Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Rolling the Dice Cocktail: Rye and Orange

I have to admit that I'm smitten with the idea of the TV show, Chopped. Some days, my cooking is just like that. Open the refrigerator and pull out several things, and brainstorm.

Unlike Chopped, though, I'm working with things I've chosen to work with. It's not like some crazy person in my refrigerator is handing me radishes and sweet pickles and telling me to make dessert. But I do like the brainstorming that happens when my eye wanders onto random things.

So when I got Recipe Dice, I knew I was going to have fun. And then ... Chai Dice and Cocktail Dice.

These cute little brainstormers-in-a-bottle are wooden dice with different ingredients on different sides of the dice. I played with the recipe dice first rolling different dinner ideas and brainstorming what I might make.

This time, though, we're "cooking" with the cocktail dice.

The instructions say you should set aside the black-and-white dice for a later roll, but I think the method and glassware on those dice help the brainstorming process. And then you eliminate up to two dice that you think won't work. Which makes sense. You really don't need that many ingredients in a cocktail, and of course you can add things.

The six ingredient dice for the cocktails are for the type of alcohol, a mixer, a juice, a garnish, and an add-in (like mint or basil) and another liquid, like simple syrup or grenadine. I'm sure there are names for all of those components, but it's a logical way of setting things up.

I rolled this: simple syrup, lime slice, nutmeg, cola, double old fashioned glass, poured, whiskey, and orange juice.

Whisk(e)y is a pretty broad category, which allows some personalization. I just received a bottle of Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye, so I decided to use that for my alcohol component. It seemed pretty obvious that I needed to choose either orange juice or cola - a mix of the two didn't seem appealing to me at that moment. I chose the orange and the simple syrup and the lime.

I have to say that none of my glassware is all that traditional when it comes to cocktail making. I have taller glasses and short squat ones. I have wine glasses and a few other odds and ends. The roll of the dice told me I needed a short squat glass and that the drink was poured rather than blended or shaken. So I put ice in my short squat glass and carried on with drink testing.

I know, it's a hard job. But someone has to do it, right?

While the dice tell you what to use, they don't tell you how much. So, again, there's personalization.

This was a very drinkable cocktail. Sort of like a whisky sour, but not.

I have to admit that my whisky education started rather late, and I'm still learning a lot about the different types of whiskies available. Thanks to the generous folks at Diageo, I'm learning a whole lot more than I'd probably learn from wandering around the liquor store.

Besides the new Northern Harvest Rye Blend, the company has expanded the the Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel program. See, I didn't even know that existed. The program allows retailers to purchase an entire barrel of whisky featuring Coffey Rye.

They said, "Whisky adorers can savor the signature Crown Royal smoothness through this single barrel liquid that is produced from the brand’s Coffey Rye Still, the only known still of its kind in North America, located in Gimli, Manitoba." So there you go.

Along with the bottle of the regular rye, they send along a taster of the single-barrel rye that I'll be sipping soon. Meanwhile, I've been enjoying the blended product a lot.

As far as those dice go, I rolled a rum cocktail, too. What do you think of this combo?

The wild card means just that - you can add whatever else you like - and maybe not something super-common. I actually have an idea for this drink, but if it was you, what would you choose? This roll includes vermouth, a cherry, sugar (or maybe a sugar cane?), lime juice, rum, and the wild card. It's supposed to be a stirred drink served in a martini glass. Which is a little odd for a rum drink ...

One more roll gave me a gin combo: lemon juice, lemon-lime soda, olive, gin, double old-fashioned glass, shaken, mint spring, and grenadine.

I might just re-roll on this one. I mean, it's not like I'm in a competition, so I can just use these for brainstorming and if I don't like the results, I can re-roll a few dice, or even the whole thing.

The recipe dice set includes more dice for more ingredients. I'll be using those for a recipe a little later. Meanwhile, let's have a cocktail, shall we?

Roll-of-the-Dice Rye and Orange

1 1/2 ounces orange juice
1 ounce Crown Royal Rye
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1 lime slice, for garnish

Put ice in a short, squat glass. Add the orange juice, Crown Royal Rye, and simple syrup. Give it a little stir and garnish with a lime slice. Serve.

I received the Recipe Dice, Chai Dice and Cocktail Dice at no cost to me from the manufacturer for the purpose of a review. I'll be reviewing all three on Cookistry Reviews a little later. I receive products from Diageo companies on occasion for my use. They supplied the Crown Royal Rye.