But Where Is Grasshopper?

February 9, 2010
Wise Elderflower Martini 

February 8, 2010
Zippy Martini

February 3, 2010
Xena Martini

Zippy, Xena, and Wise Elderflower, now there’s a combo.  Sounds kind of like the Powerpuff Girls meet Kung Fu.  For this last stretch of the Martini Book, I guiltily admit to jumping hither and yon in the recipes when something strikes my fancy.  Sue and I have both been busy and dealing with personal shit (particularly Sue, with the recent passing of her dear friend Michelle) and really haven’t taken the time to go through and assign recipes to ourselves like we usually do, week by week.  So it’s been a bit of a free-for-all.  I’ve still been consuming martinis, I just haven’t been posting them.  Which gets problematic after a couple weeks of backlog because I can’t remember what they tasted like.  Duh.  Blonde … it’s not just a haircolor!  It’s a lifestyle! 

The Wise Elderflower is in Sue’s newer book, not in mine, but I opted to take it for my list of “drinks to do” because I have elderflower liqueur, St. Germaine, in my liquor cabinet.  I like the stuff.  I had it with a gin and cucumber-muddled concoction some time back and really enjoyed it, so I’m happy to try another recipe with this in it.  So refreshing from the usual harshness of the dreaded Pernod.  Plus I like the name.  Makes me think of some Karate Kid moniker or one of the dudes from Kung Fu.  The one with David Carradine, not the cartoon with the panda from last year. 

"Grasshopper, would you be so kind as to pass me the vermouth?"

I grew up with Kwai Chang Caine, it aired when I was 9-12, which I recall as being mostly dreadful years with my Mom and her dickhead boyfriend and one-time (for 6 weeks or so) husband, Vince.  Caine was always such a cool dude, except for that time he had to get those nasty-ass brands on his inner arms by pressing them against that big, burning hot cauldron.  That never looked like fun.  Given  his penchant for going barefoot, I always figured that his foot odor alone would have knocked out his enemies, not really sure he even needed the kung fu training.  In my latter years, I preferred to think of the characters of my youth as they were then, not as they were (or are) now.  Now let’s take Kwai Chang Caine, for instance.  I preferred to remember David Carradine as this white-robed, butt-kicking bald dude from Kung Fu.  Granted, I think this photo is actually Keith Carradine vs. David, but let’s go with the analogy anyway, shall we?  During the course of the show he occasionally (but rarely) got laid and always aspired to some higher calling.  Eventually he grew hair but he was still calm, cool, and collected.  

In general, I think all of us should be remembered in our better days, whether that happens to be when we were 5, 15, 45, or 90.  There are certain things I don’t NEED to know about celebrities when they die, nor do I need to have the visual images to go with them. 

Admit it, now you're picturing me starkers with a rope around my Johnson, aren't you? Bad scene, eh?

I never wanted to think of David Carradine looking like this old wrinkly geezer who smoked too much, for instance.  Nor did I need to know that he ended up dying in some hotel room in Thailand with a rope around his dick and another around his neck.  No.  That’s just WAY too much information for me.  Whatever happened to death with dignity?  Or at least death being a private matter?  Michael Jackson is another prime example of this.  I really didn’t need to know what his bedroom was about 80 degrees and full of stuffed animals and that he called propofol “milk”.  That’s just creepy.  Back in the days when Elvis Presley or Jimi Hendrix died, the circumstances (on the crapper or choking on his own vomit) weren’t publicly known and weren’t really disclosed.  These were cool, rock-star caliber dudes.  They deserved to have cool deaths. 

Back to the cocktails.  The Wise Elderflower is 2 ounces gin, 1 ounce fresh lime juice, 1/2 ounce elderflower cordial (I used St. Germaine), a dash of simple syrup, a dash of orange bitters, and an orange twist for garnish.  Lacking any fresh oranges (or limes, for that matter – I should be wary of the dreaded scurvy) in the house, I used a bit more orange bitters and settled for the lime juice in the little plastic lime container.  I’m never sure if using that or Rose’s Lime Juice is closer to “fresh”.   I know Rose’s is sweetened and the other stuff isn’t.  I used the plastic one.  Verdict?  No offense to the Brits intended, but way too limey.  I dumped it back in the cocktail shaker, added more St. Germaine and more gin and a bit more simple syrup, and shook it up again.  Much better this time.  Perhaps using the Rose’s would have been a better call.  If I mix this up again (which I will, I really enjoyed it), I will probably do 1/2 ounce of Rose’s and 1/2 ounce of St. Germaine to start with and then adjust if needed.  As the recipe stands, I’d give it 3 stars.  With adjustments, definitely a 4 star cocktail.  The elderflower has a pleasant sweetness to it that is neither sugary nor tart – it sounds lame to say it is “flowery” but I guess it is.  It is a more subtle sweet, like, say, duche de leche vs. chocolate, for lack of a better option.  The lime juice does add a good balance but a full ounce of it was just overpowering. 

