Cocktail Time: Blue Hawaiian

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It’s that time again!  Time to chill in the Virtual Hot Tub with a refreshing cocktail, letting the week’s stresses flow away.  And what a great cocktail I have to share with you this time!

The Blue Hawaiian is a classic cocktail, simply delicious and full of summer excitement.  There’s plenty of time till summer, so get your kit together and practice making this tipple ready for those warm evenings.  I highly recommend a blender is used for this recipe, rather than just shaking. IMG_20160213_180025383

Blue Hawaiian

  • White rum
  • Blue curacao
  • Coconut cream
  • Pineapple juice
  • Ice

First of all, get that blender prepped and ready.  Pour in 2 measures of the white rum and one measure of the blue curacao (for one person).  Add 3 tablespoons of the coconut milk and a few ice cubes.  Give the mixture a quick 30 second mix in the blender, to get the colour even.

Then pour in the pineapple juice.  The recommended amount is 3 tablespoons, but I would experiment here and add a more if required.  Now give the mixture a full blitz in the blender until it’s frothy, man.

Now you can pour the mixture into your glass, and garnish the hell out of it.  Umbrellas, straws, slices of pineapple – go for it with whatever you can find. IMG_20160213_181643659

The result is a beautifully fruity cocktail that is ideal to sip and chill out with.  I highly recommend some Hawaiian music (on wax, of course) to complete the mood.

Enjoy!

Soundtrack: Hawaiian tunes (see photo); Arthur Lyman’s “Hawaiian Nights”; Les Baxter; Martin Denny; Elvis.

Ale Satan!

It’s time for a Halloween themed tipple at the Virtual Hot Tub, and what could be better than this fine craft beer?

ALE SATAN is from Legion 13, an alternative brand created by Hannibal Helmuerto and Anastasia the IV of Circus of Horrors fame.  You may remember my feature on the last time Mrs Platinum Al and myself visited the circus… P_20141108_150949

The beer is brewed at 6.66%, and is guaranteed to “make you feel devilish”!  It’s a tasty pale ale, which despite it’s strength is actually very enjoyable.  Straight from the bottle, it was quite a lively brew.  It’s described as “stronger than Anastasias’s hair”, and “subtly hopped”.

We ordered a few bottle for last years Halloween shenanigans.  Unfortunately the delivery turned up late, but I forgave them as there were some very cool stickers in the box.  I love stickers!  Especially as the artwork (for the label and stickers etc) were designed by the great Vince Ray, one of my favourite artists.  His style is a perfect match for this brand!

Ale Satan is a mischievous beer with lots of character.  Ideal for any Halloween party, your guests will love it!

The Legion 13 website is here.

Disclaimer

It’s about time I covered a few items, in order to explain how this blog works.  I know this isn’t much fun, but it needs to be done.  Please note that this list is not exhaustive; I may amend or add to this list at any time that suits me.

The points below refer to my WordPress blog, “Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub” (“Virtual Hot Tub” or “blog”):

  1. All views and opinions expressed on this blog are my own and do not represent the views and opinions of my employer or previous employers.  I do not refer to my employer by name on this blog for this reason.  Please do not mention the name of my employer (current or previous) in any correspondence.
  2. Photographs of subjects are taken with the person’s verbal consent only.  If you object to your image being used on this website, please let me know and I will remove it.  Proof of identity may be requested for any removal.
  3. Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub is not responsible for any injuries you may receive, or loss of any kind (including financial) whilst participating in any of our featured activities.
  4. Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub receives no remuneration/compensation from featured venues or events.
  5. Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub and Platinum Al’s Virtual Tiki Bar are “virtual” locations and do not exist in real time or space.

Hope that’s cleared a few things up.

New Year Resolutions

Another year, another chill sesh in the Virtual Hot Tub!

It’s customary at this time of year to make resolutions, usually as we regret the binging over Christmas and promise not to be so greedy in future.  Fair enough, I feel that pain.  And I applaud anyone who wants to make a change for the better.

I do have a small problem with resolutions being so very negative, however.  It’s all “I must not do this” and “no to that”, and so on.  I think it’s much better to have a positive outlook on these things.  So instead of “I’m not eating junk food”, try “I’m going to eat healthier”.  Or “I’m going to reduce the amount of alcohol I drink”, rather than “I’m not drinking at all”.  Make your resolutions a goal, rather than a restriction.

