Tag Archives: Vodka

The Chop’s Seawater Martini Cocktail Recipe

Some popular new ideas are nothing more than teeny tiny tweaks of very old, very good ideas. Roller skates were tweaked to make rollerblades. Facebook was just a better Myspace. They put sleeves on a blanket and called it a Snuggie.
It’s in that spirit that we offer you a small tweak to the grandaddy of all classic cocktails, the martini.

Notice we said “tweak.” Not improvement. Not “major breakthrough.” The poor martini has been ‘reinvented’ so many times that many casual drinkers don’t even know quite what a martini actually is. All we offer here is a slight variation: something you may want to try just once at least, or just once in a great while at most.

What's it taste like? It tastes like this.

What we have here is mostly just a “dirty” martini, with a slight variation and possibly a twist on the garnish. It’s not something you’d order just anywhere, or drink just anytime, but if at some point this Summer you find yourself overlooking the harbor from the Rusty Scupper’s dining room, or out on the deck at Nick’s Fish House, this version of the martini might be just the thing before dinner.

The Seawater Martini

  • 6 parts Vodka
  • 1 part Dry Vermouth
  • Large splash of olive juice
  • Small splash of clam juice
  • Anchovy-stuffed olive to garnish
  • Chill and mix as you would a traditional martini, serve straight up.

Of course, drinking actual seawater is never recommended, but the saltiness of olive brine mixed with the piscine flavor of clam is a very close approximation for a cocktail glass. We mentioned that you might want to call for one of these at a seafood restaurant, and aside from mixing one at home, that might be the only place you can order one. Clam juice isn’t exactly a common ingredient, even behind the best-stocked bars.

You can certainly try this with good, crisp gin as well, although clams and olives and gin might be a little overwhelming. This is already a very savory drink with vodka, and like some other produce of the sea, it simply won’t be for everyone.

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The Chop’s Democrat Cocktail Recipe

We’ve never really been the type who alternates consistently between a “winter drink” and a “summer drink,” but 2011 might just be the year that that changes for good. As a pretty loyal bourbon/Scotch drinker, we’re happy to pour a whiskey sour or a mint julep during the Summer months, and warm weather is the perfect time to enjoy a Lemon Stick or a Veracruz but until we came up with the Democrat, we hadn’t found anything we could potentially stick with all Summer long.

When mixed properly, the Democrat will look similar to this.

We settled on the name not because we happen to be a Democrat, or because we regularly enjoy drinking with other Democrats, but because the Dems mascot is a donkey, and we fashioned this after a classic drink: The Moscow Mule. Virtually all existing recipes for the Moscow Mule call for ginger beer. While ginger beer is great, we’ve found a way to update and improve this classic, making it lighter without sacrificing that spicy bite of ginger, and making it at once more summery and more alcoholic.

The Democrat

  • 3 parts vodka
  • 2 parts ginger liqueur
  • 1 part lime juice
  • splash of simple syrup
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • club soda

Pour ingredients in that order into a rocks filled glass. Stir and top off with club soda.

Another upgrade we’ve made is nixing the traditional copper mug which is a hallmark of the Moscow Mule. A regular Collins glass will work just fine here. Similar to a generously poured Collins, this cocktail is strong enough to appreciate, but not so strong that you can’t drink several of them on a hot Summer day. We’ve found that they’re the perfect mix of the citrus we’d expect in a warm weather drink, and the rich taste of ginger which we enjoy year round.

Go ahead and mix one up, we think you’ll like it just as much as we do.

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The Ten Best Unpopular Highballs

It’s officially Spring in Baltimore. The good news is that Flowermart and Preakness are right around the corner. The bad news is that Spring also means household chores and Spring cleaning. There is a silver lining though, and it is that Spring cleaning also means cleaning out your home bar.

If you’re like us, you’ve been hoarding bottles the way squirrels hoard nuts during your winter hibernation. There’s no time like the present for streamlining your bar, and one of the easiest ways to do that is by mixing highballs.

