The Habanero Margarita

Blended Margaritas have their place, but serious tequila lovers leave the brain freeze to when they eat ice cream. A great Margarita should be liquid that can be sipped, not a solid that has to be defrosted.

While the strawberry variety of the Margarita can be a pleasant dessert, a good Margarita needs a bite, and how better to incorporate that but with a fresh habanero pepper. Don't worry about breaking the bank on this ingredient, as an average sized pepper weighs very little and should set you back no more than five or ten cents

For our Habanero Margarita we do have a wide choice of tequilas available. As with any mixed drink, the end result is a product of its parts, and if you slough off on the quality of the tequila, don't expect the perfect result. So, choose your tequila wisely. Our selection is Tequila Cuervo Centenario Extra.

This mixture also calls for agave syrup, and our agave of choice generally is organic raw blue agave. Agave is a great sweetener for a variety of mixed drinks, and in a pinch we have even used it for our classic, Original Mai Tai when Trader Vic's Rock Candy Syrup was not available.

the Habanero Margarita Ingredients:

Cocktail Glass (Margarita or Martini preferably, though DOF or other short glasses or even tumblers are acceptable)
a habanero pepper
a lime
Agave syrup
Grand Marnier

And you do this with all that:
     Dissect the habanero, removing stem and seeds and cutting the fillet into pieces about 1/2" by 1/2" to 1", and toss a small to medium sized pepper's worth into the shaker, and muddle. A WORD OF WARNING: Do Not, I repeat, Do Not look down into the shaker as you muddle. I made this mistake once, and a large-sized gob of habanero juice squirted up directly into my eye. I had a very painful next hour.

Once thoroughly muddled, add 2-oz tequila, 3/4-oz of agave syrup, and 1/2-oz of fresh lime juice, then add ice and shake, shake, shake. Your choice of glass should be determined by what you have on hand and whether or not you want your drink over ice. If over ice, then you should choose a large Margarita glass, though a double old fashioned will do as well. No ice? Then a regular margarita glass or Martini glass, or old fashioned glass, will all suffice according to your personal preference. A stemmed glass will keep your warm paws away from the liquid and help keep your drink cold without the dilution of added ice. I personally like the feel and shape of a Martini glass. Strain into your glass.

Finally, add a splash of Grand Marnier, and if you desire you can rim the glass with the spent line shell or attach it to the rim. I am anti-salt on Margaritas generally, and certainly would never salt the rim of a habanero Margarita.

theHoundDawg for

The Dirty Cherry Collins

I've long been a fan of the Collins, and in particular, the Vodka Collins. Over the years, I've experimented with a lot of variations, but what stands out above all is that the taste is most dependent upon the quality of the ingredients used. For the Vodka Collins, there are three distinct areas where the ingredient makes the drink.

1. Fresh juice. A Collins requires both lemon and line juice, and to build a quality drink, you have to use fresh juice - no Rose's bottled lime juice, and none of that grocery store "reconstituted" lemon juice. Buy a lime, buy a lemon, cut them open, and squeeze them into your glass. Also, please, do not use a pre-made sour mix.

2. Vodka. There is Vodka and there is Vodka. Most people assume that all Vodka is distilled from potatoes. WRONG. 99% of the Vodka sold in the US, and virtually all popular brands, never saw a potato in their life, and are distilled from grains. And you can taste it. There
are very few brands of Vodka that are actually made from potato, and most of them are not very good There is one excellent, popular brand, pretty readily available, that is distilled from potatoes, and that is my brand of choice for Collins drinks, and anything else that involves Vodka, and that brand comes from Poland: Chopin POTATO Vodka. That is the full name, and don''t forget it.

3. The Cherry. A minor, practically irrelevant element, you say. Au contraire, mon amie, it is an essential part of a great Vodka Collins, and an element where if proper selection is disdained, an otherwise great drink is ruined. If you have ever tried those dyed-red grapes masquerading as "maraschino" cherries that are found in most groceries, you know how bad a bad "cherry" can be. Well, really great cherries are very hard to find, but I have found THE BEST, and with a great name to boot: From Tillen Farms, the Bada Bing, a pitted cherry, with NO red dye and preservative free. Cherry lovers delight in this absolutely delicious example of what a real bottled cherry can be.
They are extremely hard to find, I believe only sold in stores in the Pacific Northwest, but they can be ordered online from the TIllen Farms website. In fact, I received an order of several bottles just this past week.

So, now that all that is understood, let's get to the recipe for the Dirty Cherry Collins:
Chopin Vodka
a lime
a lemon
Confectioners Sugar
Bada Bing Cherries

And you do this with all that:

Into the tumbler add 2-oz Chopin Vodka, 1/2-oz fresh lemon juice, 1/2-oz fresh lime juice, three nice
teaspoons full of confectioners sugar (you can add more later if you desire), a splash (roughly 1/4-oz) of the juice from the Bada Bing bottle (hence, a "Dirty" Vodka Collins), and 3 or 4 oz of seltzer. Stir well, then add ice. Fill the rest of the way with more seltzer, and mix well again. Taste and add more sugar (or Bada Bing juice) to taste, and top off with a Bada Bing Cherry (or 2 or 3, as you wish), and enjoy.

theHoundDawg for

The HoundDawg Lychee Cooler

We last wrote about the drink recipe contest held at Affiliate Summit West 11 last January.

