Cholula Tequila & Lime Review

A while back, Cholula hot sauce launched a new “special” hot sauce, Tequila and Lime. At the time, they asked how you would use it in a brunch and I put together what I thought was a decent entry. And I waited, and waited, and waited for anyone in Indianapolis to stock it. As far as I can check, no one ever did.

So, recently, I broke down and ordered it online. There were a couple of places i looked that had decent recommendations. One admitted they were out. The other appeared to indicate they had it, so I ordered from them. It wasn’t immediately, but they got in touch and admitted that they didn’t have it. Got my money back and did something I haven’t done for more than three years: order from Amazon. Decided to get more than one bottle, which was lucky as the packing was crappy (one bottle not even given a token cover of bubble wrap) and the mailer (not box) had apparently had a rough trip. Down one bottle at the start (broken), and Amazon said too bad, no replacement and no refund. Let’s see if I can avoid using them for six years at least this time…

That adventure aside, I immediately tasted the product. While the hot sauce blend is the base, you also immediately get the bright notes of the tequila on the upper side of the palate for a well-balanced taste. Yes, it does go well with eggs, and I’m experimenting a bit with different dishes and uses.

Above, I added a bit to a classic margarita (Cointreau, lime juice, silver tequila, pinch of black Hawaiian salt). A tasty add that didn’t overwhelm the drink. I really want to try it in a Bloody Mary and in a Bloody Maria.

I used a bit this morning with a corned beef dish (likely another post) and it went very well with it. After tasting it however, I think I should revise my brunch menu a bit. Thinking buffet brunch here.

Scrambled eggs, of course, with some of the sauce on top or a bottle there for people to decide how much to add. Soft-boiled eggs (do the health nazis even allow these any more?) open, and a dash blended into each egg, with a shot of reposado on the side. Eggs Benedict two different ways: a more traditional version that incorporates the hot sauce into the hollandaise, using concha (a Mexican sweet bread) as the base; and, the other using a Mexican corn bread base, covered with chorizo with the hot sauce added on top, cheese, egg, and the special hollandaise. Chicken and waffles with the chicken marinated in the hot sauce for at least 8 hours, longer if possible, then dredged and fried, and served with a tequila-agave nectar reduction in place of syrup or gravy; though, one should allow the guests an option of pan gravy from the frying with both hot sauce and some silver tequila blended in. For those wanting more lunch, some form of barbacoa incorporating the hot sauce, and maybe a nice white-fish ceviche with hot sauce as well. For drinks, Bloody Mary, Bloody Maria, hot traditional margarita, and a hot fruity margarita. Not really into the latter, so would need to research.

So, it was worth the adventure to get and I see a number of uses for it. Won’t be my everyday as I want to make what I have last, but it will get regular use. If you are into tasty hot sauces (and not just heat), recommended.

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CINCPAC Special Review

I took my half-batch (half gallon) of CINCPAC Special to the club for a tasting this last weekend. The club is not an NCO or similar; rather, a private club in a bar that the proprietor has built. In some ways, just a group of people who like to get together once a week and talk music, movies, and more while enjoying a beverage and maybe a pipe or cigar. It is an interesting mix and you never are quite sure who is going to show up.

The basic responses break down as follows. The Bartender: NOT ACCORDING TO ORIGINAL RECIPE, NO BARBED WIRE, NOT ROUGH ENOUGH, RAR RAR RAR. The Proprietor: This is good. This is dangerous. Can you make a batch for the bar? The rest of the participants liked it to varying degrees.

General takes: Aging really brought out the sweetness, and while I had been careful to add simple syrup only until I could just taste the sweetness, it really came out with aging. For some, a little too sweet while for others about perfect. Aging also really brought out the flavors of the Tahitian vanilla bean. Some really liked it, again some not quite as much. Served over ice, really quite good. With the possible exception of the Bar Tender, none would turn it down.

Personal observations. This was a wartime recipe, and one used what one could get in the way of bourbon. I think using a stronger or rougher bourbon, or maybe even a good rye, would work well as part of the mix. Over ice it is delicious as is, though I plan to cut back a bit on the sugar/simple syrup when refilling the jug. It is indeed dangerous, as it does not taste that alcoholic despite being about 99 percent alcohol.

