A Holiday of Firsts

by Jamye on January 4, 2011

This is my First year in LA. Well… actually it’s only been my First six months.

It was the First time ever I did not go to Ohio to see my mom for Christmas.

It was the First time I’ve spent Christmas with my younger brother and sister.

It was the First time I’ve celebrated Christmas in Las Vegas.

Technically they are my half brother and sister. We have the same dad. Their mom is my ex-step mom. I’ve always lived with my mom. My brother and sister have always lived with their mom. When they were 2 and 3 years old my dad moved to Vegas for a better job. I was 8. When my brother and sister were 17 and 18 our dad and their mom divorced. And that’s why she’s my ex-step mom and why I’ve never spent Christmas with my brother and sister.

We had Christmas day dinner at my ex-step aunt Nancy’s house. She and her husband have a full bar. Somehow this also became my First Christmas as the family bartender. Apparently the way I walked in and took a cursory glance around the bar inspired confidence in my ability to concoct something out of nothing. Because that’s what I had to work with.

The only drink the bar was equipped to make was margaritas. Tequila, triple sec, cointreau, lime juice, salt and beer. But margaritas aren’t exactly your typical Christmas drink. Especially for the men folk who are looking for something a little stronger. Except for the bottle of lime juice, the only liquids I had available for mixing were other liquors. Mostly whiskeys. I did have a bottle of Bailey’s at my disposal. There was no vodka and no gin so I really had my work cut out for me.

One ex-step cousin is also an ex-marine. He was trying to show off his ability to drink by making my brother a Loaded Landshark (a Landshark Lager with 1-2 shots of tequila poured in). He told me to surprise him with something and to make it strong. At first I thought I would make him a Car Bomb (1/2 pint of Guinness, 1oz shot Bailey’s, 1 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey) but there was no Guinness to be found in the house. So I tried making a low rent version – 2 shots of Irish Whiskey with 1 shot of Bailey’s.

It was disgusting.

But the ex-step cousin, ex-marine who agreed that it was vile came back for a second one.

I spent the next 20 minutes pulling bottle of whiskey after bottle of whiskey off of the shelf trying to unearth something that might be mixable and potentially become a passable drink when I found a tiny gem. Shoved all the way in the back corner of the bar I unearthed small box that contained a few airplane sized bottles of alcohol. Out of the 6 bottles, five were Sambuca. The last was a bottle of Amaretto. At last I found something mixable. Now I just needed to decide if it was mixable with whiskey, beer, tequila or Sambuca.

But then I caught a glimpse of something else. Something festive and green. A bottle of Sake. So I poured approximately 2 shots of Sake and one of Amaretto into a glass over 2 ice cubes. It was delicious.

I was so excited about this that I decided that I was going to make these back in LA for New Year’s Eve. I headed to BevMo! with the one person who is obligated to spend New Year’s Eve with me: Uncle Waldo, a dude I’m dating.  (He asked that I use that name for him–no, just for this post, I don’t call him that in real life.) We walked through the store looking for my necessary ingredients. Amaretto is easy enough to find and choose but I quickly realized how much knowledge I DON’T have about Sake. So we chose the Sake based on two things:

  1. Price
  2. Name

We landed on a $10 bottle with a name that translated into “Snow Maiden”. And we rewarded ourselves by spending 25 cents each and enjoying their champagne tasting. As we were walking to Uncle Waldo’s car he asked me “What are you going to do with this drink?”

“I don’t know. It’s not like I work at a bar,” I said.

“Yeah, but you do keep a cocktail blog. Don’t you think you should name this and put it on the blog?”

He did have a good point.

We got back to his house and I made one for him to taste. This is when I truly discovered my need for a better understanding of Sake. The one I used to originally make the drink was dry. Snow Maiden was very sweet. It was also quite cloudy. It made the drink less light and  festive and more like a dessert wine. The milky consistency of the Sake gave it the color of murky water.

Uncle Waldo asked if I’d thought of name yet.

I hadn’t.

He asked me what I would plan on serving the drink in.

I had no idea.

Then he was struck with inspiration.

“Sake is from Japan. Amaretto is from Italy. Why not serve this in a beer stein?”

“Mainly because, as tasty as this is, I can’t see anyone drinking an entire stein of it.”

“What about a cordial glass made in Germany?”

“What is your deal with German barware?”

“I was just thinking of a name.”

And that’s how I came to contribute my first drink to Morbid Cocktails.

The Axis of Evil* (Germany, Italy, Japan)

2 shots Sake (preferably dry and not cloudy)

1 shot Amaretto

Serve in a cordial glass neat or in a brandy snifter on the rocks. Only good Aryan glassware permitted, of course.

*There is a picture of this drink, but at time of post Word Press was being a jerk and causing publishing issues. Will post as soon as I figure out the problem.


Brains and a Cotton Candy Machine

by Jamye on December 2, 2010

Making your own garnishes is expensive and, well… tedious. Looking up how to make Gummy things. Hunting down pulled sugar classes (if can find them, they cost a fortune). Same thing with blown sugar. I am looking into classes for cake decorating. My assumption is that if I learn how to make Buttercream flowers to go on cakes (like the flowers you see on wedding cakes) the I can apply the same technique to make Buttercream decorations for the drinks.

