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Today’s treat is a Whiskey Sour. While I will get to the nitty gritty of this cocktail in a minute, I thought I should warm you that I’m going to be using this blog to explore the use of egg whites in cocktails.

Did you just say “yick!”?

Yeah, me too. Why bring this up? Well, when I was researching the perfect whiskey sour, it became clear that there are two camps – those who add egg whites to the drink, and those who don’t. Having never had a cocktail with egg white in it, I thought I had to investigate.

I quick buzz through the internet teaches me that it’s all about mouth feel. Egg whites are used to create a creamy and foamy texture to a drink. From the Art of the Drink:

Now …we can get down to why eggs, and egg whites particularly, help make a great cocktail. The main protein (ovalbumin), in eggs, is a tightly wound molecule and when it is shaken or beaten, it unravels. Think of shaking a big box full of slinkies and then trying to sort them out. That box will probably remain a stable mess for a while. When this happens in a cocktail shaker, the egg proteins do the same thing, they get all tangled up and this forms bubbles and foam.

Many of the drinks that use egg whites tend to be acidic, like sours, because the acid in the drink stabilizes the egg protein. This inhibits the proteins them from binding with each other, which makes for smaller bubbles and a better foam…Egg whites also don’t contribute much, if any, flavour to the cocktail.

Obviously – any use of raw eggs carries with it a risk, likely small, of salmonella. Since we’ve all been naughty and snuck raw cookie dough, I think we’ve all come to grips with this level of risk. But keep this in mind if you’re using egg whites – fresh well-handled eggs will be best!

So *how* do you used egg whites? I found this nifty little video tutorial for you! This is well worth the 50 seconds it takes to watch!

By the way, if you’re looking to experiment with eggs in cocktails, look for cocktails with “golden” or “silver” in the title: In classic cocktail terminology, “golden” appended to the name of a cocktail (as in “Golden Bronx”) often indicates the additional presence of egg yolk; “silver” (as in “Silver Bronx”) requests the additional presence of egg white in recipes otherwise without egg.

So: back to today’s task at hand, the whiskey sour. I made mine without egg whites (as I don’t eat eggs), in the following proportions:

  • 3 parts Bourbon whiskey
  • 2 parts fresh lemon juice
  • 1 part simply syrup

Shake with ice. Strain into ice-filled old-fashioned glass to serve “on the rocks.” Garnish with a cherry and a slice of orange.

The result was refreshing and surprisingly not too overpoweringly boozy. I would definitely serve this as a cocktail at a dinner party.

Just a note- if you order a whisky sour in a bar, 1/2 the time you’ll get it made with that green sour bartenders mix. This is NOT supposed to be what a whiskey sour is… send it back!

~Deanna

Just like how every food culture has a version of meat-on-a-stick (kebabs, souflaki, brochettes, etc.), every food culture has a version of rice pudding. Why? Rice pudding is delicious, inexpensive, and uses ingredients that everybody has: rice, milk, sweetener, and flavouring. It can be savoury or sweet, though for the purpose of this blog I have chosen to neglect the savoury kind and indulge my sweet tooth for a week, and it’s really, very easy to make! Over the course of this week, I have eaten four servings of pudding, and have sampled nearly ten different flavours, giving me the knowledge and experience to share with you the ultimate in rice pudding.

For some research into flavours and a bit of inspiration I started at Riz en Folie (On Mackay, just south of Sherbrooke, for you Montrealers), a teeny restaurant that serves only rice pudding. Set up like an ice cream parlour, when you go inside, the different puddings are all displayed under glass and you get to sample each flavour before you make your decision. Riz en Folie uses short grain sushi rice and bakes their pudding. It has a super creamy texture with a sort of tapioca pudding vibe – lots of pudding, only a little rice. This past Tuesday, I went for lunch (sort of) with friends and between the five of us we sampled seven of ten flavours on display that day.  Again, like an ice cream parlour, Riz en Folie does your standard vanilla and chocolate; “rough & tough”, a sort of rocky road flavour; and a mint-chocolate. Of these flavours, I tried the mint-chocolate. It tasted as weird as it looked:

While the flavour started out like its delicious, ice cream counterpart, its finish was unfortunately reminiscent of the “almost mint” flavour found in oral hygiene products, particularly floss.  A rough start, but Riz en Folie did redeem themselves with some of their other flavours:

Original: It was sweet and creamy and hardly spiced, if at all. The girls who tried it found it light and described it as “nice” and “yummy.”

