Wine — Time to stay frosty

 

by Tim Protzman        tprotzman@hotmail.com

 

A man, a plan and a good blender makes the summer

 

A new front has opened in the war on noise pollution — blenders! Now I don’t feel my personal freedoms threatened one bit by laws regulating the operation of leaf blowers before 7 a.m., Crazy Frog ring tones or the new Coldplay CD, but blenders.... It’s enough to make you want to dump daiquiri mix and cocktail onions into Portsmouth Harbor.

This tidbit comes from my father, who rarely reads my articles but has a clipping file marked “For the Lush” containing interesting articles on liquid inebriates he thinks might be of interest to me. Apparently a swanky high-rise condo complex on Florida’s West Coast has banned the use of blenders on its balconies, which overlook the Gulf of Mexico, from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m., because of the noise.

When I came down off my indignation tantrum I remembered that we live in a democracy, where we all must impose a modicum of self-restraint for the greater need of the common good. And don’t night-owl blender addicts have the right to move to a less densely populated area (like the Hunter S. Thompson compound), or perhaps move the machine indoors? And, yes, I’ve been on the receiving end of complaints for operating my Dualit 5-speed, 500-watt professional blender in brushed chrome recklessly into the wee hours of the morning. Maybe this new regulation will spawn a whole host of stealth blenders that operate silently using the latest submarine technology. This could usher in a whole new era of blender civil disobedience. Thoreau would be proud!

It’s a fact, blenders make noise. But most of us put up with it because they also make great frozen drinks. A great frozen drink starts with a good blender. It must crush ice to the consistency of slush, like a Slurpee. It must fit through a straw. I had a blender that crushed ice, but not if any of the other ingredients were in it. Bad idea. I had to crush the ice first, then add the fruit and liquors. A good blender should do it all in one step. Here are a few premium blenders:

Hamilton Beach Models 908 & 909 and Tempest — bar quality with stainless steel blades.

Vita-Mix 748 — designed for breakfast smoothies, but great on the cocktail circuit.

Waring Pro MBB/PBB Series — Margarita, anyone?

Oster Contemporary — makes great tuna salad and daiquiris.

Cuisinart SmartPower 7-Speed — can finely chop fresh mint leaves.

Now that you have the proper equipment you’re ready to go.

The trend in cocktails is fresh, exotic fruits. So if you’re having a blender party, puree the fruit ahead of time. This includes strawberries, peaches, apricots and pears. Citrus fruit can be pureed, but it’s usually juiced. Use canned pineapple and mango juice, as long as they’re 100 percent juice. If the recipe calls for bananas, add them last. Have a quart of simple syrup ready. It’s two cups sugar and three cups water, brought to a boil and cooled.

Daiquiris and margaritas are the same thing but with rum in the daiquiri and tequila and triple sec in the margarita. Fill the blender with ice, add the lime juice and liquors and a half cup of simple syrup.

The strawberry versions are the same except for the strawberry puree. Some people like to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or yogurt for extra creaminess.

The banana version is rum, ice, simple syrup, two hefty dashes of banana liqueur, the juice of half a lime and a banana. Some people leave out the lime and add two tablespoons of cream or a half scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The fun part is the experimentation. You can choose your favorite fruit or ice cream. Brown liquors — cognac, bourbon, dark rum — mix better with sweeter fruit and chocolate. Tequila goes with citrus. And vodka and white rum go with almost anything. I prefer white rum for sweeter drinks and vodka for tangy fruits and vegetable-based drinks, although when you mix vodka with a sweet liquor or fruit brandy it adds a nice edge. And make sure you measure the liquor with a shot glass. Eye pouring tends to burn the drink, leaving it with an overpowering taste of alcohol. The yumminess of frozen drinks comes from the fruit. If you want cold rum, put it in the freezer. The mix is generally one shot of liquor per eight-ounce drink. And, please, garnish all drinks.

Here are some of my frozen favorites:

Grapefruit Cooler

1 shot Vodka

1 shot Pernod

4 cups grapefruit juice

3 teaspoons simple syrup

Fill blender with ice and blend.

 

Maple Bourbon Punch for Two

3 shots Bourbon

1/3 cup real maple syrup

two scoops vanilla ice cream

1 cup cream

Fill the rest of the blender with ice and whirl away.

 

Piña Colada

Three cups pineapple juice

One cup Coco Lopez

2 shots white rum

Add ice cubes and blend.

 

Aquavit Cocktail  (from Dogstar, the London nightclub in Brixton )

Three cucumbers peeled

2 ounces of Aquavit Liquor

Three sprigs of cilantro

1 Tablespoon of lemon juice

1 teaspoon of vinegar

5 ice cubes

Blend.

 

E-mail your drinking experiences to tprotzman@hotmail.com.

 

Find your bottle

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission can help you find your beverage with a click or two. Just go to nh.gov/liquor, type the name of your wine into the product locater and click “go.” The site’s search engine will come up with a list of stores that carry the bottle you seek.

 
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