Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Drinks: Banana Bourbon Shake

Making progress on this week's task well enough. So well, in fact, that we had time to play around with the blender before dinner tonight.

Made two versions, both good in their own way. The first was for our guests, and the second was to try to refine the recipe while I had all the ingredients out. Do please note the different serving sizes.

Banana Bourbon Shake #1
  • 2 just-ripe bananas (~8.0 ounces)
  • 16 oz. vanilla frozen yogurt
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 8 oz. milk
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Blend. Makes three 12 oz servings. 

Banana Bourbon Shake #2
  • 1 just-ripe banana (~4.0 ounces)
  • 4 oz. frozen yogurt
  • 1 oz. bourbon
  • 2 oz. milk
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Blend. Makes 1 12 oz serving. 

So, how are they different? Well, let's go to the pie charts!

What? It's going to be helpful, I promise. Here's the first one:

What's important to look at here are two things: the strength of the flavor and whether the ingredient is going to thicken or thin the drink. Frozen yogurt and milk are the weakest in terms of flavor, banana is a bit stronger, with the bourbon being the strongest. I'm omitting the nutmeg from this, since it's in such a small volume. In terms of thickening, it's a little more complicated.

Not only is the banana going to thicken the shake, but it's going to do it regardless of the final temperature of the drink. The same can't be said for the frozen yogurt--if it doesn't stay cold, most of the thickness that the froyo brings to the party are going to dissipate. Milk isn't as thin as water, but it's still on the "thin" side of the spectrum. Not only is the bourbon the thinnest, but the alcohol will work to break down the ice formed in the frozen yogurt, so even if it stays cool, it's going to take away body from the texture of the drink.

So what did we end up with here? The consistency of a very thick milk drink. The flavors were pretty mild all around and very balanced, with everyone agreeing it had a certain "egg nog-iness" to it (mostly due to the nutmeg, I think). The alcohol content was low (2/3 of an ounce of bourbon per drink), and so the bourbon flavors were present without being overwhelming, and worked really well with the subtle vanilla of the frozen yogurt. All in all, a great little cold drink for someone who doesn't want to get drunk.

Let's compare to our second iteration.

Two big changes here to the ratios we're looking at. The first drink was only a quarter banana--this one is a third, and it definitely showed. The added banana came at the expense of the frozen yogurt (which hadn't added major flavor the first time around), and the milk. It had a thick but very smooth texture to it, much more like a smoothie than the first one. It held a certain amount of froth all the way through, though the banana flavor didn't overwhelm.

The bourbon also increased in a big way, though it's still not enough to get you drunk. However, while the first drink had a lot of flavor notes from the bourbon (helped by the nutmeg and vanilla), there wasn't any doubt with BBS #2 that you were drinking something with hard liquor in it.

In the end, while neither one was particularly strong (as it should be when it comes to blended fruit drinks), BBS #1 was much lighter and more delicate, whereas both the flavor and thickness of the second stepped up a notch. Interestingly, I'd think it's probably easier to consume more alcohol with #1, since it's so much lighter in your mouth and stomach.

In either event, I know what I'm going to be mixing up first thing this summer. 

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