Saturday, January 21, 2017

negative space

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo CXV) was picked by Katie of the Garnish blog. The theme she chose was "Chocolate," and she elaborated on the choice with her description of, "I'm sorry to sabotage your well-intentioned New Year's resolutions to cut back on the booze and eat fewer sweets, but this month’s theme is... chocolate. When I think of chocolate and cocktails together, my mind still automatically conjures the image of a chocolate martini with a syrupy drizzle and a dollop of whipped cream, plucked right from the photo-laden menu of a classy establishment like Chili's or The Cheesecake Factory... My tastes have since evolved, and so has the role of chocolate in cocktails. Instead of creamy sugar bombs, bars are serving up crème de cacao classics like the 20th Century and Brandy Alexander, Boulevardiers made with cacao-nib infused Campari, and Oaxaca Old Fashioneds with mole bitters. Chocolate has found its way into serious cocktails, and I couldn't be happier about it. So this month, give in to your sweet tooth (or not) and see what you can do with a little chocolate! Chocolate liqueur, crème de cacao, chocolate bitters, cacao nibs, cocoa powder, cocoa tea... if it comes from the cacao plant, it's fair game."
I started looking around for a chocolate recipe for a few days, but I did not realize that I had one picked out. In the latest issue of Imbibe, there was a chocolate by way of crème de cacao drink from Maks Pazuniak of Brooklyn's Jupiter Disco. When I read the recipe, I shelved it without much thought until I bought a new bottle of sparkling wine. When I returned home from the liquor store with my bottle of blanc de blancs, I re-read the ingredients and realized that Maks' recipe would be perfect. I will always remember Maks as the one who made my first drink in New Orleans; that drink was the Art of Choke at the Cure. I also bought my copy of Rogue Cocktails from him, and after that got sued out existence and I acquired the two editions of Beta Cocktails from him in successive years. I was also pleased that he united with Al Sotack to open their own place in Brooklyn. I also met Al in New Orleans, but in the following room at the Art in the Age tasting room where he served me the Appalachian Flip. Enough with this trip down memory lane and on with the cocktail:
Negative Space
• 1/2 oz Suze Gentian Liqueur (Salers)
• 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
• 1/2 oz Crème de Cacao (Tempus Fugit)
• 1/4 oz Absinthe Blanc (Obsello)
• 1 drop Orange Blossom Water
Shake with ice and strain into a flute glass. Top with 3 oz prosecco (2 1/2 oz Willm Blanc de Blancs).
The Negative Space's nose first greeted me with anise aromas before I sank into the earthy chocolate ones. Next, the carbonated lemon and wine sip gave way to earthy-bitter gentian, chocolate, and herbal flavors on the swallow. Surprisingly, the absinthe here was rather gentle either due to the drink's recipe or my choice of absinthe. Also, the orange blossom water was a bit subtle at one drop, and increasing it to two did not help much. Overall, Andrea commented that this drink would be a perfect Valentine's Day cocktail! And definitely the gentian liqueur paired quite well with chocolate as it had in the Copper Canyon and the Zig Zag Wanderer.

Thank you to Katie for picking such an excellent theme as well as doing all the work to host this month! And thank you to all the participants, past and present, who have made this event a pleasure to be a part of. Cheers!

Friday, January 20, 2017

the search for deliciousness

2 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
15-21 drop Lemon Juice (18 drop)
6 dash Regan's Orange Bitters
1 pinch Sea Salt (Baline)

Build in a rocks glass 1/8th rimmed with salt and stir with ice. Garnish with lemon oil from 5 twists and insert the last peel skin side in.
Before leaving for my work shift two Fridays ago, I had already decided to make The Search for Deliciousness by The Cure's Kirk Estopinal from 2011's Beta Cocktails. I had recently thought about the drink when I found the post for Will Thompson's The Search for The Cure that he made for me at Drink. I believe that I never made the original from the book for it reminded me a bit too much of the Little Giuseppe, but I felt it was worth giving the recipe a try if only to revisit the delightful flavor combination. Once constructed, The Search for Deliciousness presented a grand lemon aroma from the quintet of twists' worth of oil. Next, a caramel and grape sip gave way to minty herbal and orange flavors on the swallow. Overall, the pinch of salt killed the bitterness from the Cynar and Punt e Mes but still allowed their herbal notes to come through.