Sucre a la crème: This one was like the original, but more. It was more sweet, and more creamy, and heavier and denser. I asked about the flavours and the response was, “It’s not that it has different flavour… it’s just MORE. It’s better than the Original.”

Exotika Passion:  “What does taste like?” “It tastes like passion fruit.”  “…weird.”

Rose Water: The flavour was so light and delicate that it was almost bland – at least when tasted next to the other very sweet puddings. Rose water didn’t seem like it could stand alone as a flavour. The pudding was obviously missing something we thought.

Lemon: Straight up lemon curd. It was oh-so-delicious like lemon pie filling and was the one I chose to have a full serving of.

Carrot cake: This one was definitely the team favourite. It was very lightly spiced and the flavour was very fresh and carroty.  It was more like a carrot ice cream or cheese cake. Very good!

I left with a different idea was what I expected from rice pudding. Though it’s obvious now, I never would have thought to do anything more to it then add cinnamon and sugar, never mind lemon or passion fruit.  Since I had Friday off work, I did a little reading up on rice pudding recipes and picked a few to try out. I invited a couple friends over and with my roommate, my old roommate, and a coworker we binged on 3 rice puddings:

Our trio of rice puddings for the evening

Black Rice Pudding

I got this one off Epicurious.  Such a simple recipe, and it looked so cool in the photo, I decided I had to try it. It was probably the most basic recipe I found and the truest to the natural simplicity of the dessert:

1 cup black rice

3 cups water

1 can coconut milk (1 ½ cups for cooking and the rest for garnish)

A pinch of salt and sugar to taste

[Gourmet, December 2005]

Bring to boil rice, salt, and water in a large pot. Reduce to simmer and cover for 30 to 45 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Stir in a roughly a cup and a half of coconut milk and sugar to taste (I added about a half cup) and cook until creamy and pudding-like. Let it cool, or eat it warm and serve with coconut milk poured over top.

This pudding was a little chewier since black rice doesn’t get at gooey and mushy as white rice. It has a really nice nutty, sweet flavour and anyone without a big sweet tooth would probably appreciate this one for it more subtle flavour.

Banana-Anise Pudding

Soooo, it didn’t really work. This recipe was dictated to me by one of the kitchen staff at work (I chose the flavours and he gave me portions of each ingredient), but I must have missed an instruction. It tasted great! But, there obviously was not enough liquid and the rice ended up not so pudding-y and a lot like… rice. This one was done in the oven, and I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t precook the rice or that I needed more cream, but the texture didn’t work out at all. I’m planning on trying this again, as aniseed and banana and coconut milk were meant to be together, but this time maybe they can mingle on the stove top where I’m clearly more apt. If you wanted to try it, combine your rice of choice, cream, coconut milk, mashed ripe banana, LOTS of aniseed (we’re talking at least a couple teaspoons), and sugar to taste and bake covered at 350F for 45 minutes to an hour. I’ll leave it to you to portion out the ratios though so perhaps you have more luck than I did!

Rose Water-Cardamom Pudding

AAH, SO GOOD. The rose water rice pudding at Riz en Folie was lacking, but it has the potential to be amazing! More rose water, some cardamom, and some vanilla make for the favourite rice pudding. On epicurious I found a recipe for a guideline. The amount of sugar in this recipe was waaay too much. I cut it in half  to 3/4 cup and it was still quite sweet. Here is what I did:

½ cup Arborio rice

3 cups cream

½ to ¾ cups sugar

Some cornstarch (optional, maybe?)

