COCALERO

"Kid--the next time I say, 'Let's go some place like Bolivia,' let's go someplace like Bolivia." -Butch Cassidy

Do not worry Cocalero will not cause you to fail a drug test. This spirit uses coca leaves as one of its 17 ingredients, and it provides the spirit with its name. Cocaleros is the name used for people who grow and harvest coca leaves in Bolivia. With the specialized steam distillation process you get the flavor of the leaf without the effects of cocaine.


The Cocalero distillery in La Paz, Bolivia is the highest distillery in the world. Cocalero incorporates 17 ingredients that grow in Bolivia including coca, guarana, green tea, and ginseng. To extract the flavor of the coca leaves and other ingredients, Cocalero uses a steam distillation used to make some perfumes.


Cocalero first intrigues with it's neon green color. Even though the color borders on unnatural, the spirit is refreshing and crisp. With the first sip a touch of mint comes through across the palate. As the taste finishes, notes of ginger and lavender come through.


Cocalero lends a minty freshness to your cocktails. You can use it as a substitute for most drinks that call for crème de menthe. Try adding it to a margarita or mojito for some extra pep.

 

THIRST AND HUNGER


Twist on a Classic: Grasshopper

I had never tasted or made a grasshopper before deciding to use it as the twist on a classic. I made two side by side, one with Cocalero and one with creme de menthe. I preferred the Cocalero as it tasted lighter, less syrupy, and less artificial. This drink makes an excellent dessert.

For the drink:

-1 oz Cocalero (or substitute creme de menthe)

-1 oz creme de cacao (Tempus Fugit)

-1 oz heavy cream


Garnish:

Mint sprig


Glass:

Coupe


Combine the drink ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for 10 seconds. Pour into a glass using a Hawthorne strainer and fine mesh strainer. Garnish.


Something Original: Kentucky Mint

I was very uncertain about this drink before I took a sip. I imagined it would be to weird and unbalanced. Surprisingly, I loved it. The mint combined with the depth of the bourbon, spice of the ginger, and freshness of the ruby grapefruit juice illuminated my taste buds.

For the drink

-1 1/2 oz bourbon

-3/4 oz Cocalero

-3/4 oz fresh grapefruit juice

-1/2 oz ginger simple syrup


Garnish:

Grapefruit peel


Glass:

Rocks glass


Combine the drink ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for 10 seconds. Pour into a glass using a Hawthorne strainer and fine mesh strainer. Garnish.

Eat Your Spirit: Cocalero Mint Chocolate Chip Mochi

Cocalero mint chococlate chip mochi probably required the most work and time of any food recipe I have put on the site. I made a mint chocolate chip ice cream with Cocalero from scratch then made the mochi. Total time including preparation that required the initial freezing of my Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment was about 72 hours. Luckily, I found it worthwhile. I wanted to make mochi for a long time and finally found an excuse.

For the ice cream:

1 3/4 cups heavy cream

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1/3 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of white sugar

6 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp mint extract

3 tbsp Cocalero

-1/3 cup chocolate chips(choose dark, milk, or whatever chocolate you prefer)


For the mochi:

-100 g Mochiko sweet rice flower

-50 g granulated sugar

-3/4 cup water

-Green food coloring if desired

-Cornstarch or potato starch for dusting


Ice Cream:

-If using a Kitchen Aid ice cream maker, put the bowl attachment in the freezer at least 24 hours ahead of when you will mix the ice cream.

-Place two 9X13 or similarly sized metal pans in the freezer.

-Mix the heavy cream, milk, corn syrup, salt, and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar in a metal saucepan hand heat over medium until it reaches 175 degrees, stirring frequently.

-While the cream mixture is heating, whisk the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar together.

-When the cream mixture has reached 175 degrees take it off the heat and scoop out 1 cup.

-Slowly pour the cup into the bowl with the egg yolks and sugar while whisking.

-Once combined, pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the cream mixture and put the pan back on the heat, until it reaches 180 degrees. Stir frequently.

-Once the final temperature is scoop out 1 cup and pour into a smaller bowl. Allow each bowl to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes then cover each bowl with plastic wrap.

-Place the small bowl in the freezer and large bowl in the fridge.

-After a minimum of four hours, remove the bowls from the refrigerator and freezer. Add the vanilla and mint extracts and 3 tablespoons of Cocalero to the large bowl that was in the fridge.

-Scrape the frozen mixture from the small bowl into the large bowl and mix until the frozen mixture is incorporated and melted.

-Start your ice cream maker and pour in the ice cream base. Churn until the ice cream has reached the desired creaminess, about 25 minutes. In the last two minutes add the chopped chocolate chips.(It may take slightly longer than other ice creams as the alcohol in the Cocaleros slows the freezing process).

-Once churned, scoop into the two metal pans from the freezer and spread evenly. Then put a layer of plastic wrap over the pans and ensure the plastic wrap is pressed down on the ice cream.

-Place the two tins in the freezer.

-For best results with the mochi, allow the ice cream to harden in the freezer for about twelve hours


Mochi:

-In a microwave safe bowl, whisk the mochiko flour and sugar together.

-Add the water and whisk until combined. It will be a sticky paste.

-Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for one minute. Then remove and stir.

-You will do this two more times, so you microwave for three minutes total. However, if you want to use food coloring, add it before the final minute and stir enough to incorporate.

-On a silpat or piece of parchment paper, layout a generous dusting of cornstarch or potato starch in about a 12X16 rectangle.

-Dump your mochiko mixture on to it dust that and your rolling pin with starch.

-Roll into a 12X16 rectangle at about 1/4 inch thickness, liberally adding more starch when needed. IT IS STICKY!

-Slide your silpat or parchment paper onto a metal baking tray and put in the fridge for 30 minutes

-While this is chilling, perpare about 10 normal sized scoops of ice cream and reserve in the fridge. I had about enough mochi dough for 10 finished mochi.

-After 30 minutes, remove the dough from the fridge and dust off the starch with a pastry brush.

-Using a 4 inch circular cookie or biscuit cutter punch out the dough. Working one at a time take a scoop from the fridge, place it in the middle of a round, and pull the dough up and around ice cream pressing all the pieces you pulled together in one spot.

-Repeat till finished.

-I found reserving each one separately in cling wrap the best way to preserve them.

 

BOLIVIA: LA PAZ

This post, like others about regions I have not been to, means this section of the post is a little different. While I have not been to Bolivia, this is an assortment of places I would like to visit and food and drink I want to have.


Attractions:

-The national folklore museum provides a window into Bolivian culture.

-Stay in luxury at the Atix hotel.

-See La Paz from the cable cars that span the city.

-Hike the eerie Valley of the Souls.

-Visit the Witch Market in La Paz.


Food and Drink:

-An internationally renowned cafe.

-The owners of Noma opened a restaurant, Gustu, in La Paz.

-Go vegetarian at Ali Pacha.



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