Malört Abort

Week 36 in The Year of Drinking Adventurously. Malört. And what is it? You guessed it, FAIL!

I had hopes for this week but alas, my search for malört locally was fruitless. Perhaps one of my Chicago friends would be able to comment on their impression of malört. (Boy, spell check really hates that word…) Or perhaps Lula had the chance to try it on her recent trip to Chicago. There’s little chance of finding it outside the region on The Malört Map.

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Jeppson’s Malört Map
The thing that intrigued me about it is that, like absinthe, it is also a wormwood derived spirit. Malört is actaully the Swedish word for wormwood. Now you know I love my absinthe, so you can imagine my disappointment.

Once again, I was left wondering what to write about this week. I could have just regurgitated our guide’s description and explanation of the spirit, but you are certainly capable of reading all about it yourselves, in the book you have now purchased, right?

So let’s take a slight deviation from the booze path and talk about something else. Cake. But not just any cake… Guinness Chocolate Cake. Oh yessssss……

Guinness is an Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness (1725–1803) at St. James’s Gate, Dublin. Its signature burnt flavor is derived from roasted, unmalted barley and its thick creamy head comes from mixing the beer with nitrogen and carbon dioxide when poured. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect flavor and texture for a decadent dessert? Here’s the recipe:

Cake:

1 ¼ cup Guinness stout
¹⁄³ cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1 ²⁄³ cups flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, shaved or chopped

Glaze:

¾ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons sugar
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

  • In a sauce pan, bring Guinness and molasses to a simmer, then remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Preheat oven to 350º
  • Cream together butter and brown sugar
  • Add eggs one at a time until fully blended
  • In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt
  • In a mixer, alternate adding flour mixture and Guinness/molasses mixture the creamed sugar and butter, beginning and ending with flour
  • Stir in chopped chocolate
  • Grease bundt pan then dust with cocoa
  • Pour in batter and bake 45-50 minutes
  • Cool completely before removing from pan
  • To make glaze: bring cream to a boil, then remove from heat
  • Add sugar and whisk
  • Add chocolate and let stand 1 minute
  • Whisk until melted and smooth
  • Let cool 5 minutes before glazing cake

Eat while wearing stretchy pants. Or no pants at all, completely up to you. Trust me, this cake is amazing!

Disclaimer: that is not my photo, I’ve never taken a photo of the cake, but I swear that is what it looks like. This photo is from a website called ‘No Empty Chairs’

Dear Canada, you are so cool.

Week three in The Year of Drinking Adventurously. Canadian Whiskey. (Find all 52 entries here.)

This week I had an easy and enjoyable choice of potent potable: Canadian Whiskey.  Living in the Northeastern United States, I am in Canada’s back yard (front yard?).  My state, Pennsylvania, shares a border with Ontario, Canada across Lake Erie.

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Image via lighthouse friends.com

It’s a 6 hour trip to Niagra Falls; Montreal and Quebec City are within a day’s drive.

Canada is a big place with a lot of stuff to love.  For one thing, Canadians are friendly and polite.  Just ask Whitney, she’s married to a Canadian.  It is also home to one of my favorite bands of all time: RUSH.

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Courtesy Rolling Stone, obviously

Showing my true nerd-self.  –>

There’s also hockey, poutine (French fries covered with cheese curds and gravy, trust me it’s amazing), Tim Horton’s coffee, thousands of acres of unspoiled native forest where (I’m sure) the Sasquatches live, the second tallest peak in North America (Mount Logan) and their new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is a babe. Voila:

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How the hell do they get anything done?           Image via Huffington Post

 

 

 

 

 

What was I saying?  Oh yeah, whiskey.  I’ll be honest with you all.  I tend not to be a big cocktail person.  Whiskey goes over ice in my house.  However, I’m trying to be adventurous, right?  So I experimented with a couple recipes and found this one from Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) for fresh whiskey sours:

This theoretically (ha!) makes 4:

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime

1/2 cup sugar syrup

3/4 cup Canadian whiskey (actually you can use any whiskey)

Toss it around in a shaker with ice, then serve with a maraschino cherry in a tumbler.  That’s what Ina Garten did, anyway.  I’ve seen whiskey sours in tall glasses, too.  I drank mine straight out of the shaker.  Why dirty another glass?  Just kidding…

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Not my photo, I drank mine from the shaker, remember?

Anyway, this turned out amazingly great.  I will definitely make these again.  The lemon-lime flavor was not overpowering and the amount of sugar syrup was just enough to prevent the citric acid from taking the enamel off your teeth.

Do you ever feel bad using “good” spirits to make mixed drinks?  Like it’s a waste since you’re not really going to taste the full flavor of the alcohol?  I kind of do but it would also be ridiculous to keep a separate stash for just cocktails. Wouldn’t it?  Hmmm….

The Crown Royal is a really nice mild whiskey.  If you are trying a whiskey for the first time, this would be my recommendation.  Canadian whiskeys are as pleasant and polite as their makers.  There’s no funky peat-smoke taste like the Scotches or corn and sour mash flavors of the bourbons, just a nice smooth warmth.  I can see why, in the Great White North, whiskey would hit the spot.  Why not try cuddling up to a Canadian this weekend?  Sample Canadians, below.

Oh hell, why wait for the weekend?  And don’t forget to go see what Lula concocted this week!