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Cocktail Recipe: The Amaro Flip

Here’s another tasty creation. This one’s a flip—a cocktail with a whole, raw egg shaken with the spirits and sweet ingredients. The result is someting bit like eggnog—rich and frothy—but with a lot more going on. This is really more of an autumn/winter drink, but I’m an adult and can do what I like.

For the amari, I used a blend of Averna, Ramazzotti, and Cynar. The herbs, bitter orange, and artichoke(!) and the wonderful aroma from the nutmeg and coffee garnish came together delightfully.  Next time I make this I might stiffen it up a bit with some brandy.

This one is rich and frothy, with a wonderful aroma from the coffee and nutmeg. I used a pastured egg from the local farmers market (the yolks are incredible) and homemade 2:1 gomme syrup (the recipe is here on Serious Eats).

Recipe’s below the photo. Enjoy!

Drinks - Amaro Flip


Amaro Flip
3/4 oz Averna
3/4 oz Ramazzotti Amaro
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
1/4 oz Cynar
1/4 oz 2:1 gomme syrup
1 whole egg
Nutmeg (garnish)
Coffee beans (garnish)
Dry shake liquid ingredients vigorously for 1 minute to froth egg. Add ice and shake well to chill. Strain into coupe glass, and garnish with ground nutmeg and coffee.

Cocktail Recipe: The Ginger Amaretto Sour!

Here’s a great adaptation of a Serious Eats recipe—the only spirit in the original was amaretto, which made the result way too sweet.

This recipe combines amaretto’s warmth and ginger’s spice with a bit of fresh sour citrus juice. It uses Mellow Corn whiskey (which I first picked up in my local store as a novelty before seeing it recommended by an article in Punch) as its base spirit. This whiskey looks a little bit rough around the edges, but it works really well here. It has just enough of a bite to stand up to the sweet amaretto and ginger liqueur, but not enough to make it taste like sketchy corn hooch.

The egg whites are absolutely not optional as they give the drink a lovely quarter-inch layer of sweet foam on top. I used pasteurized egg whites for the convenience.

Interestingly, it tastes very different before and after eating the crystallized ginger garnish—for some reason, this has a lasting effect on my tastebuds, making the drink taste less sweet for several sips.

Ginger-Amaretto Sour

Without further ado, the recipe:

Ginger-Amaretto Sour
3/4 oz corn whiskey (or bourbon)
3/4 oz amaretto (I used Luxardo)
1/2 oz ginger liqueur (or spicy ginger syrup)
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz egg white
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Dry shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds, shake with ice vigorously another 20-30 seconds, then strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with crystallized ginger and enjoy.

Cocktail Recipe: The Godchild!

Here’s another fun recipe I’ve come across.  This delicious drink combines cream, vodka, amaretto, and a little bit of egg white to make what is essentially a tiny boozy milkshake. It’s rich and creamy with amaretto’s nutty zing to sweeten it up.

I prefer Luxardo’s amaretto to Disaronno, which is for better or worse “the standard” when it comes to amaretto. I find Luxardo to be nuttier and less cloyingly sweet, so I’m using it here.

Please pardon my windowsill.


Recipe is as follows:

1 oz vodka
1 oz amaretto
1 oz heavy cream
1/2 oz egg white

Dry shake all ingredients, then add ice and shake vigorously until chilled. Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with cherries.

Cocktail Recipe: Clover Club!

Here’s another fun cocktail I’ve found: the Clover Club.

This is a fun one to have in the spring and summer, though I won’t say ‘no’ to one during the rest of the year either. It uses fresh raspberries, gin, lemon juice, and creme de framboise.

It’s got a great bright pink color, and a rich, thick foam on top (thanks, eggs!). The fruit plays really nicely with the gin, and the creme de framboise gives it a bit more depth.

Dry-shaking the ingredients froths the egg up really well for that nice foam on top. It is of course permissible to cheat by using one of those protein-shake wire whisk balls and skipping the dry shaking, though.

Please pardon my windowsill.

Clover Club

The recipe is as follows:

1 1/2 oz dry gin
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz creme de framboise (or raspberry syrup)
2-4 fresh raspberries
1 fresh egg white (~2/3 oz)

Muddle raspberries and dry shake all ingredients, add ice, shake, and double-strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with another raspberry.

A fun problem from Charles C. Pinter’s “A Book of Abstract Algebra.”

