Monday, December 17, 2007

You Too Can Fihimafihi!!!

Le Mixeur is strictly an open source program, and thus the process for making a Fihimafihi is no secret. Making a Fihimafihi requires multiple steps and preparation days in advance, and anyone willing to undertake such a craft and to exercise such patience deserves all the joy and pride that comes from imbibing a Fihimafihi of your own making. So without further adieu...

Making a Fihimafihi requires rosemary gin, ginger syrup, wine syrup, lemon juice, and egg white. We'll work our way backwards through this list.

Egg White
If you are concerned about potential food poisoning from consuming raw egg white, you can use pasteurized egg white. It usually takes about one tablespoon per drink. If you are willing to throw caution to the wind, though, a real egg white makes for much better texture and body to the drink, and provides a layer of foam across the top of the Fihimafihi that no rosemary garnish will ever sink through. I'll assume that all you Mixers know the technique for separating an egg white from its yolk. If not, ask a friend! And invite them to join you in the process too! It's fun to make Fihimafihis with pals!!

Lemon Juice
I am also going to assume that all you Mixers are aware of how to make fresh lemon juice. For making a Fihimafihi, the lemon juice should ideally be strained to rid it of pulp. A fine mesh metal strainer works best.

Wine Syrup
Wine syrup is made by cooking red wine with sugar. I use a 1:1 ratio of sugar to wine. It is often recommended that you use a fruity, light-bodied wine like a Merlot, but as Paul Giamatti said, "I am NOT drinking fucking Merlot!" I used a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon that had been open for over a week and consequently was unappealing to drink. This seemed to make a very nice tasting syrup (specifically, it was 2004 Pike and Post and it was sitting in Lela's kitchen cabinet until she asked me if I could do anything with it). For sugar I used organic evaporated cane juice because, being finely granulated, it dissolves easily and it's not all icky like those refined white sugars.

Put the wine and sugar in a pot and cook over medium high heat, stirring from time to time. Get to just a light boil and then reduce the heat to simmer and let it go for about 10-15 minutes. The sugar should be completely dissolved and the wine should be slightly thickened. Let it cool in the pot for a while, then pour it into a jar or bottle with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate. It stays good for about 3 weeks, then it starts misbehaving - charging things on the internet with your credit card, eating all your condiments, combining proteins with carbs, voting Republican, etc.

Ginger Syrup
Thank god almighty for ginger syrup. So many wonderful things can be done with ginger syrup. I dump it into food I'm cooking when I don't no where else to go with it, I add it to failed drink experiments to salvage something at least drinkable, I smear it onto the door jams of my home so each time I come and go the fragrance is released, I sloppily apply it as lip balm so that some hardens to my upper lip and intoxicates me with its aroma all day...

And I make the world's greatest Fihimafihi with it too.

2 cups water, 1 cup sugar, a 3 inch piece of ginger peeled and cut into 6 pieces, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice. Putdat inna pot! Medium high heat, light boil, reduce to simmer...about 5 minutes. Spoon out the ginger - and for fun see if you can get all 6 pieces at once with a slotted spoon. Let it cool, putdat inna jar or bottle with a tight lid and refrigerate. Good for two weeks, then it will assassinate your Tamari sauce.

Rosemary Gin
This came about when I spaced out a recipe from Nick Mautone's book, Raising the Bar.

I came home with a bundle of rosemary and a bottle of gin, only to realize the recipe called for something called "vodka." I was not familiar with this spirit at the time, but apparently it is a neutral spirit that has as its primary goal to be without any flavor! What a novel concept! It seems we Americans just can't get enough of mass produced consumable goods without flavor, as evidenced by the fact that the stock at our local liquor stores is now approximately 95% vodka and 5% everything else in the world. The vodka options run from the $8 poor quality flavorless clear liquid to the $50 artisan crafted flavorless clear liquid. The choice is yours!

Anyway...It was kind of embarrassing to realize the recipe was for vodka because on the ride home I had kind of promised the gin that I was going to hook it up with the rosemary. In fact, I'd kind of been playing up the rosemary to the gin, and the gin had gotten pretty excited about it. I actually had started to worry that the gin would pop its cork before we even got home, but to its credit it held out.

So given this background there was no turning back, and I went ahead and made rosemary gin, and this here's how I done did it:

Take a 32 oz mason jar, put 4 branches of rosemary (each about 6 inches long) inside, add 2 ounces of boiling water, close the jar quickly, and shake. Let that sit for about 10 minutes, until the rosemary gets bright green and you can't stand to watch the poor little fellas suffer like that anymore. Open the jar, pour in about 4 ounces of ice cold water, listen for the sound of the rosemary saying "ahhhhh" then add 3 ounces dry vermouth and 1.5 ounces Pernod.

At this point the rosemary should be twitching its nose like a bunny rabbit and trying to place the herbal tones of the vermouth and Pernod, and the gin should be foaming at the mouth wondering when it gets its turn. Tell your gin its time has come and dump in as much as will fit in the jar. Close the jar and shake it all vigorously. Feel free to cackle maniacally at this stage, throwing your head back for added effect. Put the jar in a cool spot or in the fridge and let it steep for two days. After 48 hours, take out the rosemary, ask it if it has any last words. Assure it that it gave its life to a noble cause and that long after its body is gone it will continue to bring joy to a great many people. Call to it, "your essence had merged with the juniper, lavender, coriander, and whatever the fuck else they put in away rosemary, you are free at last!" Then toss it.

The rosemary gin will preserve longer if kept refrigerated - indefinitely in fact - but I like to Mix it at room temperature so its "melty action" (pardon the Mixological term) is the same as other spirits.

For gin, by the way, I used Broker's. Some have speculated that it would be worth it to spend 3 more dollars for Boodles, but I made it with Broker's and it worked with Broker's so I'm sticking guessed it...Broker's. The only problem is that I haven't figured out what I'm going to do with all those stupid little plastic derbies.

Mixing Your Fihimafihi

This is the easy part. Put a cup of ice into a cockail shaker and then add this:

2 1/4 ounces rosemary gin
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce ginger syrup
1 egg white

Shake that for about 10 seconds. Strain it into a cocktail glass.

Take a teaspoon of wine syrup and gently pour it into the center of the cocktail glass. It will nestle in the nook at the bottom.

Clip a small tuft of fresh rosemary and place it in the center of the glass. It should float on the layer of foam on top of your Fihimafihi. If your wine syrup floats on top of the foam and your rosemary tuft nestles in the glass's me, something has gone seriously wrong.

Then you drink it down. Contemplate this fine cocktail you have just prepared for yourself, and reach the inevitable conclusion - Fihimafihi (it is what it is).

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