Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mojito Part 1: The Classic

What You Need
Powdered sugar
Carbonated water (soda, seltzer, sparkling... just don't use tonic)
Fresh limes
Fresh mint
Light/White rum (decent quality, Bacardi or higher)
Highball glass

Summer is slowly approaching and it's time to start thinking about my summer cocktail for 2011. This has been a personal tradition of mine for about five years... each summer I seem to pick one cocktail and stick with it all season long. Last year was the summer of the mint julip, a southern classic. This year, the mojito has her Cuban claws deeply embedded.
As far as I'm concerned, the mojito is a perfect cocktail: not too sweet or heavy with a great flavor and plenty of zest (from both the rum and the lime). Plus, Ernest fucking Hemmingway drank them, and the only thing that man liked more than drinking was killing shit with huge guns. He is truly a man to be emulated.
This is part one of a two part series, focusing on the classic Cuban mojito. Part two will be a my more personal twist on the drink... but it's important to know where you come from, so here's the classic.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Motherfucking Booze Time: Stouts and Porters

Today is Saint Patrick's day and, more importantly, I'm heading to New Orleans tomorrow. These two things are pretty much unrelated... I'm going to Louisiana to see some friends for spring break and I don't need a fucking holiday to tell me when to drink. Everyone knows the best time to drink is now, followed closely by later. However, Saint Patrick's Day and my trip do have one thing in common: they're both to be a celebration of my favorite kind of beer.
I like my beer the way I like my women: dark, cold, slightly bitter, and filled with alcohol. Stouts (also called porters, but we'll get into that fucking subject later) are the darkest and among the most alcoholic of beers. Now, I'm not one to drink something just because it's loaded with booze... but when you're looking for something with a powerful taste, alcohol comes with the territory. I can't handle the generic, pissy beer taste of your Budweiser and Miller Lite. I want something with some balls. Whether you're a beer drinker or not, I urge you to give a stout a try. It really is a whole different league as far as flavor goes... and, hey, they even make some of them with chocolate.

The History of Stouts or The Best Way to Get Too Drunk to Carry Shit
The history of the stout/porter dates back all the way the 1700s. Like most booze history, the actual story is a little fuzzy at first... getting wasted for 300 years tends to change shit. Allegedly, the grandfather of the porter was actually a blend of ale, beer, and really fucking strong beer called Three Threads. This was a drink of the working alcoholic, primarily ship and street porters a.k.a. people whose job is to carry heavy shit. This was the primo drink for about thirty years, until a brewer managed to brew a single beer that had a similar taste (or it might have been brewed just because... this is one of those fuzzy areas) which he called Entire and the rest of England called porter after the folks that drank them. This same brewer was the first to age beer BEFORE it was sent out to the drinking public, lending even more punch to the brew.
Porters, along with dark, extremely alcoholic beers in general, were hot shit until about 1800, when the first pale ale was brewed. Tastes changed and porters got milder and milder, until most breweries stopped making them all together, leaving them behind as relics of a drunken century. With the micro-brew revolution, everything that was old is new again, and stouts are back in a big way.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lemon Glazed Chicken

Chicken breast (strips, fillets, halves... whatever blows your skirt)
Fresh parsley
Vegetable oil

Thus sayeth Natalie Dee

After a slightly lengthy vacation/prison sentence, I'm back to the blog. I would apologize for my absence, but I don't care what the fuck you think, so... there's that.
When you go to the grocery store to gather lemons to make this (which you will do if you know what's good for you) make sure you get the best lemons in the pile. This requires a little fruit investigation. You want a lemon that feels heavy but not hard. When you squeeze it there should be some give... a hard lemon means a thicker rind, which means you get less juice. Obviously, you'll want to avoid any lemons that have brown splotches, but green splotches are ok. Lemons change from green to yellow based entirely on temperature, not age, so a bit of green is perfectly fine. You can expect about three tablespoons of juice from your lemon, but that doesn't mean you should substitute bottled for fresh squeezed. Bottled lemon juice, while fine for cocktails, doesn't have the same delicate flavor as fresh lemon juice, so buy the goddamn fruit.