Obedient Ingredients

A place to put cooking ideas to the test.

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How to Throw a (Pumpkin) Beer Bracket Party

Every year I throw a gathering that focuses on pumpkin beer and tasting it. Since that is not fun enough, I usually throw in some assessing activities (ranking, voting, etc). The past two years, which you can read about here, and also here, focused more on evaluating each beer through many criteria (pumpkin spice taste, overall flavor, drinkability, etc).

This year, however, we kept it simple: two beers match up against each other! The voters are blind to which beers are matched up against one another! Winners progress through a bracket format!

And I enjoy food themed brackets.

It’s the 2015 Pumpkin Beer Blind(ish) Bracket!


Organizing it and implementing it requires a bit of work, but it is very fun in the end.

Read below to see how to organize your very own food/drink bracket party.

Go to the bottom to see the winners of this year’s pumpkin beer bracket!

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The Bowery Fix Cocktail (Tequila and Yellow Bell Pepper) – My #1 Favorite Cocktail

This is the drink that got me interested in craft cocktails.


When I visited a good friend of mine in New York City 5 years ago, he said “Here’s a bar I know you’d like.” He said that because he and I appreciated good food and cooking (he was a teacher for most of his life, but he is now a pastry chef at a really reputable NYC restaurant). He was right.

He took me to Saxon + Parole on Bowery St. in the Lower East Side of New York City. It was late afternoon and the place was mostly empty. We walked through an empty yet elegant dining room to the bar, with a marble bar, bartenders in striped aprons, and an array of herbs, fruits, vegetables and other colorful whole foods adorning the bar. Behind the bar tenders was a huge block of clear ice that they used a chisel and pick to create the ice cubes. This type of bar is not for everyone, and some may use words like pretentious or hipster, but I loved it. Every molecule in this bar screamed “we care about the drinks we make and serve.”

At $13-$15 a cocktail, I experienced very well-balanced creatively constructed drinks that were a delight. However, one stood out, and really opened my eyes to the world of hard alcohol. That drink is called The Bowery Fix.

Almost five years later, I decided to dive into the hobby of craft cocktail making. Mixologist. Home bartender. It helped that the recipe for my favorite drink I had at Saxon + Parole finally made its way online. When I decided to make the Bowery Fix at home, I purchased bottles of liquid I couldn’t pronounce and have never heard of.

I made it, and it was amazing.

Here is how to make the Bowery Fix, my absolute favorite cocktail.

All credit goes to Naren Young.


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Cocktail Measurements Matter: The Aviation

During my on-going campaign to distance myself from my new interest that costs me so much money, I suffered a huge defeat last month when I purchased two liqueurs for one of my favorite cocktail. One ingredient can be found in several drinks (like another go-to fave, the Last Word), and that is Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, a delightful cherry-flavored liqueur. It adds sweetness but also a bit more complexity with it’s funky delicious flavor.

Then there is that rare liqueur that is not in many recipes (hardly any, actually) and is even harder to find. And that is creme de violette. A violette liqueur. Floral tartness, a unique perfumy sweetness, a slight grape-candy-like bite.

Put these together along with gin and lemon juice, you got the Aviation cocktail.

But after testing two different recipes, an ounce or a quarter of an ounce off can make a huge difference!

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Four New Cocktails from “Shake”

After several months of weary transition and heavy work load, I needed some creativity in my life.

It was time to experiment with some cocktail mixing.

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I purchased the book “Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails” at a yuppie store that I like to judge yet would love to own half the things in that store. I almost bought the $36 mason jar cocktail shaker, which seems great and I reallllly wanted it, but I would rather make a DIY mason jar shaker by drilling holes in the top.

My friend and I looked through the book and since we are in the weird middle season of winter-figuring-out-if-it-should-die-and-let-spring-come-forth, we thumbed through the winter and spring cocktails, considered which booze and ingredients we had at our homes, and came up with four.

This post is just me reporting on what we made and drank and what we thought of it.

WARNING: Photos taken on an iPhone, not my awesome camera. Beware.

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Homemade Harry Potter Butterbeer

UPDATE 2: The final recipe I’ve settled on! 

UPDATE: This blog post has tons of research and recipes, but I did not attempt to make any of them and drink them. However, I actually tried some recipes very recently and found one I loved. Click here to go to that post, but read on to look at my research and whole lot of recipes.

Halloween is upon us, and I thought it would be fitting to conduct a test to try out homemade Butterbeer, the drink that appears in the Harry Potter books. As a huge fan of HP and food tests and things with the word “beer” in it, I figured this would be a great experiment for today and this winter.

However, I was unable to actually conduct the taste test experiment for Butterbeer, for several reasons:

1. I am still unemployed and this would have been very expensive to do.

2. My friends find the idea of taste testing so many sugary drinks to be gross.

So, this post will contain my research on butterbeer in case YOU would like to try out one of these recipes. If there is enough demand for me to conduct this experiment, I’ll give it a try.


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