Cosmic Cocktails | Aries | Competitive Streak


Welcome to April, Spring and–thankfully–the end of a rather hellacious Mercury Retrograde!

Today kicks off our new series: Cosmic Cocktails.

I’ll be spending the next 3 months creating a cocktail for each of the sun signs of the Western zodiac (what most folks thing of when they look up their horoscope in the back of a magazine or newspaper), starting with Aries and ending with Pisces towards the end of June.

Now I know that not everyone is down with the idea of horoscopes or the notion that the planets and stars dictating our lives. That’s not how I look it, though. I once read something very profound (probably over on, a great source for astrological info) that went something like this:

You are not who you are because of when and where you were born, 
you were born when and where you were because of who you are.

Isn’t that a fabulous way of looking at it?  Taking this position makes it a more introspective, reflective, meditative outlook, I think, making the information divined from the stars, etc. work for me instead of the other way around.

But enough about that, how about a cocktail?

Competitive Streak

Since the astrological calendar restarts at the Spring Equinox, we are just in the beginning of the time of Aries, the go-getting, competitive, and easily-bored ram. Though they’d probably never cop to boredom, per se, they’d just act out and find something far more interesting to do, the rest of the office/class/community be damned.

 The Competitive Streak

1 1/2 oz Absolut Peppar
1/2 oz Pomegranate Liqueur
2-3 oz Coca-Cola (or your preferred brand)

In a mixing glass half-filled with ice, combine the pepper vodka and pomegranate liqueur and stir to thoroughly chill. Place a handful of ice cubes into a lowball or rocks glass and strain the chilled alcohol over the fresh ice. Top with cola and stir once or twice around to combine. Garnish, if desired, with a dried red pepper.

Of course, the garnish might be a bit too fussy for their taste, but I’m a Taurus, sometimes I like the fussy.

This is a bold, yet uncomplicated, cocktail, quite appropriate for our first fire-sign. They may have tried it on a bet, the first time, but the peppery flavor speaks to them and now they dare others to be man enough to give it a try. No fussy martini glass, either, a simple presentation is best.  But make sure your ingredients are of recognizable brands–it’s a sign of achievement and competition that generic or bargain brands just can’t meet.

Feelin’ Hot Hot HOT!


This week’s Alphatini is brought to you by the letter H!

Brainstorming for this week came up with such ideas as Hurricane (oh so done already), Hellfire (Charmed reference or Biblical retribution, take your pick), and Handshake. But, then, the winner appeared: A Hot Tamale!

Not the candy, though I suppose you could go that route if you wanted, I was thinking about the meat-filled, masa-wrapped, steamed-in-a-corn-husk delicacy. A delicacy I’ve never actually tasted. The closest I’ve seen a tamale were those canned ones that I never really understood–they just didn’t look very appetizing!

Hot Tamale Cocktail

Hot Tamale

But the great thing about being pretty proficient in the kitchen is that researching a recipe can give you a pretty good idea of what your aiming for, cocktail-wise. Of course, you’re probably wondering how such a non-liquid item–a savory food, at that–can be replicated in liquid form that isn’t some sort of smoothie-gone-wrong disaster.

Two hints: Pepper Vodka and Beef Stock

Wait! Don’t go! Hear me out!

It’s actually not unheard of to use something like Consomme in a cocktail–I’ve found at least 3 recipes (Horse Feathers, Bloody Bull and Bullshot) that do just that. They range from hangover cures to liquid lunches, but they exist. I will say that you want to use either canned Consomme or beef stock in this recipe–homemade, unless you’ve taken the time to really de-fat it, will yeild rather unpleasant results.

One Hot Tamale

2 oz Beef Stock
1 oz Pepper Vodka (like Absolut Peppar)
3 dashes Angosturra Bitters
Lime Wedges, Cocktail Onions for garnish

Combine over ice 1 squeeze lime wedge (leave the lime in), stock, vodka and bitters in a cocktail shaker. Shake like you’re walking over hot coals and strain into a room-temperature cocktail glass. Garnish with a second lime wedge and a cocktail onion or two.

To really spice this up–because it’s actually a rather mild and pleasant drink–mix up some cumin, chili powder and garlic powder. Slide the slime wedge around the edge of the glass and then dip the moist rim into the spice mixture.

Even though we’re calling this a Hot Tamale, the drink is served cold. The result is very Bloody Mary-like, so it would make an excellent brunch cocktail or even a nice first course for a late-night supper. Don’t be fulled by that measly 1 ounce of vodka, though, even after a full supper it can still pack some punch.

Earth, Air, Fire, Water


Thank you, everyone, for being patient during my August-off. I did get quite a bit done, but now it’s back to the usual blogging schedule and back to the bar!


Elemental Cosmos Cocktail

Elemental Cosmos

So, this week’s Alphatini asks us to tackle the letter E. Early brainstorming turned up eggplant (not sure how that would work), eggnog (which was a contender, if a little predictable), and Everclear (just say no!). The everything concept, a la the bagel with everything on it, also made a brief appearance on the list but I figured the Long Island Iced Tea has the ‘everything’ vote covered. The wonky weather these last few weeks had me thinking earthy–but what flavor (other than, say, dirt) says earth? Mushrooms and brie, but even I don’t view those as potential cocktail comestibles.

Accompaniments, yes. Ingredients, no.

Earth kept bumping around in my brain (no jokes about having a big head, please) and I was this <-> close to concocting something with the name EarthShake, but I was still stuck on my primary flavor inspiration. Meanwhile, the idea evolved–maybe not just earth but all the rest of the elements too! Not that that helped with the earthy-flavor issue, but it gave me more to play with.

What’s better than over-thinking a cocktail theme on your own? Musing aloud to the Tester Monkey!  He came up with the brilliant idea of carrot juice–or some other liquid from something that was grown in the earth (peanuts, potatoes, grains, etc.). Then he struck gold, quite literally, when he suggestion Goldschlager. I mean, what’s more natural than a mineral straight from the earth?

The Elemental Cosmos

1.5 oz Pepper Vodka (like Absolut Peppar)
1 oz Cranberry Juice
3/4 oz Goldschlager
1 Orange slice (plus one more for garnish)

Combine vodka, juice and liqueur over ice. Squeeze in the orange slice and drop the rind in for good measure. Shake like the creation of a world depends on it and strain it into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the second orange slice and enjoy.

Even if earth took some time to come up with, fire was an easy match: pepper vodka fit the bill nicely. I took a bit of liberty with water and air, though, choosing both for their environment: oranges grow hanging in the air and cranberries are harvested by flooding their bogs.

Of course, when you’ve got citrus, vodka and cranberries staring at you across the bar, the first thing that comes to mind is the classic Cosmopolitan. Using that drink as a guide for the quantities in this version, I was pretty certain some tinkering would be necessary to get a balanced drink. I definitely though we’d need more juice to balance out the 2 very strong alcohols.

Turns out, you should never doubt the classics.

Which is probably a good philosophy to live by in general, doncha think?


Hope everyone has a fabulous Labor Day weekend. Yes, it’s the unofficial end to summer but I happen to really love fall and everything that comes with it, so I’m looking forward to the next season or two!

Next week we’ll be back with a fabulous f-themed cocktail!