ChemistryFoodMedicine

The Cueva Ruso Cocktail

IMG_1077 (600x800)As part of our fundraiser for SkepchickCON, I auctioned off three original cocktails. The follow post is for one of the winners, Data Jack. Thank for your generous contribution!

The Cueva Ruso (“Russian Cave” in Spanish) features homemade horchata and cinnamon vodka. Horchata is a beverage found all around the globe, but this version is similar to what you would find in Mexico and is made with rice, rice milk, sugar, and cinnamon.

Since cinnamon is the prominent flavor in this cocktail, I thought I’d look up a few facts about this popular spice. Cinnamon is the inner bark from a number of trees in the Cinnamomum family, and has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes since ancient times. It is still common in traditional medicine–according to Bug Girl, in China cinnamon is said to be good for “feminine complaints.” While there is no research backing up that particular claim, cinnamon, its extracts and compounds have been the subject of several recent studies and may be useful for helping type 2 diabetics control blood glucose levels, targeting colorectal carcinogenesis, and preventing Alzheimer’s.

 

While science works on ways to use cinnamon to improve our health, we’ll make cocktails. Here’s how to make the Cueva Ruso:

First, make the cinnamon vodka, since it needs some time to infuse. Take a cinnamon stick and crush it into pieces:

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Combine the crushed cinnamon stick and one cup of vodka in a jar. It will start to take on color almost immediately. Give it a shake, then store in a cool dark place for three to four days. This time allows the vodka to take on the flavor of the cinnamon.

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A day or so before you want to serve the cocktail, make the horchata. I followed this recipe from David Lebowitz, but reduced the cinnamon by half, since our vodka will be pretty potent, and used 3/4 cup of sugar.

It took several minutes of the food processor running to get the long-grain rice to where the large pieces were this size:

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At this point, I combined the ground rice with water and the cinnamon stick and put it in the fridge for eight hours, giving it the occasional shake. After eight hours, I took it out of the fridge, removed the cinnamon stick, and blended the mixture with a hand blender (but you could use a regular blender) until I got this mixture of granules:

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Next, I strained out the rice granules and whisked the sugar and rice milk into the rice water. Horchata!

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Take your cinnamon vodka from its hidey-hole and strain out the pieces of cinnamon stick. To make the Cueva Ruso, fill a rocks glass halfway with ice and add two ounces of your cinnamon vodka. Top that with four ounces of the horchata, give it a quick stir, and finish by grating some cinnamon over the top (or sprinkling on a pinch of ground cinnamon).

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Cheers! Thank you again to Data Jack for the contribution to our SkepchickCON fundraiser!

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Anne S

Anne S

Anne Sauer is an atheist with an appetite for science, good food, and making connections between the two. She is currently pursuing her MBA in Sustainable Management at Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. Her favorite foods are salted caramel ice cream and chicken tikka masala. You can find her on twitter @aynsavoy.

3 Comments

  1. July 4, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    So much awesome – I can’t wait to try it this weekend. Thank you Anne!!!

  2. July 9, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    That actually looks delicious. I have only had horchata once, but I really enjoyed it.

  3. July 9, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Thanks! I’ve found many of the horchatas I’ve tried at restaurants to be too sweet, but when you make it at home, you can adjust to your own tastes!

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