Cocktail Advent 5: Signal Fire


Would you believe how many times I’ve heard a fire truck in the last 2 weeks? Sure, they’re not always there to put out actual fires (they seem to share various paramedic duties and general emergency response, especially in smaller towns) but this time of year as people start to use their fire places more, turn on space heaters, and string lights on trees, making sure you remove the chance of hazard is a good way to avoid needing their services.

  • Always make sure flamable materials are kept away from open fires or space heaters.
  • Never leave said heat-sources unattended. Same goes for candles.
  • Keep your Christmas tree well-watered and healthy to reduce fire-risk.
  • Make sure all cords and outlets are in good shape.
  • Consider switching to LED or other low-heat light sources on trees and decoration to further reduce risk of conflagrations.

With that PSA out of the way, how ’bout we take a look at a different sort of fire, this one in cocktail form!

Image via Bow & Truss

Image via Bow & Truss

As you can see, this recipe comes from Bow & Truss, a North Hollywood restaurant and bar that I would probably never had heard of if it weren’t for these cocktail-related press releases. They didn’t include measurements, but from another cocktail by the same name, let’s go with the following:

Signal Fire

  • 2 oz Jalapeno-infused Gin
  • 1 oz Peach-Cilantro Syrup
  • 3/4 oz fresh Lime Juice
  • Orange zest and salt for garnish

Mix together fresh orange zest and kosher salt on a shallow plate. Rub the edge of the lime wedge around the outside of a low-ball glass and dip the prepared rim in the salt mixture. Set aside.

Combine gin, syrup, and juice in a shaker glass filled 3/4 full of ice and shake like a house on fire. Strain into prepared cocktail glass.

Now, in the interest of a) efficiency and b) the theory that the garnish reflects the food/drink it’s enhancing, I would have first zested the lime for the rim mixture before juicing it and left the orange out of the picture entirely. But that’s me.

To make the infused gin, chop up a fresh jalapeno (leave the seeds in for maximum heat) and add it to a small to medium-sized jar along with enough gin to cover plus a bit. Obviously how much you make is going to depend on how many of these cocktails you want to mix up, so adjust accordingly. Let this sit for at least overnight, a couple of days would be best.

To make the peach-cilantro syrup you can go a few ways. If fresh peaches are available (frozen could work, too, I suppose), combine the sliced fruit with an equal-ish amount of sugar and a good handful of rough-chopped cilantro leaves plus just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar dissolves, remove from the heat and let sit for an hour or so to cool and infuse. Strain and store in the fridge. Alternately, you can get a can of peach nectar, combine it in equal amounts with the sugar, add a good amount of cilantro (again, chop ’em up a bit to help the process along), and cook as above. No extra water needed in the second option.

***This “recipe” was provided by a representative of Bow & Truss Restaurant and Bar. I am not affiliated with the establishment nor have I been compensated for the sharing of this recipe or image. As always, we encourage responsible refreshment and the use of the Designated Driver. No drunken monkeys, please!***

Have I Got a Dill For You!


As promised, this week in Alphatinis is a savory sipper perfect for hot summer days.


Pickled Puppy Martini

Pickled Puppy

I knew, when I (loosely) planned out this series, that D would have something to do with dill. A dill cocktail practically cries out for gin–it all but hops over and into the bottle just to be closer to the already herbalicious spirit. So a dill-infused gin it would be but then! Then I remembered this really nice cucumber-mint mojito with cucumber-infused gin I had once at Bonefish (whose cocktail menu I’ve found lacking in the past) so I decided to throw cucumber into the mix.

Infusing liquor is a fairly simple process: put your fruits or veggies or herbs* into a seal-able glass container, cover with base alcohol of choice and let sit until ready. It does, however, take time. I’m glad I started the infusion 5 days before it was time to try out the cocktail. In about 2 days the dill had made it’s mark but it took the other 3 for the cucumbers to really join the party and mellow the whole mix out. (For the curious I used half a cucumber, sliced, and one very fluffy sprig of dill to about 8 oz of dry gin.)

But what would I pair this very interesting gin with? I didn’t want to go too sweet, obviously, but I didn’t want it to be like drinking pickle juice, either!

Thinking about the gin drinks I enjoy–gin & tonic, gin & cranberry, gin & grapefruit–oh, wait, a twist on a Greyhound might be just the thing. And I happened to have a bottle of Pamplemousse rose Perrier on the shelf as well as pink grapefruit juice. Sold!

Pickled Puppy

2 oz Cucumber-Dill Gin
1 1/4 oz Pink Grapefruit-flavored Sparkling Water
splash of Pink Grapefruit Juice
garnish: cucumber, dill

Combine gin, water and juice over ice in a mixing glass and stir like a dog chasing his tail. Once thoroughly chilled, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish.

I used a long strip of fresh cucumber threaded with dill and a bamboo skewer as a garnish but you could also use some of the cucumber rounds from the infusion. Keep in mind, though, that those cucumbers will be super-potent.

This cocktail turned out so well, my take on the more traditional Greyhound, that I’m keeping the infused gin on hand to make more this weekend–it’s a fabulous, low-impact summer cooler.


*Yes, I know you can infuse with proteins, too, but I just don’t see the point. Fat-washing doesn’t really appeal to me.

No clue, yet, what our e-themed cocktail will be. Guess we’ll all be surprised next week!

Drink Diary: Limoncello Wrap-Up


Limoncello Trio

12-week, Imported, and 4-day Limoncellos

Going into this experiment I was a little wary of ending up with several bottles of undrinkable drek. After all, 12 weeks is a long time to spend on something that you might not even like!

The plan (to refresh all of our memories) was to make 2 batches of Limoncello–one that used the 12-week method suggested over at Limoncello Quest and the other than used the quickie method that every other recipe on the Internet seemed to use. I chronicled each week in pictures, something–anything!–to keep me from forgetting about this project and tossing it out when discovered, ages later.

Based on I don’t know what, exactly, that things that take longer have to be better?, I figured the 12-week Limoncello would far surpass that made in a weekend. That it would be smoother, more mellow, and overall better than the quickie version.

Y’all? You’re not going to believe this.

The 12-week Limoncello had some serious bite. It has the right texture/mouth-feel–silky and smooth. The color is darker than the “real” Limoncello we’d purchased at the liquor store, so that gave me pause. But I wasn’t prepared for the burn at the end of each sip, a sharpness at the back of the throat.

Going into tasting the 4-day Limoncello, then, I was scared.

Keep in mind, folks, this stuff is made with 151-proof Everclear. Not something one would drink straight under normal circumstances. If the 12-week Limoncello had teeth, I was afraid the 4-day Limoncello wasn’t even going to be worth cooking with!

It’s strong, no question, but the bite? Barely even a bark.

What. The. Hell?

Now, don’t misunderstand, it’s not as mellow and smooth as the store-bought Limoncello but it’s pretty darn close.

Grace? Gotta week? You can have all the Limoncello your heart desires!

Seriously, folks, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

After some reflection, and a day to get over the shock, I started to think about the mechanics. The idea is to remove the oils from the zest and fuse them with the alcohol base. One of the quickie recipes did mention that it was important to use a high-proof alcohol because it would strip those oils faster.

If that’s true, could the 12-week version work better if I’d used an 80-proof vodka instead of the Everclear? I’m not sure. The one thing I do know is that there’s not really much of a reason to wait 12 weeks when a single one will produce 2 bottles of very drinkable Limoncello.

Looks like the 12-week will be the one relegated to cooking!