egg white and ice.

Ward 8 – same as above but add orange juice and grenadine.

I’m not knocking the whisky. I’ve had a few sours in my day and loved them! Then, one kind bartender made one for me with Bourbon. I’ll never go back to whisky now!

As a quick reminder, whisky could be made from various grains such as wheat, rye, maize or barley and is aged in charred white oak barrels.

Elliot Stubb claims to have invented the Whisky sour in 1872.

Prince Edward County’s Finest Whisky

But let’s back up 2 years. In the weekly Waukesha, Wisconsin newspaper, Waukesha Plaindealer,  on Tuesday, January 4, 1870, there is an article written by Terence McGrant (Irish cousin to former President Ulysses S. Grant) who makes a reference to this cocktail: “Amen,” says the Methodist, as he ordered another whisky sour. (In the link above, 4th column from left, near the bottom).

Back it up even further, to 1862, when Jerry Thomas published The Bartender’s Guide. His Whisky Cocktail is strangely close to what we know as a whisky sour today. Enter “50” in the page number box to find it.

In the same fashion as the rum rations of the 17th Century, whisky would have substituted rum since it was more readily available. Otherwise, you had to wait for the rum to arrive. Surely, that wasn’t happening! To the rye, the juice from a lemon or lime would be added.

Since the real origins could be anywhere in the world, and since I couldn’t find any older concrete evidence other than Terence McGrant’s article, let’s go with Wisconsin!

Not too far from Waukesha is the city of festivals, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There’s always something going on. Today on Whisky Sour Day, there is a Mexican Fiesta running for the next 2 days. Don’t miss the tequila tasting. Ahem, a little off topic but worthwhile just the same.

Take your pick of distilleries scattered throughout Wisconsin, with 3 of them in Milwaukee, to include on your next visit. They’re on my list!

Find someone to concoct your whisky sour today or whip one up at home. It’s so easy. Check your freezer section for frozen concentrated limeade, even lemonade, and make a pitcher of it to share with friends. It’s Friday after all!

Experiment with the lemons and limes to find out how you like it best.

What’s your preference, whisky or bourbon?

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on August 25, 2017.

What your cocktail will look like shaken with an egg white.

 

 

 

National Grand Marnier Day

 

Jean-Baptiste Lapostolle began his distillery in 1827 in Neauphle-le-chateau in France where he produced a liqueur using a variety of fruit.

Along came Louis Alexandre Marnier, from a family of wine-makers in the Sancerre region of France. Louis married Monsieur Lapostolle’s granddaughter in 1876. I like to think he stole her heart but maybe he persuaded her with the delicious liqueur her grandfather made.

The Lapostolle and Marnier went into business together and put the name Curacao Marnier to their new orange flavoured liqueur.

Marnier insisted on importing the finest oranges from the Caribbean.

Interestingly, there is an island in the Caribbean, off the northern coast of Venezuela, named Curacao. It makes up the ABC Islands: Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire. Very much under the radar, give it a try.

Curacao actually means a liqueur flavored with the peel from bitter oranges.

Meanwhile, back in 1880, Marnier’s friend, hotel owner, Cesar Ritz, yes THE Ritz, tried the liqueur and declared it should be called Grand due to its grand taste and to disregard the trend of everything being ‘petit’ all over France. Petit Café, Petit Chateau, etc.

Thus, we now know it as Grand Marnier.

Compliments of the home of Christine Hamel

Great in so many drinks: B-52’s, Margaritas or The Batiste which is made with 1 oz gold rum, 1 1/2 oz GM in a chilled glass.

Or try it simply with ginger ale.

To enjoy it in a dessert, try a Grand Marnier Souffle! See the recipe for a Chocolate GM Sauce, too.

To celebrate the famous liqueur, find yourself a cozy French restaurant anywhere in the world, perhaps a ‘Petit Cafe’ to enjoy a Grand Marnier.

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on July 14, 2017

 

 

 

It’s Time For a Pina Colada!

It’s been so long since I found the actual person who invented a specific cocktail! I thought I found the one person who invented it.

Then I read elsewhere that there are a few possibilities. Figures.

Spanish bartender, Ramon Portas Mingot who worked at the Barrachina in Puerto Rico in 1963, tossed pineapple juice, milk and rum together in a blender which soon became known as the Pina Colada.

The Barrachina, the ‘king of Paella”, is located in the beautiful and vibrant Old San Juan.

Personally, I had to look up the location of Puerto Rico. I thought it was near Mexico. High School Geography was a long time ago. For those who don’t know, it is a small island off the eastern tip of Dominican Republic.

That’s one.

Within the Caribe Hilton Hotel in Puerto Rico is The Beachcombers Bar where Ramon “Monchito” Marrero tended bar in 1954. Management asked him to create a signature drink for the bar which offered the flavours of the island.

Apparently, it took him 3 months to find the perfect cocktail made up of rum, cream of coconut and pineapple juice.

That’s two.