If you want something closer to an “authentic” Old Fashioned where it was made by a mad bartender in a mushroom ring in the forest at the dark of the moon muttering invective as they muddle fruit rind and sugar while wearing a pink tutu, twist some orange zest over the glass and drop it in before pouring in the mix. With that, or some orange bitters, it really pops. Frankly, I like both with and without the orange, though with the orange it is closer to the fancy recipe.

Another thing I will note. This was something meant to be drunk, though I would love to do some aging experiments. Not sure the original ever got to age all that much and it apparently was refilled on the fly. So, since a dent got put in this batch, I plan to refill using something a bit stronger and to cut back on the simple syrup by about half. I would like it just a little less sweet and let the bourbon and vanilla flavors come out more.

Per before, this is (IMO) a solid base for an Old Fashioned from the start. My personal tastes are that aging makes it better (unless you have to have only barbed wire, razor blades, and saw blades in the profile) and provides a rich and complex taste. The Tahitian bean is adding fruit and chocolate notes to it (again, IMO) and I really like what it adds.

In short, a great drink to pour over ice, sit down, and SIP. If you want to play a bit, drink down and then try different bourbons or even ryes to bring it back up again. That could really kick things up. Enjoy.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.


For the history buffs, and all of us who like a good drink, I decided to make up a batch of Admiral Nimitz’s CINCPAC Special. Well, a half batch as finding a good gallon jar at a reasonable price just didn’t happen. Yes, a full batch is a gallon. I did find some half-gallon canning jars however, and so a half batch was born.

This is the recipe that was posted, and while most Old Fashioned recipes feature citrus, there are some that only use it as a garnish. This recipe omits all reference to garnish, which could be a reflection of wartime reality. The vanilla bean is an interesting choice, and I chose a top-grade Tahitian vanilla bean for the rich, fruity, and complex flavors. It’s my preferred choice for making my own vanilla extract, which is easy and far better than store bought.

I really wanted to make it with Corncrackers Green Label Indiana Whiskey; but, it appears the brand may be no more. If I ever find anymore of it, I will buy it as it had a great flavor and price point. After giving it some more thought, I elected to go with Evan Williams for the 48 ounces of bourbon, and I used 3.5 ounces of Ron Abuelo for the gold label rum. Gold rum has been barrel-aged to some extent, which gives it the gold color. Jonn at This Ain’t Hell introduced me to this excellent rum a while back. Also, I used approximately 4 ounces of simple syrup in place of sugar. Didn’t measure the water, it didn’t take much though I did use distilled as the jug of it I have for making coffee was right there.

The good CDR Salamander put together this chart to help with making different amounts. I converted quarts to ounces just for my own ease. What we tried at the club one Sunday for an individual drink was to coat the inside of the glass with the rum, about 2 ounces of bourbon I think, and literal drops of simple syrup and orange bitters. Didn’t have any vanilla extract at the bar, or would have tried this suggestion.

Let me note that this was good to drink from the start. That said, it has aged a bit over a week now and it has made a difference. The sweetness from the simple syrup is more pronounced, and I think I may cut back a bit on it in the future, even though I only put in enough to just taste it at the start. The flavors from the vanilla bean are really starting to come out and I see why he added them. It pairs well with the bourbon and is adding some richness and complexity.

We are going to sample this batch at the club next Sunday (or at least that’s the current plan), and I’m really curious to see how the flavors have changed. For me, it went from a fairly standard and solid Old Fashioned base to something much more interesting. Really tempted to do another batch, hide it, and see what you get with a few months of aging.

More soon I hope. May your week be a good one.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

If Interested

For those who might be interested:

A partial list of Anheuser-Busch/InBev brands: Budweiser, Bud variants, Michelob, Rolling Rock, Busch, Shock Top, Natural, Johnny Appleseed, Landshark, Goose Island, Blue Point, 10 Barrel, Elysian Brewing, Golden Road, Four Peaks, Breckenridge, Devil’s Backbone, Karbach, Wicked Weed, King Cobra, and Hurricane. There are others, and minority ownership in a number of companies. Remember, knowing is half the battle. 

This graphic was posted on Twitter and checks out so far.