Drinks in the back yard are often different from drinks at the bar.

First a clarification: Wikipedia tells us that the term highball originally referred to scotch and soda, but has grown to encompass almost any combination of liquor and soft drinks, mostly but not exclusively of the carbonated variety. A highball is usually what people refer to with the term “mixed drinks” as opposed to “cocktails” which are typically comprised mostly of liquor.

In bars and taverns, some particular highball combinations enjoy a longstanding popularity; Jack and Coke, Gin and tonic, Bourbon and ginger ale, Seven and Seven, etc. Those are all solid choices, but at home having too much, or not enough of one ingredient can lead to some unexpected choices. After all, the best part of home bartending is experimentation…

  • 10: Vodka and Flavored Seltzer. Take a trip up the soda/water aisle in the grocery store and you’ll find plenty of lightly flavored seltzers which aren’t stocked in bars and which are much cheaper than regular sodas. these are a perfect choice for Spring and Summer drinking.
  • 9: Jameson and Lemonade. This doesn’t sound so good on paper, but something about it just works. The combo of malt and citrus makes for a slightly organic taste, and of course, there’s a ton of sugar in there too. We once brought home a bottle Wasmund’s malt whisky, and the only way we could power through it was by adding lemonade.
  • 8: Vodka and Sweet Tea. Sometimes known as an Icepick, this is a drink that is best drunk at home, because no bar or restaurant we know of locally makes tea the right way: Sweet.
  • 7: Gin and Sprite. Most gin drinkers will reach for tonic every time, but we’ve got a sweet tooth. Sprite is the only thing we’ve found so far that makes us like gin enough to drink it throughout the evening.
  • 6: Vodka and Cran-Raspberry. This is actually our father’s drink of choice. Any bar can pour you a Cape Cod, but you’ve got to be at home to make it with cran-raspberry. And trust us, it’s much better that way.
  • 5: Dark Rum and Lemon Water. It’s hard to say what we mean by lemon water. It’s much more tart and lightly flavored than lemonade, and only slightly carbonated. Not quite water, not quite soda, you’ll know it when you see it. Whatever it is, the lightness and crispness of it is a perfect complement to the syrupy quality of a rum like Myers’s or our own favorite, the Kraken.
  • 4: Light Rum and Fruit Punch. Check your fridge, you might have a bottle of fruit punch hanging around back there. You know the kind we mean, mostly grape juice, some pear juice, a small fraction of other juices, and a palm tree on the label. make sure to use rum and not vodka to avoid unpleasant memories of “jungle juice.”
  • 3: Tequila and Snowballs. Most people who are from here don’t realize that snowballs are native regional fare for Baltimore. They also often don’t realize that they’re best enjoyed with liquor dumped all over them. There are a ton of winning flavor and liquor combinations, but you can’t go wrong with tequila and a key lime pie flavored snowball. Just be sure to skip the marshmallow topping.
  • 2: Bourbon and Apple Cider. Granted, this is more of a seasonal drink for the Fall, but it is good enough to drink year round. Plain old apple cider is such a great mixer, it’s surprising that more hoity-toity bartenders haven’t caught on to its use as a cocktail ingredient.
  • 1: Anything and Limeade. Limeade is pretty gross on its own, but it’s one of the most versatile mixers you can buy. Most of the types you find at the store are of pretty good quality too, since they’re not all artificial sweeteners and citric acid like most lemonades. Works with rums, tequila, gin, and just about every one of the 10,000 flavored vodkas out there. Best bet: Cherry vodka limeade.

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The Chop’s Chatreuse Gimlet Cocktail Recipe

So we find ourselves in the thick of Memorial Day Weekend, and those of you that aren’t at the beach are probably spending today at some sort of cookout, potluck, garden party or other social event. In the spirit of the season, we’d like to humbly suggest you forgo the cheapie bottle of Australian Sauvignon Blanc and instead swing by Hopkins Deli for a more potent and memorable hostess gift; a bottle of Chartreuse.