Following up, here is the recipe submitted by theHoundDawg. Despite being chosen as one of the five finalists to be voted on at the party, it was not made, for the reason that in the city of Las Vegas, no Lychees were available. Boo.

The Hound Dawg Lychee Cooler:

Canned lychees with syrup
1-1/2 oz. Vodka (I prefer a good quality potato vodka, such as Chopin)
2 oz. Soho Lychee Liqueur
Powdered sugar
Seltzer (vastly preferred over club soda)
Maraschino cherry

Muddle 2 nice sized lychees in the bottom of a Collins glass. Add 1-1/2-oz. Vodka, 2 oz. Soho Lychee Liqueur, 2 oz. lychee syrup from the can of lychees, and 3 heaping teaspoons powdered sugar. Stir well. Add ice to top. Fill near to top with seltzer and stir. Garnish with a whole lychee and a cherry.

theHoundDawg for

The Blank Check

Early last year, theHoundDawg was getting ready to attend AffiliateSummit West 11, the largest Affiliate Marketing conference there is, at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. As is wont to happen, theHoundDawg wss invited to a party hosted by the Affiliate Network. was holding a recipe contest, to be decided at the party. Attendees were invited to submit an original drink recipe, and the team would choose the top five, which would be made at the party, and a winner was to be voted on.

Well theHoundDawg submitted a recipe and it was in the chosen five, as was the recipe submitted by a good friend of theHoundDawg, the outstanding affiliate manager for the great Carousel Checks company, Jill Swartwout. Fittingly, Jill submitted a drink called the Blank Check.

When Affiliate Summit came around, and when theHoundDawg arrived at the party, held at the fabulous Mandalay Bay Hotel, we found that our submission, along with Jill's, were not being made, for the reason that one or more ingredients were "unavailable". So the world tasted neither The Hound Dawg Lychee Cooler, nor the Blank Check.

Go forward seven months to the next Affiliate Summit, Affiliate Summit East 11, held in New York City, and the next party, which was co-hosted by Jill's company. Guess what was on the menu? The Blank Check.

The Blank Check is a great drink, and we are happy to include it in our Recipe Log.

There are actually two variations, as the bartenders at the second party made it a bit differently than the original.

Here is the original:

1 oz Stoli O (or any orange vodka)
1 oz Stoli Razz (or any raspberry vodka)
sprite - enough to make it fill a rocks glass with all the other ingredients
just a splash of cranberry juice to color
pour into a rocks glass and garnish with a lime

And here is the way we tasted it this past August in New York City:

1 part orange vodka
1 part raspberry vodka
a splash of sprite
a splash of cranberry
serve in a martini glass and garnish with a lime

One final word. Jill was assisted in the creation of the drink by her good friend, former bartender Wayne Hitt.

theHoundDawg for

The Original Mai Tai, As Improved

The Original Mai Tai, As Improved
August 07, 2011 04:05 PM, Filed in: Rum Drinks | Tropical Drinks

1/2 Medium lime
1 ounce orange curaçao
1/4 ounce rock candy syrup
1 teaspoon orgeat syrup
1/4 ounce Grenadine
2 ounces dark rum
1 ounce light rum
Pineapple slice
Maraschino cherries


Fill Mai Tai (double old fashioned) glass with shaved ice. Squeeze juice from the lime over the ice, and keep 1/2 of the spent shell. Add rum, orange curaçao, orgeat syrup, rock candy syrup and Grenadine, and mix thoroughly. Fill glass with additional shaved ice, and add spent lime shell, pineapple and cherries. Add additional rock candy syrup and/or Grenadine to sweeten to taste. If too sweet, slightly increase orgeat syrup.

Historical Note:

The traditional Mai Tai DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY JUICE other than the one-half lime. For a “Real” Mai Tai DO NOT ADD pineapple, orange, or any other fruit juice, as is commonly done today! Our improvements over the original recipe include slight variances in the proportion of the ingredients, and one key additional ingredient.

Otherwise, our recipe is true to the original Mai Tai, as created by Trader Vic.

Top Shelf Recommendations:

We prefer Myers Original Dark Rum, and Mt. Gay Eclipse Light Rum. Anytime you need a simple sugar syrup, a rock candy syrup, or just about anytime you need to sweeten any drink, Trader Vic's Rock Candy Syrup is our choice.

theHoundDawg for

About the Drink Recipe Log

Having bombed out in High School Chemistry (Med School? Nah, how about Law School instead?) our lust for mixing volatile liquids has in recent decades been satisfied by mixing only semi-volatile but consumable concoctions.

While our standard preference is the Single Malt Scotch, we do partake of the occasional mixed drink, and we keep our eyes open for new and interesting concoctions. Our latest invention or find will be offered as our Free Drink Recipe for a limited time, and then each such recipe will be archived here, in our Drink Recipe Log.

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