Thanksgiving Dinner

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Even if I could have afforded it, I would not have done the “traditional” meal yesterday. First, it’s just me and the traditional meal is a bit much even with how much I enjoy eating. Second, it’s a labor of love that needs to be shared. The last time I cooked the full meal was for a military unit, and it wasn’t that much more effort and ingredients than some past family gatherings.

Besides, I do try to keep Keto though I did go off it yesterday rather thoroughly. Most of my favorites growing up don’t qualify these days: rice and gravy, sweet potato casserole with pecan crust, a green congealed salad with cream cheese and pecans, and the stuffing. I do miss a good pecan pie, and while she was not a part of the Thanksgiving crowd, my cousin Ann was a baker who could hold her own against some professional chefs, and her pies and cakes were amazing.

Also, I have to admit, that after the lightning strike and all that happened, I don’t eat as much as I used to. Even a normal meal can make me feel bloated and uncomfortable for hours. Dinner can be as much a snack as anything else these days.

So, I opted for a full meal but with reduced portions. I have salmon in the freezer because I needed a couple of portions a while back for a recipe, which meant I had to get a package of the thankfully individually shrink-wrapped portions. Salmon was a luxury growing up, a rarity, and I will have to give my mother props for her salmon croquettes. I don’t think I had fresh salmon until I was in high school. So, luxury meat I bought when prices were much, much better it is. Grilled with a smokey bourbon glaze.

At the doctor’s recommendation after the open heart surgery, I went off Keto a bit and discovered I don’t miss a lot of the standard carbs. Exceptions are pecan waffles, mashed potatoes (real is better than instant, but…), and crackers and corn chips. Since I had decided to have a waffle for breakfast, I opted to go for mashed cauliflower instead of potato. With additional butter and cheese, not bad and filled that spot. Did cheat and buy it on sale.

The veggie was another treat from childhood, asparagus. Rare treat growing up was canned asparagus (you almost never saw fresh in the store back then) with mayo. Bit of dill maybe. So, Aldi had some fresh in and on sale, and while I prefer to grill, our little porch grill is not good for that. So, I did a sautee with a bit of white wine, butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and a hint of smoked paprika.

I had a can of the green ripe olives in the emergency stash. Growing up, the black ripe olives were a huge hit with pretty much everyone. Not sure if it is true, but heard a tale of one alleged adult getting into a fist fight with two or three of the toddlers, and not coming out ahead. I may or may not have been one of the toddlers involved. Toddlers tend to punch out and up. Male or female adult groins are quite sensitive and make a good target. Enough said. For all that I do still enjoy the black olives, I found the tree-ripened olives many years back and have not looked back. Amazing flavor. Second major comfort food niche filled.

For those who want to try it, the glaze for the salmon is easy to do. In a bowl, I put a dollop (precise measurements people, precise measurements!) of raw local honey, about a half a teaspoon of bourbon, a couple of drops of lime juice, chipotle, smoked salt, fresh ground pepper, and a bit of hot smoked paprika. Don’t drink? Leave the bourbon out. Want to double down on the smokey flavor? Use a good Islay Scotch instead. Mix well, place on top of the salmon, and cook. Yesterday, I fashioned a container around the salmon with aluminum foil to ensure that when the glaze melted it stuck around to give max flavor.

Desert was a slice of Key Lime Pie. It was okay, though I wish I could have gotten it from Publix, as that chain does amazing Key Lime pies! The white wine I used with the asparagus was not quite a two-buck-chuck, but close enough that I had wondered if it would even be good. It was, with some wonderful citrus notes that worked well with the asparagus and tasted good when drinking. Pro Tip: if you would not drink the wine, do not cook with it. Later, I did have some bourbon as I relaxed in my chair.

So, I hope your day was filled with love as well as good and tasty things. I got started on my giving thanks ahead of time as on the day things can get hectic.

Oh, and nice thing about my meal was that I had everything prepared and cooked in right around an hour. Clean-up took maybe 15-30 minutes. Not bad for Thanksgiving.

Pro Tip On Airpots

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Edited to add information

That I should have listened to. Back about three years ago, I bought an airpot coffee dispenser. Yeah, I’m one of “those types” who hand grinds each morning, uses a French Press and distilled water, puts in a pinch of smoked salt, and used to time things very precisely. These days, given the short-term memory issues, I’m a lot more flexible even with a timer, and it is fun to explore how flavors change with time.

