We adore cocktail parties here at Vamos Spanish Academy. Back home in Londres, I love nothing more than to partake in these shindigs with my circus of friends. No that was not a typo, I use the word circus because that’s usually what it feels like after we’ve all had just a couple sips of my specialty, scrumdiddlyumptious and very appropriately titled “Makeshift Magician” strawberry daiquiris. I think I’ve made my point.
Why do I advocate cocktail parties so?
Well for starters, if all attendees each bring a bottle of something, anything, booze, tonic water, then we’ve already got half the show on the road.
And secondly?… Ah yes, let’s not forget that cocktail bar prices are often an absolute gyp these days, not to mention on a traveler’s budget! Depending on what city you are in, cocktail prices can range from a ludicrous luxury (London, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro) to delightfully accessible (Mexico City between $60 MXN and $350, Oaxaca between $30 MXN and $200)
Nevertheless, as a rule of thumb, cocktails do tend to have a reputation of being quite a bit pricier than say, a pint of lager or a large glass of Malbec. And this may work for Argentina, as the country does not appear overly preoccupied with the art of mixology. But I do consider this a shame because cocktails are such a tastebud-tantalizingly fun way to spend time with friends; apple pie margaritas, Aperol spritz, blueberry muffin martinis and old-fashioned, Singapore symphonies. Need I say more?
So without further ado, let’s get our sleeves rolled up, mixologist caps on, and blenders plugged in.
Ready to pulverize…
Pisco Sour Recipe from Chile and Peru:
Pisco is a type of brandy made from the grape. You can drink it with coke and call it a “piscola” or you can do my personal favorite; the popular cocktail, “Pisco Sour”. There are many variations of pisco, and ways to prepare pisco-sours, and oh god, just mentioning pisco is like opening a can of worms. So let’s keep it light and forget about the Chilean pisco vs Peruvian pisco feud for a second because it is a whole other topic in itself.
It’s probably one of my favorite drinks when made well…
Its tart, zesty lime flavour with a kick of whoopass is served to be sipped and not slurped. As a little goes a long way, and this little minx goes straight to the head.
· 2 cups of pisco
· Juice of 4 freshly squeezed key limes
· 2 egg whites
· 1 cup of crushed ice
· 2 teaspoons of icing sugar
· A blender or cocktail shaker. I recommend blender because it makes the final result smooth and perfectly frothy!
1. Add the pisco, lime juice, sugar, ice and egg whites into a blender and blend until nice and frothy. Or if you are using a cocktail shaker, well shake it, shake it like a polaroid picture.
2. It should be done now, so serve into some champagne flutes and voila!
Cuban Mojitos Recipe:
I don’t know how I mustered up the nerve to include a mojito recipe under the subtitle of “Cuba” providing I have never been to Cuba.
I love mojitos and so did Ernest Hemingway, so let’s get on with the recipe!
This recipe yields one drink, but if you wish to prepare mojitos en mass, just multiply the units of my ingredients by the number of drinks you want to make and prepare it in a jar.
· 2 springs of Yerba Buena (or mint)
· 2 tablespoons of sugar
· Freshly squeezed lime
· Sparking water
· Lime Squeezer
1. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice into a glass.
2. Add about 2 tablespoons of sugar to the lime juice, depending on your preference, and mix well.
3. Add the 2 springs of Yerba Buena, stems and all, to the concoction. Then use a spoon to crush the Yerba Buena as this is what will release its flavor – but don’t overdo it. You don’t want the Yerba Buena to turn into mush, you want it to maintain some crispy freshness.
4. Put ice into the glass.
5. Add sparkling water to about 2 thirds of the glass.
6. Now for the exciting part, add the rum according to your taste!
7. Then mix well and buen provecho!
México… “To tequila or to mezcal? That is the question.”
When I arrived in Mexico, I was pretty sure that I would not be indulging in tequila that often if at all. I think we’ve all been there, that one experience that puts you off the smell of something for life. For me, tequila reminded me of that one time in my life I actually got grounded by my parents, for arriving home one night stinking of red bull, tequila, and some other stuff.
My underage self had been drinking “Bullfrogs” with my underage friends and I was about to pass out cold on the kitchen floor. Although not before I projectile vomited everywhere, of course.
… So as I was saying before I ventured into that moderately inappropriate and utterly traumatizing side-story. When I arrived in Mexico I had all the intentions to steer clear of tequila. And so naturally, when a bartender offered me mezcal, of which I had not a clue, I made the classic rookie mistake of readily accepting a proposal without quite understanding its implications. It was only when the bartender returned and presented me, to my very horror, with something suspiciously tequila-looking, that I decided it might be the right time to ask what I’d ordered.
-“What is mezcal, again?”
I sheepishly inquired the cooky guy, who grinned and proceeded to explain to me that it’s derived from the same agave plant as tequila, and that tequila lost its popularity with Mexicans once it got big with “gringos” and the rest of the world.
-“So we’re back on mezcal now. The trick is to kiss the glass,”
he told me.
I muttered as I kicked myself in the foot, and proceeded to awkwardly peck the edge of the mezcal glass with my lips. ….And low and behold to my absolute surprise. I totally enjoyed it… NOT.
No, I did not enjoy my mezcal romance. I did, however, enjoy the margarita I added it to later, to which the mezcal indeed contributed a pleasantly smoky undertone.
Classic Margarita en las rocas… (6 glasses)
· 1.5 cups of freshly squeezed lime juice
· 1.5 cups of tequila or mezcal
· 0.75 cup of triple sec
· 1 tablespoon of agave nectar
· Salt (optional)
· 1 cocktail shaker (if you don’t have one, just use anything like a jar or bottle or even a protein shake shaker. Be creative.)
1. Mix the lime juice, tequila or mezcal, triple sec, agave nectar, and an optional double pinch of salt in a cocktail shaker and sh-sh-sh-shake it. Alternatively, just pop the ingredients into any sort of vessel and shake, or stir if you must.
2. Then ready to serve! If you like, you can rim the edge of your glass with lime juice and then coat this with salt. Put ice in the glass, and then pour your margarita.
Makeshift Magician Daiquiri (Serves 2)
I thought I might as well add the recipe for my “specialty scrumdiddlyumptious ” daiquiri recipe seeing as I’ve talked the talk, so let’s see if this recipe can walk the walk.
· 500g strawberries (stalked)
· 200g ice
· White Rum
· 1 freshly squeezed lime
· 3 tablespoons strawberry concentrate
1. Pour the strawberries… (Some people like to sieve strawberry puree to get rid of the seeds before adding the other ingredients, but I don’t usually bother)
…Ice, 200 ml of rum (not quite a cup, but I would just add the whole cup), lime juice and strawberry concentrate into the blender and blend until smooth.
2. Serve in martini glasses to feel snazzy.
And finally, for all the weirdos out there whose curiosity was piqued by my barf story, here’s the Bullfrog recipe for you also. Warning: This is not for the faint-hearted.
· 1 ounce vodka
· 1 ounce gin
· 1 ounce silver tequila
· 1 ounce white rum
· 1ounce blue curacao
· 1 ounce lemon juice
· Dash of red bull
· Tall glass stirrer
1. Pour the vodka, tequila, rum, and gin over ice-filled glass
2. Pour in the blue curacao
3. Add the lemon juice
4. Top with Red Bull.
5. And finally, stir