Friday, March 6, 2015

Color-Changing Cocktails - and the Gin-A-Rita

Back in my mom's day (because dad didn't drink) you went to a bar for a highball or a screwdriver or beer. Cocktails were pretty standard. A whisky sour was fancy.

Later, there were cosmopolitans and mojitos and complicated drinks with cute names and exotic ingredients and imported whiskies. No one's ordering a shot and a beer any more.

Well, maybe they are, but they're naming the liquor and chasing it with a craft beer.

A martini isn't just a martini any more. Heck, I've got a recipe for a Caramel Nut Pumpkintini here on my blog!

But that's not all. No only are the drinks more dramatic these days, but there are mixologists who create exclusive cocktails and flair bartenders who spin and juggle bottles and make a show out of making your drink.

I don't mind a little showmanship, but trust me, you don't want me juggling. That's why I was pretty excited to find B'lure cocktail concentrate. It's sort of a like bitters, and it's made from a flower extract, and it's blue.

Or, I should say that it's blue until it meets up with something acidic. Like, let's say ... a drink that has lemon or lime juice. Even mildly acidic substances change the color. Maybe not all the way to pink, but you could end up with a vibrant purple.

Now, that's fun, right?

But here's the deal. The color changes pretty quickly, so to have an impact, you need to add the extract while your guests are watching. Otherwise, you're serving them a pink or purple drink. Which is certainly pretty, but not very dramatic.

So far, I've only poured and mixed - but it would be fun to add the B'lure to ice cubes, or perhaps use them in a layered cocktail, so the guests would do the final mixing to change the colors.

This cocktail is very similar to a margarita, but with gin instead of tequila. It works. Trust me. I've been testing this cocktail for a loooong time to get the proportions right. I like it with lime juice, but I've also used Meyer lemons as well as standard lemons.

You might want to adjust the sweetness on this to your liking. The tartness depends, of course, on how tart your citrus juice is, but you also need to take into consideration how tart you like your drinks. It's totally up to you.

If this seems too strong for you, you can also add sparking water or soda to tame it a bit.

As far as the mixing, you could add the B'lure the way I did, or start with the B'lure in the glass with some water or soda and then add the gin and lime. Either way works. Just have fun with it!

And - hey - if you don't happen to have any B'lure hanging around, this makes a tasty drink without the added color!

1 ounce Tanqueray gin
1 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce agave syrup
1 dropper-full B-lure mixed with 1 ounce water

Combine the gin, lime juice, and agave in a short squat glass filled with ice. Mix well.

Pour the B-lure mixture into the cocktail while your guests watch. Garnish with something fun. I used a slice of starfruit.


And now ... for the rest of the story!

Right after I finished this post, I decided to see how some of my other ideas would work. I was really pleased with this layering effect:

That's agave nectar on the bottom, water mixed with B'lure in the center - you can see how blue it really is there - and then gin mixed with B'lure on top. The gin was just acidic enough so the B'lure turned it a very pretty purple. And with careful pouring over the back side of a spoon, the gin floated nicely on top of the water.

Needless to say, there's a lot of potential for creativity with this product. I'm sure you'll see me using it more in the future.