Back when I was in college, I took a course on Modern Algebra. It was terribly interesting, but I was also taking four other courses at the time (Integrated Circuit Design, Electromagnetic Theory, Complex Analysis, and an electronics lab course), so I wasn’t really able to digest the subject as well as I’d have liked.

In my spare time recently I’ve been powering through Charles C. Pinter’s “A Book of Abstract Algebra, Second Edition” and I came across this fun problem in the chapter on subgroups. The problem involves an interestingly-chosen subset of a group… it is similar to the group’s Center, but not quite the same.

The problem is as follows: “Let G be a group and let C' = \left\{a \in G : (ax)^2 = (xa)^2 \text{\ for every\ } x \in G \right\}. Prove that C' is a subgroup of G.”

I admit this one took me a little while, and I did have to ask for a hint. But in the end I got it, and I’m going to share the solution (and the line of thought behind it) here.

To prove that C' is a subgroup of G, we need to show two things:

(i) a,b \in C' \Rightarrow ab \in C'. That is, C' is closed under products.
(ii) a \in C' \Rightarrow a^{-1} \in C' \text{\ and\ } aa^{-1} = a^{-1}a = e \in C'. That is, that C' is closed under inverses.

For (i), we know that G is a group, and C' \subset G, so \forall a, b \in C', \forall x \in G, bx \in G. Thus by the definition of C', we know (a(bx))^{2} = a(bx)a(bx) = (bx)a(bx)a = ((bx)a)^{2}. The second equality here is the critical step, where we must invoke the definition of C' to swap the order of a and bx. Let’s call this relation [1].

But hold on! b was also in C', wasn’t it? And xa \in G too. So we also know that (b(xa))^{2} = b(xa)b(xa) = (xa)b(xa)b = ((xa)b)^{2}. Let’s call this relation [2].

Since G is a group, associativity holds (we already used it above, but it should be emphasized here) and the right hand side of [1] is equal to the left hand side of [2]. Thus we can make the following equation with the assistance of good old transitivity: (ab)x(ab)x = a(bx)a(bx) = (bx)a(bx)a = b(xa)b(xa) = (xa)b(xa)b = x(ab)x(ab). Therefore a, b \in C' \Rightarrow ab \in C'.

For (ii), we know a^{-1} \in G since G is a group. Therefore \forall a \in C', a^{-1}xa^{-1} \in G and therefore by the definition of C', we know that \left(\left(a^{-1}xa^{-1}\right)a\right)^{2} = \left(a\left(a^{-1}xa^{-1}\right)\right)^{2}.

By associativity, the left hand side of the above is equal to \left(a^{-1}x\right)^{2}, and the right hand side is equal to \left(xa^{-1}\right)^{2}.

So we now have \left(a^{-1} x \right)^{2} = \left( x a^{-1} \right)^{2}. The identity element of G, e = a^{-1}a is “obviously” in C' also as (ex)^2 = x^2 = (xe)^2. Therefore C' is closed under inverses. Since (i) and (ii) hold, C' is a subgroup of G. QED.

Whew. That wasn’t so bad, was it?

Stay tuned for more fun math adventures!

I Made Food: Home-Fry Poutine!



Behold, a heaping pile of fried potatoes and veggies, melty cheese, and gobs of gravy:

home-fry poutine

This delicious mess was a lot of fun to cook and made a great Sunday breakfast, especially when I realized I’d made enough for two people with my roommate away for the weekend.


Recipe is as follows:

Home-Fry Poutine
(Serves two)

1 large russet potato, cubed (with the skin on, if you like — I do!)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced (I used 1/2 red and 1/2 yellow)
4 white mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup chicken stock
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup grated cheese
Obscene amounts of gravy
2 tbsp cooking oil (and/or animal fat)
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

Sautee onions in oil over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until they begin to color (about 5 minutes). Add diced peppers and cook until they begin to shrink. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until mushrooms have darkened. While cooking the above, deglaze pan occasionally with splashes of chicken stock, allowing it to completely evaporate and the pan to heat back up in between.

Mix in potatoes and paprika, and cook covered for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. When potatoes have begun to crisp, mix in butter and cook another few minutes for added crispy goodness. Top with cheese and gravy while hot, serve, and make appointment with cardiologist.

Cocktail Recipe: Chas!

The Chas is a very pleasant bourbon drink. It combines bourbon’s toasty warmth with the sweetness and complex flavors of four liqueurs — Benedictine, amaretto, triple sec, and curaçao. The end result is a cocktail that is slightly herbal, slightly nutty, subtly perfumed with citrus, and delicately sweetened.

