Tuesday, June 30, 2009

OK, so here we go....

FI'll be honest, this is a little strange. I think about the guys and gals whom I respect that publish the nuts and bolts of their work and I pause. As I finish my last beer of the night and as I hammer at the keys trying to articulate exactly where we are coming from, I think of what a good friend once told me, "Progress, not perfection." With that in mind, here is our first installment.

Tonight Corey and I visited Cynthia at 1022 South. We talked on the walk over about how I am full of ideas for aggressive or odd flavors as I bartend the opening shifts, but I rarely have the opportunity to express them. I usually want to experiment (such as riffing on Morgenthaler's Norwegian Wood - we used Krogstad Aquavit, Calvados, Punt e Mes, and experimented with yellow Chartreuse and Strega), but the opportunity is limited. So tonight, we were the guinea pigs.

Tonight we started with a riff on a cocktail called the 2 by Sweet (details manana). I have not stocked creme de cacao or any other chocolate liqueur, so here's our version:
2 reposado tequila
.5 Cynar
.5 simple syrup
2 drops of chocolate extract
drop of Angostura
egg white (powdered)
Cynthia shook the drink then dropped a touch of bitters on top. It was damn fine cocktail...

Next was a riff on the Honeysuckle cocktail that did not end up quite so awesome. Now, just so we are clear, we have a variation on the Corpse Reviver No. 2:
3/4 gin
3/4 Barenjager
3/4 lemon
3/4 Lillet
1/4 Pacifque absinthe
lil bit cayenne
Shaken and strained. Floated with a serrano pepper wheel.

Given the flavor profile of this cocktail, anything with cayenne, citrus, and an anise liqueur falls in the same general family. We ran a special over the weekend on what was a essentially a spicy caipirinha sweetened with Falernum and agave nectar and people commented on the resemblance with only two of the three components.

So, on to the Honeysuckle riff. I wanted to stay away from the anise/citrus/cayenne pairing and I have had success with a rum/honey/citrus cocktail before (recipe later...), so I decided to try the drink mas o menos as the recipe called for with the exception of substituting green Chartreuse for absinthe (I know, it's a big mas). As it turned out, the drink was imminently quaffable but ultimately disappointing. I didn't want and don't strive to make drinks that are only quaffable, I want to make something astounding (especially when Chartreuse is involved). We slowly sipped this one as we decided what was next...

Heading in a completely different direction, I eye-balled the bottle of Drambuie. Corey mulled over possible combinations perusing first the rum shelf. I was a bit discouraged because one of the first cocktails I ever learned was the Road to Bali (courtesy of Jeff McCilvaine), which was essentially a Rusty Nail that substituted Lemonhart rum for scotch and was finished with a lime twist. We kept looking and I glanced up at the 12 yr. Yamazaki. After a moment, this is what we came up with:
2 Yamazaki
1 Drambuie
1 dash Regan's No. 6 Orange bitters
dash of cayenne
orange twist
It was nearly the best way to finish the night. I'd be lying if I said we didn't finish with shots of Flor de Cana and Cacique, both splashed with Angostura. Overall, it was a good night. Cheers.

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