Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for the ‘Drinks’ Category

Martini update

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I’ve updated my 2006 post on the Martini. See Update 5.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 September 2019 at 2:31 pm

Posted in Daily life, Drinks, Recipes

Broccolini Magic, with peppers, plus Mixed Berry Drink with mint

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I returned to this recipe, with some changes.

I put my large (No. 12) Field Company cast-iron skillet (see my review of cast-iron skillets) in the oven, turned it on to 350ºF and while that heated I prepared:

• 6 cloves garlic, chopped small – do these first so they can rest 15 minutes
• 1 large red onion, chopped
• 9 ounces mushrooms, sliced somewhat thick
• 2 bunches broccolini, chopped
• 2 Hungarian peppers, seeded and chopped
• 2 Anaheim peppers, seeded and chopped
• 1 large jalapeño pepper, chopped whole (stem cut off, but core and seeds included)

When the oven reaches temperature, let skillet remain heating for 5 minutes or so, then turn on large burner to medium-high heat (assuming you have an electric range). When burner is hot, turn off oven, remove skillet and put on burner. At this point I put the handle glove on the handle since otherwise I would forget an grab the hot handle.


• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• all the prepared vegetables
• 1 tablespoon dried spearmint
• 1 tablespoon dried majoram
• some grindings of black pepper

Cooking, stirring often at first and then from time to time until the broccolini is cooked and the mushrooms have given up their liquid and the onion has softened.

I ate about one-third of that for lunch. Then I made myself a nice iced berry drink:

1 cup frozen mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries)
handful of fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon erthritol

Put that into the immersion blender’s 2-cup beaker, add water to cover, and blend to smoothness. Add more water to the 2-cup line, stir, and drink with great pleasure.

I find myself increasingly consciousness about the healthfulness of what I eat and drink. That heightened awareness makes it easy to bypass unhealthful treats.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 August 2019 at 1:29 pm

Pink power juice with green foam

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It’s great! I use my immersion blender and its beaker. Put into the beaker:

1 cup frozen cranberries
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons erythritol
water to cover

Blend that, then add enough water to bring the total to 2 cups, stir, and enjoy.

Erythritol is good. It doesn’t cause gas or bloating, doesn’t raise blood glucose or trigger insulin, has no side effects, and is just about zero calories. Use it instead of granulated sugar, teaspoon for teaspoon.

Since I’m consuming the whole cranberry and not just extracted juice, I’m  thus getting fiber and the bioflavonoids that are in the skin, making this a very healthful drink indeed.

Next I’m going to try frozen cherries and lemon juice with water to make 2 cups.

Update: Here’s the source of the recipe:

More on erythritol:

and more on fruit juices:

Written by LeisureGuy

24 August 2019 at 11:49 am

A healthful high-antioxidant drink: Pink Juice with Green Foam

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And, it turns out, erythritol is even good for you:

Written by LeisureGuy

22 August 2019 at 3:10 pm

Perfect evening (with photos)

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Where to start? Right now I’m having a wonderful Manhattan, made with Gibson’s Finest Rare 12-year-old Canadian whisky (which back in the day meant rye whisky, but probably a rye-and-wheat mix—I’ll have to get some genuine rye: Crown Royal Northern Harvest or Odd Society Prospector (scroll down)), Martini & Rossi red vermouth, and a dash of Angostura, of course. (The great cartoonist Vip – Virgil Partch – did cartoons for their ads for years. “Don’t forget the Angostura!” It’s burned into my brain.) Example at right.

But for the past few hours I’ve been letting this flat-iron steak rest at room temperature (“tempering” the steak). Note the unusual grain, running lengthwise through the steak rather than across (as the in T-Bone, Porterhouse, rib-eye, NY/KC strip steak, etc.). It’s a very tender steak, however. In the photo I have already applied a thin coating of extra-virgin olive oil. I cooked mine this way in my No. 8 Field Company pan, which I heated in an oven to 500ºF, and using the sauce described at the post.

And while the oven came to temperature, I used this recipe to make 8 oz sliced Crimini mushrooms (scroll down). I discovered that my 11 7/8″ Matfer Bourgeat carbon-steel skillet is ideal for this. It provides a lot of room, and I can heat it on the range top rather than in the oven. And, like the cast iron, it is nonstick.

Here are the mushrooms before:

and after:










With the steak and mushrooms I had a glass of an inexpensive Côtes du Rhône.

And to add to all that, I’m reading “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea,” which offers an escape when the Amazon Prime Video “Hanna” becomes too tense. I do think translating the movie into a series is working well: makes you more conscious of the texture.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 April 2019 at 6:11 pm

1908 Empress Gin and the Growth of BC Distilleries

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Cinda Chavich writes in Douglas:

When Peter Hunt set out to create a gin to celebrate the centennial of Victoria’s historic Fairmont Empress Hotel, he chose both classic and unique botanicals.