Spun sugar is something I’ve been considering. Not just because of MrCatan’s suggestion on the Inferi-tini post but also because of the way it breaks down. It’s something that can be used to decorate a glass, but will break down and change the flavors of the drink. That’s the point of a lot of what I’m trying to do with the garnishes. Yes, they are for look and show. But in a lot of cases it would be ideal if they added to the complexity of the cocktail. I just thought it was going to be too expensive to do. When I think of spun sugar, I think of this:

Not cheap

Cotton Candy Machine

That thing is $50 a day to rent. To Rent!!!

Seriously? $50.

A day.

To make this?!?!

Cotton Candy

Cotton Candy. In the process of being made. Yum!

This dissolves completely in a second and a half, and they want $50 a day? No way. No spun sugar for Morbid Cockails unless I buy cotton candy from a store, go to a carnival or hold out until baseball season and go to a game to buy cotton candy. At least at that point, for roughly the same price I get a professional baseball game in addition to the cotton candy.

After a bit internet hunting, I did eventually find a cheap way to make spun sugar. I’m not sure if it counts as spun sugar, but it’s totally the low rent, get your kitchen really messy way of making it. So that makes it perfect for me : ) First you cover your kitchen with newspaper or some variant for easy clean up. You get a pot and three skillets. Spray the handles of the skillets with non-stick spray. Cook water and sugar until just before the sugar caramelizes in the pot. Quickly put the bottom of the pot in an ice bath for a minute or two. From there you grab a fork, scoop up some sugar and run it back and forth across the greased handles of the skillets making lots and lots of strands of sugar that you can turn into…

A nest?

Hmm… only if there are dead baby birds in it. Then it will work.

I can do better. Come on Brain. I know you’re a little hung over and over worked today, but there’s gotta be something wandering around in there that’s better than a stupid nest. (I write a blog about morbid themed “Adult Beverages”. Don’t act like you’re surprised that I’m hung over once in a while.)

Barbed Wire?

Yes! That’s more like it! (Thanks for stepping it up, Brain!) . A drink called “Keep Out” or something like that only better. And it can have a spun sugar barbed wire fence!

So, the name needs a little work. Apparently my brain is only good for one good idea today.

I’m also considering that not everything has to be sweet. Making savory items might be more cost effective. Imagine if you will, a Bloody Mary garnished with an olive that looks like an eye (not much of a stretch). And instead of having salami or pepperoni on the toothpick with it there is a brain made out of meatloaf.


Yep, that's a real brain. No, I did not exhume a fresh corpse and remove this on my own. But that is a good idea for some other time...

There is a lot floating around in my brain pan right now about different ways to incorporate spices, meat and other things not sweet into our creations. I have a lot of work to do. Molds to make. Sugar to spin, or at least throw about in my kitchen. Better drink names to come up with.

This blog is technically done, but I wanted to leave you with something fun I found while searching for images of cotton candy. It’s probably the best part of this post 🙂

2 girls in spun sugar

Painting by Will Cotton. He's got a lot more images of naked girls lying in cotton candy. I'm sure his site visits are gonna go way up after this post goes live. Thanks all 10 readers!


The Inferi-tini

November 23, 2010

For those of you living under an even bigger rock than I am, the new Harry Potter movie was just released. Which of course means that I needed to make a cocktail about it. Ok, it’s not based on this movie. It’s based on the last one. I still haven’t seen the new movie. Anyway. […]

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End Of Morbid Cocktails?!? Eff That!

November 12, 2010

Some people thought we called it quits on Morbid Cocktails (for good reason). But alas we have not. We just got a little… sidetracked. I assure you that we have just taken a bit of time to regroup and prepare for a gorey, grotesque holiday season.

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Moving Time

September 2, 2010

This weekend I finally get to move into a permanent residence in LA. Actually, I’ve already kind of moved in. This marks my 6th move Since June 7. It’s no wonder I’ve been slightly neurotic and obsessive about making garnishes. It’s a consistent, known, stable thing. And it’s all in theory. That’s right. I haven’t […]

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Divine Intervention

August 31, 2010

One of the things I love about Jamye is her unbridled enthusiasm. It’s contagious (and fun). And I’m VERY excited that it got channeled in the direction of making the awesomest cocktail garnishs in the world! But I must admit, I’ve had my misgivings about her intended forays into pulled sugar and the like. I’ve known […]

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Pull this, Sugar.

August 26, 2010

I’ve been doing more research into pulled and spun sugar. I figure I’ll need some classes to be able to anything really good. I’d love to even do blown sugar. The most recent site I looked at came with the following notice, red font and all. (Why does their favicon look like the Volkswagen logo? […]

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Experiment No.3

August 24, 2010

“Creativity is making mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”       –Scott Adams Floating bitters on the top has been unsuccessful so far, so I decided to adjust my concept accordingly: I’ll put the bitters on the bottom. They seem to want to go there, anyway. Instead of attempting to make a […]

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Migration Blues

August 17, 2010

At only six posts in, we decided to move from Blogspot to Word Press. In the long run, Word Press provides more options for controlling the look and feel of our site. There are more little bells and whistles that we can add as we go. We have great delusions of grandeur. We’re pretty sure […]

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The Aftermath

August 8, 2010

The negative sides of feeding our newest hair brained scheme are already surfacing. My credit card got shut down. I got 5 emails and 3 phones calls from my bank all alerting me to unusual purchases being made on my account. Apparently spending $88 on silicon, $100 on THE premiere book on pulling sugar (I […]

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