This way, any minor relapses can be balanced out, rather than becoming a failure and evolving into an excuse to fall back into old, unhealthy ways.

But then, don’t take too much notice of Platinum Al – I’m not giving up anything!  Why would you, with your own Virtual Hot Tub and Tiki Bar??!

I am, however, intending to do the following this year:

  1. Play music.  I listen to music all the time, constantly doing my music homework.  I think it’s about time I actually played some music though.  There’s a guitar and bass in the garage that haven’t been touched for years.  Maybe it’s time to start playing a little.  Practice a few tunes.  I might even start a band!!!
  2. Skateboard more.  In 2014 I was rolling a hell of a lot more than the past few years.  But let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger.  I need to skate as much as I can while I can.  So whether I’m doing tricks or just cruising on the longboard, I intend to get out and skate.  Weather permitting.
  3. Buy some more hats.  Top of the list are a bowler hat; a sea captain’s hat and a Native American head dress.  I like hats.

So there you go – let’s see how those little goals I’ve set develop over the coming months.

Thanks again to all who read, follow and contribute to Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub.  I really do appreciate it!  Your comments and feedback make it all worthwhile.  So stick with me, there’s lots to come in 2015.  All the usual garbage you’d expect, plus possibly a few new areas too…

Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2015 – have a blast, everyone!

Seasonal drink: Snowball

If you’re still in a party mood – and who isn’t, with New Year’s Eve on the way? – here’s a recipe for a seasonal cocktail that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.  The festive season may be coming to an end, but this tipple is still a top recommendation.

The Snowball is well known, and can be made to your particular taste.  You may know the ingredients already, so consider this a reminder of a winter classic.

Why not pull up a chair at the Virtual Tiki Bar and ask Veronica, our Virtual Bar Attendant, to concoct one of these for you?  Made just how you like it. IMG_2740

Snowball

  • Advocaat
  • Vodka
  • Lime juice (cordial)
  • Lemonade
  • Ice

The amounts required for this drink depend on the drinker’s taste, and the size of glass used.  Experiment and adjust to your preference.

Add ice at first, then pour a small amount of lime cordial.  Throw in a shot of vodka – this can be substituted by brandy, if desired.

Pour in a big old dose of the Advocaat, then top up with lemonade.  Veronica was a bit sketchy on the measures, so just play around.  Mix with a stirrer and enjoy.

Drink responsibly!

Soundtrack: Christmas with the Rat Pack, or Ultra Lounge Christmas Cocktails (Vol I and II).

Drink of the Week: Monkey Wrench

Better hurry and mix this drink while you can – it’s an ideal summer refresher and there ain’t much summer left…

The Monkey Wrench is a popular warm weather tipple here at the Virtual Hot Tub.  Ask Veronica, the Virtual Barmaid, to throw one of these together for you – and join me in the tub for a soak. IMG_3137

Monkey Wrench

  • White rum
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Lemonade
  • Ice

Crush the ice and add to a tall glass.  Add two measures of white rum, then pour in the grapefruit juice.  Finally top up with lemonade and give it a stir.

Grapefruit juice can be a little sharp, but don’t worry if you’re not a fan – the lemonade can take the edge off.  Experiment with the quantities to achieve a taste you like.

Enjoy!

Soundtrack: “Monkey Wrench” by Foo Fighters.

American Beer – Cheers!

Despite the well stocked Virtual Tiki Bar here at the Virtual Hot Tub, it’s not that often that I actually drink cocktails.  When I’m soaking in the virtual warm water, in reality I usually drink beer.  So it’s about time I featured some beer on this blog.

I have grown to admire American beer over the last few years.  In particular, a few of the less obvious brands that are now turning up in the UK.

Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Back in 2000, I made my first visit to the United States of America, after wanting to travel there for a long time.  That first trip I was introduced to Samuel Adams Boston Lager.  It was love at first taste.  Unlike other American beers I was familiar with, Sam Adams has a full flavour.  Now available in supermarkets such as Tesco, Asda and Morrisons, this beer is highly recommended.  I was really happy to see this beer so readily available, it’s a definite favourite.