nordic toddy

1 oz Baska Snaps Malort
1 oz Old Ipswich Tavern Style Rum
1/2 oz Grade A Molasses
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup

Build in a pre-heated ~8 oz mug. Top with 4-5 oz boiling water, stir to mix, and garnish with a floated star anise pod.
My drink of the day two Fridays ago was a riff on Jerry Thomas' 1862 Black Stripe recipe that was originally two ounces Santa Cruz rum and a tablespoon of molasses. Thomas' The Bartender's Guide gave the option of serving the drink with shaved ice or filling the tumbler with boiling water and garnishing with nutmeg. I took to the hot path as I did with my apple brandy riff the Black Limbertwig Toddy, and I split the original's rum with an equal portion of Malort. To balance the Malort's bitterness, I added demerara syrup to the mix, and I changed the garnish to a floated star anise pod instead of the nutmeg. One comment was that the combination reminded them of salted black licorice with its savory herbal essence.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

dashboard hula girl

1 1/2 oz Plantation Stiggins' Fancy Pineapple Rum
3/4 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
3/4 oz Averna

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with flamed orange oil from a twist.
After my work shift two Thursdays ago, I went with my co-workers up the street to Trina's Starlite Lounge for a nightcap. For a drink, I asked bartender Nabanita Nag for the Dashboard Hula Girl. Nabanita explained how this was created by Tainah Soares as a tribute to the old band that one of the Parlor Sports' bartenders was in; moreover, a little research discovered that the drink was first placed on the menu with pineapple-infused El Dorado 12 Year Rum and Amaro Montenegro before the recipe switched to Plantation and Averna. Once mixed, the Dashboard Hula Girl gave forth orange and nutty aromas with a dark note from the Averna and perhaps the rum. Next, grape and caramel on the sip stepped aside to rum, pineapple, nutty, and herbal flavors on the swallow.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

abandon ship!

2 1/4 oz Appleton 12 Year Rum (Appleton Reserve)
3/4 oz Aperol
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice (Cara Cara)
1 oz BG Reynold's Don's Mix (*)
3/4 oz Orgeat
3 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a hollowed pineapple shell (Tiki mug), and fill with crushed ice. Float a boat made out of a lime shell, cinnamon stick mast, and 1/2 star anise sail (lemon peel sail); pour 1 oz Wray & Nephew Overproof White Rum (Rum Fire) into the boat, and light on fire.
(*)  Or use two parts grapefruit juice (2/3 oz) to one part cinnamon syrup (1/3 oz).

Two Wednesdays ago, I found a recipe posted by TikiWahine on the BarNotes app for an interesting Tiki drink called the Abandon Ship! The recipe was crafted by Felix Fernandez at Tiki Kon's 2014 Iron Tiki Tender event, and it seemed like an intriguing set of fruit flavors matched by spice. And the concept of a flaming ship garnish did not hurt. I had previously done a flaming pirate ship using a citrus shell, peels, and, toothpicks, but the idea of smouldering spices seemed intriguing. Unfortunately, I could not locate the star anise jar at home, so I opted for a lemon peel sail here.
The 126 proof rum was slightly difficult to get lit, but soon after it caught, it made a candlewick out of the cinnamon stick. The fire was so bright that it made photography a bit challenging here. After the fire was extinguished, the funky rum from the lime shell and the smouldering cinnamon filled the air. I ended up dumping in the Rum Fire as a float, although mixing it in after a few sips would have been a good idea since the first taste at the end that was mostly this elixir was a bit of a change up. Next, the sip was rather citrus driven with lime, orange, and grapefruit notes coming together quite well with the fruit notes in the Aperol, and the swallow gave forth rum, grapefruit, nutty, and cinnamon flavors.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

frank's cocktail

1 1/2 oz Cognac (Camus VS)
1 1/2 oz White Port (Ramos Pinto)
1 tsp Grenadine or Maraschino (1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino)
3 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.

