Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Hound: Vodka Grapefruit with homemade Elderflower Liqueur

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged about a cocktail, and I'm posting today with a drink that will chase away your Monday blues. This summer foodies plus’ how about a drink event has really inspired me. I’ve concocted a mock-tail or two; now I’m inspired to recreate an exceptional drink I enjoyed in San Francisco one New Year’s Eve. It was several years ago now, but the drink was so delicious I’ve always intended to get my hands on the ingredients and enjoy it at home.
The bar I imbibed at called the drink The Hound, (which I assume is a play on a Grayhound: vodka with grapefruit juice) but I later learned it could be called a Bichon Frise. Since it was called The Hound when I tried it and as a nod to Game of Thrones, I’ll keep the name. In order to make this cocktail I decided to make my own Elderflower Liqueur. I had fun designing a label for it in publisher, but not half as much fun as I had enjoying the drink! The drink is a bit strong, so if you want to mellow it out a bit my suggestion is to add a few ounces of club soda.

Why go to the trouble of making my own liqueur and hand squeezing grapefruits? Vodka and grapefruit juice, particularly fresh squeezed, are a really nice match, taste wise. The sweet and tart fruit has so much personality and it is a lovely pairing with the exceptionally subtle fire of vodka. Grapefruit juice tastes juicier and more vibrantly citrusy when paired with the sweetly medicinal, herbaceous flavors of Elderflower liqueur. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Give it a try. I think it may just become one of your favorites.

It is not difficult to make liquor infusions and easy enough to turn them into liqueurs (just add the right amount of sugar), and they make great gifts for your fellow booze loving foodie. However, elderflower liqueur is also readily available in stores.

The Hound

(Makes 2 cocktails)

2 ounces elderflower liqueur (see recipe below)
4 ounces vodka
Juice of 2 large ruby red grapefruits

1. Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and drain into martini glasses. If this is too strong, strain into a highball glass and add up to 3 ounces of club soda.

Elderflower Liqueur

1/4 cup dried or 2 to 3 Tablespoons fresh elderflower flowers, leaves and stems
1/4 cup sugar
750 mils 100 proof vodka (or another similarly neutral spirit of about the same proof)

1. In a clean mason jar combine all ingredients. Screw the lid on tight and shake the ingredients well.
2. Set in a cool, dark place to allow to steep for three days. Shake one to two times per day.
3. Strain through a coffee filter to remove all sediment and use in cocktails.

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