1 tablespoon Rose Water

Some cardamom (I write my recipes more like mum every day. By “some” I guess I mean to taste.)

Some Vanilla

Bring to boil one cup of water, add rice, reduce to simmer and let the water absorb. Add 3 cups of cream (I used 10%), cornstarch, sugar, rose water, cardamom, and vanilla, stir it all up thoroughly and bring to boil again. Watch that pot or else it will boil over and make a pretty awful mess on your stove top. Reduce to a simmer and cover partly. Stir periodically and cook until it has the pudding consistency that you want. This will fit into 4 ramekins. Allow it to cool. It might make a skin/film on top, but if you give a good stir before you serve it, it will look and taste just fine.  I dyed mine pink and sprinkled it with pistachios for a garnish. It looked quite cute I think.

This one is my favourite rice pudding now! After extensive research, this is the best in Rice pudding. It was creamy, but the rice was still present. The flavour was very rosy and spiced and sweet and just wonderful.  From these 3 recipes, I have made a sort of criteria for my ultimate pudding: done with Arborio rice and on the stove top.  The Arborio made for a really fantastic texture and the stove top gives you more control; you see if you need more liquid or taste if you need more sugar or spice.

The Greek men at the cafe-bar I worked at during world cup say that Efes, the Turkish bakery across the street, makes the best rice pudding – “it’s better than my mom’s.” I haven’t tried it yet, but it might be worth the trek out to Parc-Ex to see if my number one can be beat.

Also, Happy Birthday Dad!

Best,

Monique

Five Factoids About Daiquiris (other wise known as “hope this helps you win Trivial Pursuit one day”)

One: A wide variety of alcoholic mixed drinks made with finely pulverized ice are often called frozen daiquiris. However, strictly speaking a Daiquiri is a family of cocktails whose main ingredients are rum, lime juice, and sugar or other sweetener. The Daiquirí is one of six basic drinks listed in David A. Embury’s classic The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. A recipe for a classic daiquiri is:

2 oz White Rum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup

Two: The name Daiquiri is also the name of a beach near Santiago, Cuba, and an iron mine in that area. The cocktail was supposedly invented about 1900 in a bar named Venus in Santiago, about 23 miles east of the mine, by a group of American mining engineers. Consumption of the drink remained localized until 1909, when Admiral Lucius W. Johnson, a U.S. Navy medical officer, tried a daiquiri. Johnson subsequently introduced it to the Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C., and drinkers of the daiquirí increased over the space of a few decades.

Three: The drink became popular in the 1940s. Wartime rationing made whiskey, vodka, etc., hard to come by, yet because of Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor policy (which opened up trade and travel relations with Latin America, Cuba and the Caribbean), rum was easily obtainable. As a consequence, rum-based drinks (once frowned upon as being the domain of sailors and down-and-outs), also became fashionable, and the Daiquirí saw a tremendous rise in popularity in the US.

Four: The daiquiri was one of the favorite drinks of writer Ernest Hemingway and president John F. Kennedy.

Five: The basic recipe for a Daiquirí is also similar to the grog British sailors drank aboard ship from the 1740s onwards. By 1795 the Royal Navy daily grog ration contained rum, water, ¾ ounce of lemon or lime juice, and 2 ounces of sugar. This was a common drink across the Caribbean, and as soon as ice became available this was included instead of the water.

Suddenly thirsty? Try a Hemingway Daiquirí, or Papa Doble – two and a half jiggers of Bacardi White Label, juice of two limes and half a grapefruit, six drops of maraschino liqueur, served frozen. Warning, one commenter on the web says of this drink: ” 4/5 sitars: Makes you feel like a suicidal alcoholic in a third-world nation. But in a good way.”

As for me, I did my drinking before I did my research, so I had a blended strawberry daiquiri before knowing that I could try to procure something more classic, or Hemingway-esque. But you know what? On the patio, with the sun in my face, it was delicious. 🙂

~Deanna