In David Wondrich's 2016: A Year in Drinks article on the DailyBeast, he listed a simple but elegant Cognac cocktail he made at home in his list of memorable drinks that he had around the world. The recipe was the Frank's Cocktail crafted by Frank Newman who was tending bar in Paris where he published a cocktail book called the American Bar in French. The unusual ingredient here is the white port that comes across as soft, sweet, and soothing all without masking the main spirit's flavor, and it is best known for being the flavor complement in the Clubland. In Newman's 1900 edition, the drink appeared with a dash of grenadine, but the Maraschino option in his 1904 edition was the one that called out to me two Tuesdays ago.
The Frank's Cocktail greeted the senses with lemon oil, Cognac aromas, and a hint of nutty cherry on the nose. Next, a very smooth and clean white grape flavor filled the sip, and the swallow offered Cognac and nutty Maraschino notes smoothed out by the white port.

Monday, January 16, 2017

norwegian paralysis

1 1/2 oz Orange Juice (Cara Cara)
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Demerara Syrup
1 1/2 oz Aquavit (Aalborg)

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass, and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge speared with a paper umbrella (orange twists).

Two Mondays ago, my thirst led me to the Smuggler's Cove book where I was lured in by their riff on the Polynesian Paralysis from 1971 that they sourced from Beachbum Berry's Remixed. The major issue with the original is that it calls for the Hawaiian spirit okolehao which can be hard to source on the mainland; Berry recommends Bourbon as a substitute here. Instead, Smuggler's Cove swapped the spirit to aquavit as well as halved the volumes to something more reasonable for one person. Aquavit has had good success in Tiki drinks such as the Port of Göteborg and the Viking Fog Cutter, so I was definitely game to try this out.
The Norwegian Paralysis proffered a citrus and caraway bouquet that preceded a lemon, orange, and pineapple sip. The swallow led in with caraway and other aquavit botanicals as well a hint of nutty from the orgeat and ended with a pineapple finish.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

alto california

2 oz Siembra Azul Blanco Tequila (Avion)
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1/2 scant oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/4 tsp Cinnamon Syrup (1/4 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
After my shift two Sundays ago, I reached for the Death & Co. Cocktail Book for liquid salvation. The recipe that called out to me was Alex Day's 2009 Alta California which reminded me of an agave Alaska-Puritan. I misread the 1/4 tsp and added a full 1/4 oz of cinnamon syrup here, but my latest batch of that syrup is not that potent, so the effect save for the syrup was perhaps similar. In the glass, the Alta California presented agave with herbal notes to the nose. Next, honey and white wine on the sip transitioned into a tequila and lightly herbal swallow with a cinnamon finish.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

pondo punch

3 oz Puerto Rican Rum (Caliche)
1/2 oz Curaçao (Van der Hum)
1/4 oz Grenadine
1 oz Orange Juice (Cara Cara)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a 14 oz glass with 3 oz soda water, and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with sliced fruits in season (orange slice).
After my New Year's Eve shift at Loyal Nine, I wanted to relax with something tropical so I reached for Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink (1981 edition of the 1946 original). There, I spotted the Pondo Punch that Vic described as, "We used to drink these on the Borneo Coast. Pondo, our Filipino boy, concocted this drink. It's a nice drink before sundown, and after four of them, keep away from open flames." The recipe is denoted with a symbol listing it as a Trader Vic original, but he attributed the history to someone else in the recipe description. The text did not allude to what stupidity occurred after drinking 4 of these, but one was mighty potent besides the 14 ounces of booze that would be in the quartet. Once prepared, the punch shared an orange aroma that led into a carbonated orange and lemon sip and a rum-driven swallow. Overall, the drink was a pleasant Rum Collins, and perhaps a more flavorful rum as well as upping the curaçao, grenadine, and tart citrus might help to give the drink a bit more character.