As you already know, the Chop loves a classic cocktail. Unfortunately, we’re not big on gin, and very picky about rum (and not snobby picky… we like Bacardi). So when spring and summer roll around and it’s time to lighten up with the brown liquor, we find ourselves drinking too many things that taste like lemons and limes.

How can we add a little more flavor and still keep the vodka gimlet a crisp, refreshing, warm weather drink? The answer was simpler than we thought.

The Chartreuse gimlet will look similar to a traditional gimlet or daquiri.

This one’s another Baltimore Chop original as near as we can tell, and it took us a lot more tweaking than we thought it would. We’ve got a sweet tooth, so we started out by adding simple syrup, which was a mistake. The Chartreuse and citrus are sweet enough as-is, and you may even want to add a dash of bitters if it suits your taste.

Matters were also complicated by the fact that not all bars carry Chartreuse, although they probably should. A special hat tip is in order to Bad Decisions who not only carries green and yellow Chartreuse, but has a citrus press juicer behind the bar.

The Charteuse Gimlet

1 part Stolichnaya vodka

1 part Yellow Chartreuse

Juice of half a lime

It’s as simple as that. Shake, strain, and enjoy. Its got all the complexity of flavor you’d want in a gin gimlet, without the bitter, medicinal juniper taste of gin. As we said, you might like to add bitters, and if you do, we recommend Fee Brothers’ Grapefruit Bitters which will add a new note of complexity to the drink, without altering the flavor drastically. You can also try the green variety of Chartreuse, although in our experience the yellow is much more enjoyable in this cocktail.

A new twist to an old classic, a pitcher of these at today’s function will insure that everyone has a great weekend, and that no one actually remembers it.

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The Chop’s Lemon Stick Cocktail Recipe

The Chop had a good idea once. It was the kind of idea that’s so good it can wake you up out of a sound sleep and demand your entire attention. It was the kind of idea that was so simple it was brilliant. But it was the dead of Winter, and eventually, the idea allowed itself to lie dormant until spring.

But Spring is here, Baltimore! Our idea is back, and after much mixing and measuring and tasting and tippling, The Baltimore Chop is proud to debut the Lemon Stick Cocktail.

The lemon stick should have an opaque white appearance, like this.

The lemon stick is one of our favorite things… an exclusively Baltimore tradition which hasn’t been cheapened by overexposure and continuous gratuitous references. It claims it’s origin at Flowermart, and can be found at spring and summer festivals throughout the Baltimore area. In honor of Flowermart, which begins today at Mount Vernon Place, we give you the Lemon Stick cocktail. It’s every bit as refreshing as the eponymous treat, delicious enough to serve to Grandma while she wears her fancy hat, and strong enough to make you stop and smell the roses (and maybe lie down in them for a while).

The Lemon Stick

2 parts Stolichnaya Vodka

1 part Rumple Minze

1 part simple syrup

2 large lemon wedges

Technique: Mix vodka, Rumple Minze, syrup, and the juice of one lemon wedge in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain over new ice in an old-fashioned glass and add second lemon wedge as garnish. Or, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and add a twist of lemon.

Comment: You may wish to use just a bit less than one part of RM or Syrup. Use any brand of vodka as long as it is of acceptable quality. Do not attempt to substitute generic peppermint schnapps for Rumple Minze. RM is 100 proof. The cheap stuff is typically 30 proof. This drink depends entirely on quality ingredients. Do not use commercial sour mix for any reason. If you really want to get fancy, serve over crushed ice with a peppermint stick as garnish.

It’s also worth noting that this is an original recipe. We couldn’t find anything very similar anywhere we looked. We hope it will catch on and spread throughout the land of pleasant living. Make it a new summer tradition.

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