The Drink to End All Summer Drinks

Summer is here and of course that means it’s time to add fruity shit to our alcohol and drink it outside.  

Not so fast….

It seems like every Summer in my quest for outdoor drinking I stumble upon for a new beer and/or a new drink .  Years ago it was Oberon and some shitty liquor that probably got mixed with a shittier fruit juice.  It’s graduated over the years to better beer, better liquor but not better fruit juice (looking at you, Everfresh).   The Summer of 2017 has culminated to the best beer and the best drink of any Summer yet.  The best part of all, there’s no shitty fruit juice involved.

If you’re willing to pay a few extra dollars than you’re currently paying for your Summer drink of choice, I have the best concoction that’s ever gone into a glass during a hot summer day for sitting in a chair in your front yard while yelling at cars to slow down. Something to make older people feel young and younger people feel old.  It’s the best of all worlds.

Liquor?  Check.

Beer?  Check.

Lemonade?  Check.

Non-Alcoholic Mixer?  Nope.

Ladies and Gentlemen I give you… The Southern 75.

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The first ingredient in this incredible concoction is a beer I finally purchased after hearing people talk about it for months.  Old Nation Brewing’s M-43 IPA is making any other “Summer style beer” look absolutely silly.  It’s a New England Style IPA meaning it’s a cloudier and more full bodied version of those IPAs you were drinking while trying to discover craft beer.  It’s close to 7% alcohol and goes down smooth with a taste of oranges, lemons and grapefruits.  Seriously, if you haven’t had this stuff get off your ass. If you can’t locate M-43 or if $15 for a 4-pack is a little rich for your blood any other IPA will do.  Try to look for something smooth — not a double IPA or anything crazy like that.

The second ingredient is bourbon.  What else?  Be careful here, though.  Use a smoother bourbon — Think Makers Mark or Four Roses.  You could go with Wild Turkey 101 if you’re feeling really crazy but remember that this entire drink is alcohol.  A higher proof bourbon will only allow you 2-3 of these, depending on your drinking abilities, and no one likes a lightweight.

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Once you have acquired your ingredients, it’s time to mix.  Grab literally any glass you have available to you.  It could be a plastic cup.  It really doesn’t matter.

  1. Add 1/2 oz of simple syrup.
  2. Add 2/3 oz of lemon juice
  3. Stir, add ice.
  4. Add 2 oz of bourbon
  5. Add half a bottle of IPA
  6. Go outside and drink

How crazy you want to get with this is up to you.  If you’re into fancy cocktails put all of those ingredients in a shaker, add a few dashes of bitters and mix in a cocktail shaker. This will give you that foam effect you see in the image above that I blatantly stole from a different site. Lemon peel is completely optional.

AAAAAAND there you go.  The Southern 75 aka the best Summer drink in the history of Summer drinks. 100% alcohol mixture of beer, bourbon and Lemonade.  What could be better?  That’s a rhetorical question because the answer is nothing.

 

Tepache – An Explosive Tale

If you read my previous opost right under this one you are aware that my new interest lies within fermentation.  If you haven’t read that post do me a quick favor, scroll down and give it a read.  There are a couple of videos and things that will help this make more sense.  My first attempt in the fermentation game was Tepache — A refreshing pineapple drink that is popular with street vendors in Mexico.

The idea is pretty simple — Pineapple rind and ginger contain a lot of natural yeast.  Add sugar for the yeast organisms to feast on and they produce carbon dioxide waste which carbonates your beverage.  If you’re more of a visual learner, here it is in a nice simple picture:

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So what’s the point of drinking a fermented beverage?  Well, for me it was to just mess around with science and create a refreshing mixer for beer and dark rum.  If you’re into the health stuff, fermentation introduces bacteria to your system that helps with digestion and helps you absorb nutrients better.  You know how Jaime Lee Curtis talks about how Activia yogurt will help keep you “regular”?  Yeah, that.  Basically, fermented foods and drinks help you poop better.

So in summary you can either eat foods such as yogurt that introduce natural probiotics to your system or you can leave a bunch of fruit and sugar in a jar for a week to create a low alcohol beverage that you can mix with high alcohol alcohol beverages that makes you poop better.  Man, that was a long sentence.