Once again, please pardon my cluttered kitchen windowsill.


For the base, I chose High West’s American Prairie bourbon. It’s got a nice toasty flavor to it, is subtly sweet, and has a great bite. For the amaretto, I prefer Luxardo to Disaronno as it’s twice as good and half as expensive — delicious and nutty, with a  subtle and spiced gingery finish which really makes it shine in this recipe. I used Pierre Ferrand’s dry curaçao as its bottle fits much more nicely in my cabinet than that of Grand Marnier (full disclosure here, folks). It nicely contributes cognac and bitter orange’s warmth. Cointreau is my favorite triple sec so far, though Combier is also a good choice. And Benedictine is, well, Benedictine. Not much choice there I suppose.

And here’s the recipe:

2 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
1/4 oz amaretto
1/4 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz triple sec
1/4 oz curaçao (the real stuff with cognac, not the blue syrup!)

Stir all ingredients well with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a cherry and enjoy.

Cocktail Recipe: Attention!

Lately I’ve taken up an interest in mixed drinks and cocktails. This will be the first of many posts detailing recipes to which I’ve taken a liking, in addition (hopefully!) to some of my own creations.

Please excuse my cluttered kitchen windowsill.


The Attention cocktail is great fun for those who like spiritous and botanical drinks. All the flavors flow into each other extremely well, and it’s elegantly clear (in an almost sinister way).

Most of its flavor and aroma comes from the absinthe despite a minute quantity being used, so it’s important to use a good one here — I prefer St. George. The gin also contributes a good quantity of the botanical flavors, but if it’s too delicately flavored it can easily be overpowered, so I went with Broker’s, a solid mid-range choice.

Next thing on my booze to-do list is invest in some quality vermouth. Until then, the standard choice of Martini and Rossi will do just fine.

One thing I noticed is that Giffard creme de violette is a lot less blue than it probably should be. Using Rothman and Winters in this drink makes it a striking pale lavender. I slightly prefer the flavor and perfume of the Giffard creme de violette, though.

2 oz dry gin
1/4 oz creme de violette
1/4 oz absinthe
1/4 oz dry vermouth (I know, I need to step up my vermouth game… Suggestions are very welcome!)
2 dashes orange bitters.

Stir well with ice and strain into chilled glass. Express lemon oils on top and garnish with lemon peel.

This recipe is from Kate Simon’s excellent book of absinthe cocktails. 

“Ignition! An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants”

I am currently reading “Ignition! An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants” by John D. Clark. (The work is currently out of print, but a PDF copy is available here)

As its title says, the work constitutes a summary of the early history of  liquid rocket propellant research. While maintaining an informal tone, it contains vast amounts of interesting technical information,as well as many anecdotes of experimental blunders and tales of testing gone awry.

One of my favorite quotations so far is Clark’s description of the compound Chlorine Trifluoride, which was at one point under study for use as part of a hypergolic (or self-igniting) propellant mixture. He describes the compound thusly:

Chlorine trifluoride, ClF3, or “CTF” as the engineers insist on calling it, is a colorless gas, a greenish liquid, or a white solid. It boils at 12° (so that a trivial pressure will keep it liquid at room temperature) and freezes at a convenient —76°. It also has a nice fat density, about 1.81 at room temperature.

It is also quite probably the most vigorous fluorinating agent in existence—much more vigorous than fluorine itself. Gaseous fluorine, of course, is much more dilute than the liquid ClF3, and liquid fluorine is so cold that its activity is very much reduced.

All this sounds fairly academic and innocuous, but when it is translated into the problem of handling the stuff, the results are horrendous. It is, of course, extremely toxic, but that’s the least of the problem. It is hypergolic with every known fuel, and so rapidly hypergolic that no ignition delay has ever been measured. It is also hypergolic with such things as cloth, wood, and test engineers, not to mention asbestos, sand, and water —with which it reacts explosively. It can be kept in some of the ordinary structural metals — steel, copper, aluminum, etc. —because of the formation of a thin film of insoluble metal fluoride which protects the bulk of the metal, just as the invisible coat of oxide on aluminum keeps it from burning up in the atmosphere. If, however, this coat is melted or scrubbed off, and has no chance to reform, the operator is confronted with the problem of coping with a metal-fluorine fire. For dealing with this situation, I have always recommended a good pair of running shoes.