Still at the Caribe Hilton in the same year, Ricardo Garcia claims to have invented the drink. According to him, there was a coconut cutters strike going on at that time. He had been making rum and cream of coconut, served with the actual coconut. Due to the strike, he started using hollowed out pineapple.

The juice from the insides of the pineapple added flavour to the drink. It became so popular, he added a little pineapple juice to the actual drink.

And so, we have the Pina Colada which, according to some, translates into “strained pineapple”. Google didn’t fully agree. But we all know what google does with words.

Homemade Pina Colada with coconut rum and coconut water.

The common thread? The Pina Colada is the national drink of Puerto Rico.

Not every city will serve this cocktail in the traditional pineapple but it can be done at home quite easily. In this video, she makes it look so easy. It is IF you have a pineapple corer.

These series of photos are done from home using a corer. Instead of using cream of coconut, I used coconut water. Very light and refreshing! And oh so delicious, some of the pineapple juice pooled inside at the bottom. Added flavour!

With all the bad news coverage, it is no surprise that United Airlines has the lowest last minute fares to Puerto Rico. Round trip is approximately $800. Personally, I would still fly United. I always have and never had any problems. Of course, depending on what time of year you go, the price will change. For example, in September you’re looking at about $600 and later in November, they’re up to about $900.

Old San Juan, founded 1509, is an old fort town which went through its share of attacks from the British, Dutch and even the States. There are plenty of historical forts to visit.

A slushy Pina Colada at Burrito Borracho in downtown Ottawa.

When you do get to San Juan, make sure you indulge in a Pina Colada. If you are elsewhere in the world today for National Pina Colada Day, I hope you will enjoy one anyway.

Cheers!

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on July 10, 2017

 

National Anisette Day – July 2

Did you know, the anise plant is within the same family as parsley?

Much like absinthe, the licorice-flavoured Anisette is sweeter due to the higher sugar content but has a lower alcohol level.

If you recall, the licorice flavour comes from the distillation of the seeds of the anise plant, specifically from the oil within the seed. This plant used to grow wild in the Mediterrenean and is one of the oldest spice plants. It dates as far back as 1500 BC Egypt.

It was believed to ward off the Evil Eye, to increase milk flow in nursing mothers; and to cure epilepsy. Ancient people used it as a remedy to snake bites and scorpion stings. It was also considered an aphrodisiac.

In Native American cultures, it is still used as a laxative.

According to WebMD, “Anise is used for upset stomach, intestinal gas, runny nose, and as an expectorant to increase productive cough, as a diuretic to increase urine flow, and as an appetite stimulant. Women use anise to increase milk flow when nursing, start menstruation, treat menstrual discomfort or pain, ease childbirth, and increase sex drive.

Other uses include treatment of seizures, nicotine dependence, trouble sleeping (insomnia), asthma, and constipation.”

Anise Tea

Steep anise for 20 minutes then add cinnamon and honey for extra flavour. But where can you get anise? If you live in Canada, Bulk Barn carries whole anise seed. Ladies, the next time, try one and see if it eases that annoying pain. In the States, Trader Vic’s or Whole Foods are recommended but not guaranteed.

Produced in but not restricted to, the Bordeaux region of France, Anisette is made by grinding numerous types of seeds, anise, of course, and in some cases, fennel and coriander, into a neutral spirit. It is combined with a syrup then distilled together.

Anise Flavoured Liqueur

In Rome, anise was added to sweet cake and given out at the end of banquets to help with digestion. No doubt, the Italian tradition of putting a drop of anisette in your after dinner coffee originated from this idea.

Or, if you want to mix it, drop a shot of anisette into a glass of water, don’t pour it. It will turn milky color on contact.

If you thought Sambuca was the only licorice flavoured liqueur, try these on.

Pastis is made from star anise which originates from Asia. Pastis came along due tot he ban of anise in France.

Like Absinthe, Anisette comes from green anise in Europe.

However, Anisette is considered the oldest anise flavoured liquor.

“The Romans are said to have eaten spiced cake with anise to avoid indigestion after a large meal. Pythagoras said it would absolutely guarantee an absence of seizures. In England, in 1305, anise was so popular that King James I taxed it as a commodity, because he needed money to repair the London Bridge.”

Women, take female entrepreneur, Marie Brizard as an example of a powerful woman. She began her company of creating liqueur in a time when women HAD no power. They weren’t even allowed to sign company documents. To get around this law, Marie married a family friend who sign the documents while she created anisette.

Founded in Bordeaux, France in 1755, her family still owns the company, and have managed to keep the ingredients top secret. They now produce over 60 products. Not only liquor but essential oils as well.

Anise spritzed cocktail

Marie would be proud to know her company has won over 50 medals in the last 6 years for liqueur competitions.

Anisette can be a little harder to find in your local bars but there’s a trend of spritzing drinks with flavoured liqueurs. This one has anise flavour spritzed over a gin, cointreau and lemon mix at Ace Mercado in Ottawa.

Submitted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on July 2, 2017