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The version of Tepache I contained the following ingredients:

  • One whole pineapple, rind on
  • One piece of ginger
  • One habanero pepper without seeds
  • 1lb of brown sugar (more on this later)
  • One gallon distilled or boiled water

It then sat in a glass jar in dark area for four days while the yeast snacked on the massive amount of brown sugar I added.  Some people say you only need to do this for three but on day three I was tired from work and said F it.  On day four I had a slightly carbonated beverage that was much less sweet than when I first put it together.  I then strained the beverage through cheese cloth and into airtight glass containers to allow for further carbonation.

Here’s where this whole thing gets interesting.  I was having dinner in Ypsilanti when I get a call from my wife letting me know that something sounded like a bomb just went off in our home.  Turns out one of the glass bottles with my Tepache exploded due to carbon dioxide build up.  There was glass and Tepache everywhere.  It was an absolute mess.  Luckily, the other two bottles remained intact and produced a delicious drink that I quickly mixed with a wheat beer.  It was fantastic and I won’t go into any details about the health benefits that followed.

So here’s my only issue — either I added too sugar at the beginning or I filled my bottles up too high.  Problem is, there’s only one way to find out and that’s make more fermented beverages and see if they explode or not.  I’m up to that challenge and I am completely sure that my wife will be fine with the possibility of more glass shrapnel in our home.

NEXT UP : Fermented Ginger Beer!  Stay tuned!

Fermentation

I’ll admit, not much going on in terms of food these days.  I’m getting off three days of being sick and haven’t been outside in 48 hours.  What do I do while locked in the house for multiple days, you might ask?

I watch food and beverage shows on YouTube.  This time I around, I watched a few videos and pulled the trigger on something I have been wanting to experiment with for a long time:  Fermentation, or to make it really simple:  playing with bacteria in my food and drink.  To get me started, I have purchased single product.. a one gallon glass jar.

In this jar, I will start by making two things.  The first is Tepache, a Pineapple drink popular in Mexico that contains pineapple, brown sugar, water and cloves.  It then sits for three days while the bacteria eats the sugar and then you have a delicious bubbly, probiotic drink.  Apparently it also goes well with tequila or rum.  Or any kind of alcohol.

Side note, I urge you to watch the following video about the steps necessary to make Tepache.  Even if you have no interest, this series on Bon Appetit’s YouTube channel about cooking with bacteria is the best.

The second will be ginger ale which is done by creating a “ginger bug”, basically mixing ginger and sugar so the bacteria from the ginger feeds on the sugar and creates fermentation, then mixing with it with a homemade ginger tea.  This typically sits for a week before you have a delicious bacteria carbonated ginger ale.  I’ll be completely honest, I’m doing this because I’m curious how much better it will taste with Wild Turkey than my store bought ginger beer.  Notice a trend here?

If any of you have any experience in this field let me know.  I’m eventually going to want to make some Mead, AKA Honey Wine, and I’m sure I’ll fall into a rabbit hole after that.  I have created a new category to organize this exploration so if you’re interested, keep checking back.

Here I Go Again..

OK, so welcome to my new site.  If you aren’t familiar with me, my name is John Moors and I ran a site called Epic Portions for years.  Me and some friends of mine wrote a series of very unprofessional articles that gained a small following.  Taco Bell even flew me to California to visit their test kitchen.  Somewhere around 2010, the “foodie” craze was in full swing and I lost interest in documenting my love for food.  It seemed like anyone with a smart phone and an opinion was starting their own food blog and critiquing restaurants on Yelp as if they were some kind of expert.  I found myself reviewing different restaurants and giving my opinion as if I had any credibility at all.  Side note – I did manage to start quite a revolution against Tios Mexican Cafe, which I still stand by, but other than that I have accomplished absolutely nothing that should make you respect any opinion I have about any restaurant or food in general.

That being said, I love food and I love cooking.  I do have strong opinions which I feel more comfortable giving you now that I have admitted that I have zero credibility.  That kind of gives me that “I can say whatever I want just don’t take me seriously”thing, which is pretty much where I want this site to be — A place where you can find entertainment in food, cooking, recipes, traveling or whatever I’m into in a given week.

There will be spelling errors, there will be opinions that you probably don’t agree with and I will probably ridicule people and places that you may enjoy.  There will be bad grammar, “bad words” and I eventually plan to document the butchering of a pig.  I don’t remember anything about web design so the design and layout of this will be constantly changing.  I rarely eat vegetables, salads or desert.  These are your warnings.

I am not a professional writer, chef or food critic.  However, I do have an unhealthy love of all things food.  I welcome you to take this journey back with me and see what I come up with.  I have absolutely no plans on what this will become other than an ongoing journal of what I’m doing in the food world.  I hope you enjoy.