The Zippy Martini is a pretty simple recipe – 6 parts vodka, 1 part dry vermouth, 3-4 dashes of Tabasco sauce and a pickled jalapeno pepper for garnish.  I don’t have pickled jalapenos so I substituted a couple of olives stuffed with jalapenos.  I would be hard-pressed NOT to like this martini, given my penchant for the aforementioned olives and for putting Tabasco sauce in my dirty martinis.  I did scale back the vermouth a tad, maybe used 20% less.  It was still excellent, spicy-hot and simple.  4 stars.  Would be better (in my humble opinion, anyway,  not that I’m ever humble about my drinking tendencies) with some olive brine and less vermouth.  I would also try making it with a mix of pepper vodka and regular vodka, that would be good. 

When my life gets complicated, my drinking gets simple.  Which probably explains why I jumped ahead in the book all the way to the Zippy at the end.  I wanted to still be able to drink something that I could blog about, but really (as I’ve mentioned in a previous post) just haven’t been in the mood for complicated, fru-fru (or is it froo-froo?) cocktails.  And I’m never in the mood for ones with Pernod.

Don't rub cheese on this dude's neck.

I have to admit, I always used to wonder about Grasshopper and his Master.  When the Master would tell him, “When you can snatch the pebble from my hand, Grasshopper, then it is time for you to go …”  How come Grasshopper never just kicked the old dude in the nuts, grabbed the pebble, and ran?  Of course, given his life after he left the monastery, it was probably a pretty good gig he had going there for him, I would have stayed.  Except for the whole branding with the dragons part.  I’d just weasel and tell the Master I’d done it – after all, he’s blind, is he going to check?  I guess he could feel for the scars, but if you just wore long sleeves and always told him you were cold … yeah, that’s the ticket.  🙂  But then you don’t want the Master to get pissed off and go all Scarface on your ass, either.

“Grasshopper!  I think you lie to me!  I think you lie to me!”

Lastly, the Xena Martini, which I noticed near the Zippy and it sounded normal enough to be appealing.  Plus I had all the ingredients (sans the garnish, which I can live without), always a plus.  5 parts honey-flavored vodka, 1 part buffalo grass vodka, 1 teaspoon Lillet blanc, and a pickled asparagus spear for garnish.  I couldn’t care less about the pickled asparagus spear, so I skipped that.  I like asparagus grilled, served with butter, and in a restaurant with a steak, that’s about the only time I eat it.  Good stuff, although it always bugs me that it makes my pee smell funny.  I had an ex-boyfriend who vehemently disagreed with me on that theory, but pretty much everyone else I’ve ever voiced that comment to has the same thought:  eating asparagus makes your urine smell funny.  ‘Nuff said.  Anyway, back to the cocktail.  No idea why this was called “Xena”, I don’t think it had anything to do with the Warrior Princess.  But it is a good drink- slightly sweet, smooth, drinkable like cold water almost, but not that flavorless.  Potentially dangerous.  I will be having this one again, it was a solid 4-star martini.  Especially given I have plenty of honey vodka and buffalo grass vodka and haven’t been that crazy about the other drinks I’ve made with those ingredients, although I will need to back up and re-read some of my posts.  Dummy me didn’t have the foresight to actually mark my recipe book with my ratings for these drinks, they’re all here in the posts instead, so most of the time I can’t remember how well I liked a martini or not unless I wrote “ick” next to it in the book (which I do on occasion).  Not the most wordy of reviews but it suffices for my needs!  🙂

It’s taken me a few days to write this post in between the rest of my life, and I will note for the purists that it is VALENTINE’S DAY … and we have not yet finished drinking all of our required martinis!  Since this was our self-imposed deadline and Sue and I have both been dealing with a lot of personal crap, I’m not going to consider this an epic fail or anything.  We’ll just say that February 14th was our new “stretch goal” and we didn’t quite make it.  We’ll get there when we get there, probably a couple more weeks from now, I’ll have to think of a suitable holiday.  Maybe St. Paddy’s day?  We’ll need to find something green for that occasion but you can bet it won’t be that Nyquil martini (horrors).  ‘Til next time,



~ by rachelroust on February 14, 2010.

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