Visit the Samuel Adams web page here.

Another bottled beer that is now available on our shores is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.  This is a newer discovery for me, again it can be easily found in your local Tesco.  Sierra Nevada is no fizzy lager either, rather you’re going to experience a quality drink with character.

Visit the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale web page here.

Sierra Nevada - left, Brooklyn Lager - right

Sierra Nevada – left, Brooklyn Lager – right

Finally, we have Brooklyn Lager.  I’ve discovered this beer in the supermarkets; though now it is starting to appear in bars/restaurants, where it’s a great accompaniment to pulled pork burgers!  Described as an amber lager, this beer has a great flavour far removed from the typical US beers we’re often exposed to.  It’s easy to pick up in Tesco so give it a try – again, recommended.  If you’re lucky enough to find this beer on draught, treat yourself to a pint.  You can thank me later.

The web page for Brooklyn Brewery is here.

The USA is not a country famed for alcohol.  Prohibition?  What the hell is that all about?  And just what is a “light” beer anyway?  But these breweries are building on traditions that were long lost, delivering great tasting beer that is well worth investigating.

Iechyd Da, America!

Drink of the Week #3

Lemon, Lime & Bitters

This is another cocktail that may be of interest to anyone trying to be good and cut down on the booze at this time of year.  Technically this isn’t an alcohol free drink, as there is alcohol in Angostura bitters.  But you’ll only be using a tiny amount of that ingredient in this drink.

Lemon, Lime & Bitters 

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  • Lemonade
  • Lime cordial
  • Angostura bitters
  • Ice

Take a tall glass and pour in some lime cordial, enough as though you were making just a lime and water drink.  Then add the ice.

Next add the Angostura bitters – just add drop by drop.  Aim for a half to one full teaspoon full of bitters, and play around to see how you like the taste.  The bitters will affect both the taste and colour, so experimentation is key.

Finally, top the glass up with lemonade and stir.

Drink of the Week #2

Shirley Temple

Are you being good after indulging during Christmas?  Have you sworn off alcohol for a while, maybe even the whole of January?  If you have, but you’re after something more than a cup of tea, this one’s for you.

The Shirley Temple is a non-alcoholic cocktail, or mocktail, if you will.  The legend is that it was concocted in a Hollywood hotel for the then child star, and of course is alcohol free.  It’s a great drink to enjoy if you’re staying off the booze – the ritual of mixing a drink makes it seem special.  Plus it’s easy to make.

Shirley Temple IMG_2583

  • Grenadine
  • Sprite or 7Up
  • Ice

Pour a small measure of grenadine syrup into a glass.  Think of it as if you were making a cordial drink: the grenadine is the cordial which you will add to.  Of course you can experiment with the amount of grenadine to achieve the taste you like.  Add ice and pour in the Sprite/7Up.

Don’t forget – you could use diet versions of the Sprite or 7Up if you want a slightly healthier version…

Grenadine is easily available in supermarkets.  It’s not expensive and is a common ingredient in many other cocktails, so useful to have in your cupboard.

Soundtrack: The Aquabats! – “Hi-Five Soup!”

Christmas Drink of the Week

Chocolate Smarties

Also known as “Chocolate Orange” or “Christmas Smarties”, for some reason this great drink has become linked to the festive season for me.  I can’t remember now how I was first introduced to this tipple (if it was you, and you’re reading this, please remind me); but I’m sure you’ll love it if you try it.

Basically, what we have here is an alcoholic drink that tastes like chocolate orange.  If for some reason that doesn’t entice you, give this a go anyway – you may be pleasantly surprised. IMG_2721

Chocolate Smarties

  • Tia Maria
  • Orange juice
  • Ice

Take a standard tumbler (the glass in the picture is a typical pub half pint glass).  Pour in two measures of Tia Maria.  Add a few ice cubes, then top up with fresh orange juice (the carton type or some good old Britvic).  Enjoy!

Play around with the measure to get a taste you prefer.  You may like a single measure of Tia Maria, you may want more or less orange juice.  Feel free to experiment till you get the desired flavour.

Soundtrack: “Merry Christmas Everybody” – Slade.