Super excited for my friends at Beehive Distilling, who are some stellar guys making delicious gin. I’ve been using their Jack Rabbit Gin in lots of summer cocktails, and it is some tasty booze. They’re celebrating their launch at a big par-tay this weekend at The State Room, with drinks and terrific music. It’s gonna be a blast! Hope to see y’all there, Salt Lake locals. Get yer tickets, here.
This week’s H.O.A.G.Y (Help Out a Gal/Guy, Yeah?) is a request by many friends for the “Hachi Hive” cocktail developed at Salt Lake City’s award-winning Takashi restaurant by manager Rich Romney and barman Jonny Bonner. We were slurping ’em down during a recent photo shoot and interview I did about Utah’s Jack Rabbit Gin [made by SLC-based Beehive Distilling] for cityhomeCOLLECTIVE, and it was also featured at the distiller’s launch party this spring. It’s decidedly refreshing and delicious, y’all, and one of my new favorite drinks during this heat wave. The only downside is that Takashi’s bar uses fresh yuzu* juice in the cocktail, which can be difficult to source. I found yuzu juice at my favorite local Asian foods market, but it was $17.99 a bottle. Not a typo, friends. Holy Liquid Gold, Batman! A great substitution is plain old fresh lemon juice. It also calls for using a honey-sage syrup, which is dead easy to make at home–recipe, below– and I love it in other white booze-based cocktails.
It’s sweet, tart, and lively drink, and perfect for summer sippin’. Distiller Chris Barlow said of this betty of a beverage, “it haunted my dreams.” Agreed, Chris. It’s some sublime shit.
To a tall bar glass filled with ice add:
2 oz. floral gin [I used Jack Rabbit Gin]
1 oz. Elderflower liqueur [such as St. Germain]
1 oz. honey-sage syrup
1 oz. yuzu [or lemon] juice
Stir with a bar spoon until the glass is frosty [about one minute]. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice and add a spanked sage leaf for garnish.
To make honey-sage syrup: This is perfect for that barely-filtered crusty honey your neighbor gave you from their hives that may or may not have a stray bee, bits of honeycomb, and a dog hair or two; you’ll be straining it yourself, anyway. At Takashi, they are using honey from their roof-top beehives [“hachi” = “bee” in Japanese] and I’m sure they are much more tidy about their filtering process than my neighborhood honey donors. To one cup of honey in a pint Mason jar, add one cup boiling water. Stir until honey is dissolved evenly. Add 3-4 fresh clean sage leaves, and let sit at room temperature for a couple of hours to cool off [or overnight]. Strain through a fine mesh into a clean glass jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
*Yuzu is a very sour and seedy citrus fruit developed in Southeast Asia, although you can grow it in the US [see info about California sourcing, here]. It’s about the size of a tangerine, and folks use the pulp, rind, and juice for cooking and cocktails.
That’s right y’all: Moonshine Jello shots, layered in patriotic colors and topped with exploding candy. I posted this recipe last July, but have gotten lots of requests for a re-blog and update, so here ya go.
I made the ones photographed here for a July 4th party hosted by Lemon Drop and IPA (a.k.a. Hoss on Hops) last year. They were a freaking HIT. Half I made without alcohol; those were topped with fresh cherries (to make sure the kiddos, pregnant women, recovering alcoholics, and Mormons didn’t get the boozy ones by accident). Half were made using 80 proof white corn whiskey (moonshine) instead of the frat party favorite Everclear. I left those unadorned until just before serving, then I scattered about ¼ teaspoon of Pop Rocks (yes! The exploding in your mouth candy!) on each shot. The combination of the whiff of Moonshine with the sweet gumminess of the Jell-O was perfectly balanced by the acoustic and sensory bang of the Pop Rocks. And nobody died from combining Pop Rocks and alcohol, so take that, urban mythologists.
As a basis for this recipe, and for help figuring out how to make the “white” layer, I turned to a Wiki-how tutorial on making Patriots football Jell-o shots. Of course, you can substitute any colors/flavors you want, and you can always use plain old vodka if you don’t have corn liquor on hand.
This recipe makes about 35 shots, depending upon what kind of containers you use and how full you fill them.
Layered Moonshine Jell-O shots
1 – 3 oz. box blue Jell-O
2 packets plain gelatin
1 can (1 cup) sweetened condensed milk
1 – 3 oz. box red Jell-O
3 cups boiling water (divided use)
2 ½ cups clear relatively flavorless liquor (corn whiskey or vodka)
3-4 packages Cherry or Watermelon (red) Pop Rocks
To assemble your shots:
Place 35 small plastic cups on a large rimmed sheet tray. Lightly spray all of the cups with flavorless cooking spray to reduce sticking.
For the blue layer: combine blue Jell-O with 1 cup boiling water; stir until completely dissolved. Let cool slightly (otherwise your liquor will evaporate from the heat- we don’t want that!!). Add the liquor, and pour equally into small cups. Refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until set.
For the white layer: sprinkle gelatin packets over 1 ½ cups water just off the boil; whisk quickly to dissolve completely. Keep whisking and add the condensed milk and ½ cup liquor. After it’s all combined, pour verrrryyy slowly over the blue layer 2/3 the way up the cup. Refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until set.
For the red layer: combine red Jell-O with 1 cup boiling water; stir until completely dissolved. Let cool slightly. Add the liquor, and pour gently equally into small cups. Add fruit to top at this point, if desired. Refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until set. Don’t add the Pop Rocks yet.
For the PopRocks Firecracker finale! As you are serving the Jell-O shots, have guests sprinkle about ¼ tsp. Pop Rocks on their Jell-O shot right before slurping.