There would be plenty of juniper and coriander for old-world style, plus contemporary touches of lively grapefruit peel and ginger root. But the most unique addition to the Empress 1908 Gin was a blue butterfly pea blossom from Thailand, which tints the gin a very royal purple and has made the spirit a hit both here and abroad.

“Empress 1908 Gin may soon be Canada’s most popular premium spirit export,” says Hunt, Victoria Distillers’ young president and master distiller, whose indigo gin recently surpassed Hendrick’s as the most popular premium gin sold in the province, and is now selling across Canada, in 22 U.S. states, and in the U.K. and Japan.

“Victoria Gin always did well, but Empress Gin surpassed Victoria Gin sales in five weeks,” says Hunt, “and within six months it was the best-selling premium gin in B.C.”

Hunt is the son of Bryan and Valerie Murray who opened an artisanal distillery called Victoria Spirits in 2008. They produced the eponymous Victoria Gin whose original bottling, with the image of a young Queen Victoria on the label, was launched at the Empress.

In 2015, the Murrays sold the company to Grant Rogers of Marker Group, and he expanded with a new larger distillery and tasting lounge on the waterfront in Sidney, rebranding as Victoria Distillers in 2016. Peter Hunt remained with the new company as president and master distiller. With the new gin so wildly popular, he is preparing to install a third still at the small Vancouver Island distillery to keep up with demand.

“Our production has increased tenfold in the last year,” he says.

Empress 1908 Gin is now the flagship spirit for Victoria Distillers, a boutique distillery which, like many, started with a dream of making whisky. Gin was a way to help distinguish the brand while the brown spirits aged in barrels, but Hunt says their whisky, rum and bitters projects have been eclipsed by their bold new gin.

Ingredients of Success

How the colourful butterfly pea blossom ended up in the botanicals for Empress 1908 Gin is a fascinating story.

Hunt says he was experimenting with various botanicals, including some of the signature Empress Hotel afternoon tea blends, while working on the new spirit named for the year the historic hotel opened.

The intense royal-blue colour was accidental, says Hunt, a result of infusing the Blue Suede Shoes blend of green tea and butterfly pea blossoms into a batch. When the gin turned colour he says he thought it was a nonstarter.

“I’d never heard of butterfly pea flowers,” he says. “We almost threw out the whole batch — who would buy this?”

But the gin, which so perfectly complements the amethyst accents in the new décor of the hotel’s modern Q bar, found instant fans. Soon hotel guests were grabbing a cab to the one government liquor store in Victoria that was selling the new spirit to buy a bottle.

The other exciting and unexpected side effect of this infusion is its ability to . . .

Continue reading. There’s quite a bit more.

Written by LeisureGuy

15 April 2019 at 3:12 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life, Drinks

The Wife’s away, and I’m a little bored, so: cooking

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Asparagus was selling for $3 for a large bunch, so I got 3 bunches. I can use some up in my breakfast, but I now have more than enough for that.

So after thinking about it, I came up this idea: I put my No. 12 Field Company cast-iron skillet in the oven and turned it to 350ºF to heat. It’s too large to heat well on the burner, and the walls would not get heated at all (cast iron being a poor conductor of heat). Heating it in the oven heats it uniformly and fills its rather large heat capacity.

While it heated, I prepped the veggies:

1/2 large red onion halved lengthwise, then cut crossways into thin strips
8 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced
1 enormous bunch of asparagus, cut into short lengths. This asparagus is fairly thin, so there were a lot
1 yellow summer squash, diced somewhat large

When the skillet’s ready, I’ll put it on a hot burner, add

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

and the sliced onions, along with:

a good pinch of salt and
multiple grindings of pepper.

When the onions are softened and transparent, I’ll add the garlic, cook that a minute, then the asparagus and squash and cook that, stirring occasionally, for 12-16 minutes.

I have some pitted Greek olives, and I was thinking about throwing them into the mix. Once I plate a serving, I’ll squeeze a lemon over. (Don’t want to do that in the skillet because the lemon juice on the hot skillet will strip the seasoning instantly, and I think it tastes fresher if squeezed over the dish just before eating. A Greek guy I knew in Annapolis back in the day ate dinner with a lemon half in his left hand and his fork in his right, occasionally jabbing the lemon and squeezing it over his next bite.)

Yeah, I think I’ll use the olives. What else would I do with them? And I added them with the onions to cook them. The final dish, ready to eat, looked like this:

Wish I had some grated or shaved Parmesan Reggiano or Romano Pecorino.

Note the handle cover. (It came with my ScanPan skillet, which I never use now.)

And tonight I think I’ll have a tipple of Red Fife. This was their very first batch of whisky—although aged in bourbon barrels, the whiskey is from barley, like Scotch, not corn (sometimes with wheat), like bourbon, and not rye, like rye whisky. It’s sold out already. Next batch will, I assume, be a year from now.

It is truly first-rate.

Update: This is the finishing salt I used on the veg, along with the lemon juice: rosemary garlic. Nice.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 March 2019 at 3:14 pm

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