Anyway, the air pot was looking a bit grody inside (and out thanks to the local water that is a liquid state of limestone) so I decided to clean it. I avoid soap on most things involved with my coffee because the surfactants in modern dish soap can be a pain to deal with. The directions actually say not to use soap inside, but to use some bleach water in it once a month. Three years, one month, whats the difference?

Turns out, I’m going to make a note on the calendar to start doing it once a month. I suspect a lot of it is the plumbing that got cleaned out good and not the lining, but yes there is a difference in taste and looks.

Oh, by the way, while it is something I’ve seen mostly in Navy types, if you really want to make friends and be appreciated by senior NCOs and Navy Chiefs, wash their coffee mugs for them (those not welded onto hands that is). Or even just rinse them good. You will be amazed at the response.

On a more serious note, one of the best ways to clean a regular coffee pot is to do like good restaurants and coffee shops: ice and salt. Lots of both, swirl around, and you will be surprised at how fast it cleans the inside and you don’t have to worry about any soap being left inside. Hard water? Add vinegar to the mix. It is a good thing to run vinegar through a coffee machine in hard water areas if not using distilled water, cleans and disinfects at the same time.


If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

The Healthiest Cup Of Coffee?

Okay, I admit it: I am both a coffee addict and a bit of a coffee snob. So much so that I want to get back to roasting my own coffee again as soon as I can. FYI, I roast in a wok over a propane burner, which is easy and inexpensive. I then use a french press as I find it gives the best flavor overall. I drink for taste, and while most days I go just for that, there are days where I do consider the notes in the flavor.

Over at Instapundit, I came across this article, which led to this study. I found it interesting because I already know that some things do effect my lipid tests (and I avoid them before the draw so as to get an accurate reading). That something else might be causing some variations is something I’ve wondered about.

So, I found a pour-over system half off and bought it. For the last few days, I’ve been making my coffee as normal (fresh ground beans in the french press), then filtering through the pour-over. No idea on lipids yet, but I will say that I was surprised at all that the filter caught. I also was surprised to find that, to my palate, it improved the flavor of the coffee. It will be interesting to see how the next bag (different brand and flavor) does, and if it also has an improved flavor. In a couple of months, when I have the next test, we will see if there is any change in the cholesterol or other lipids.

Some food for thought that might affect your tasty drink…

A New Old Twist On Whiskey Sours

A few years ago, at an establishment that is sadly no more, I began getting exposed to truly old-fashioned mixed drinks. The establishment was themed around prohibition, and the bar tender took great pride is using not just the finest ingredients but the recipes and techniques in use before Prohibition.

Recently, I’ve been researching on my own as I want to explore the world of the original mixed drinks; and, to adapt where needed for my ketogenic lifestyle. That I end up putting my own little twist on things is a given.

The original mixed drinks were not simply alcohol delivery vehicles designed to hide the taste of the alcohol and get someone drunk fast (which is, sadly IMO, a hallmark of far too many modern mixed drinks). They were designed to complement the flavors of the components even as they merged into something unique.

I’ve been playing around with several, and am now happy with my recipe for a good whiskey sour. All I will say of the bourbon used is that one should use something with bite and flavor — I don’t recommend smooth and mild for this drink.

Start by making a simple syrup out of raw honey. One part raw (crystalized even) honey to one part water. Simmer over low heat until melted and everything is hanging together. Chill before use and keep refrigerated. It will keep for 4-6 weeks they say. Since I’ve made small amounts, none has lasted long enough to test shelf life.

Then, use a fork (or whisk) to beat some egg white. You don’t need a huge amount, but I like to use 1-3T. Yes, you read that right, beaten egg white. It has a bit of richness and a touch of texture to the drink.

The recipe is simple:

In a cocktail shaker, mix:

4 measures of bourbon

1 measure honey simple syrup

.5 (or a bit more) measure of key lime juice

Dash (or three) of orange bitters

1-3T beaten egg whites

Add an ice cube or two and shake for 20-30 seconds and pour into glasses. Makes enough for two nice drinks. To garnish, I use some good maraschino cherries that I’ve been soaking in bourbon for about six weeks or longer. Yes, good ones are expensive, but worth it. If you ever find the real deal out of Croatia, grab them…