Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Apothecary and the Late Night

I work diligently exploring the apothecary aspect of bartending. My work has led me down a path where I've discovered (as I've mentioned a few times) the wonders of kava kava, valerian, chamomile, damiana, yohimbe, and what they can do when combined with such garden-variety ingredients as cayenne, ginger, and, well, a bit of sugar. All in all, I think the fall/winter menu is pretty amazing. However, this is what I am most proud of:

Fire cider. You take it when you're getting sick. You take it when you're sick. You take it as a perk-me-up. You take it to take it because it's good for you. And it contains no booze.

Yeah, it looks terrible. And, frankly, it's very "aromatic". It looks like what those of us in the trade fear most, cleaning up after a guest. But, for those acclimated to "flavor country;" those who have palettes that are, shall we say, open, it's actually quite good. A bit shocking at first, but really quite tasty. So, with no further ado, here's what's in the 1022 recipe for Fire Cider: apple cider vinegar, horseradish root, ginger, onion, garlic, cayenne, and turmeric root. Let it soak maybe 4, maybe 6 weeks, then bottle and do shots regularly.

It's a fun, hippie remedy that I've kept stocked in my kitchen for years. Every single housemate has appreciated this...I've always thought the bars I've worked at should stock this and Emergen-C (is this the trade name?), and bag balm. Fire cider is one of those things that best characterized as some sort of dad-platitude in that it's "good for what ails you."

Speaking of good for what ails you, one of our local favorites came in tonight asking for a pre-bottled shot for this magic elixir. I worked it out (filter and double strain...), and then he asked for the golden seal cocktail. For those not keeping score, this is part of the apothecary section of the new menu. Our friend has sampled a few of the new wares and is familiar enough to order off the new menu, apparently. While I'm (and this is understating the fact) quite stoked that anyone not on staff is familiar enough with cocktails still in the trial stage to order them, I was a bit bemused to find that the "goldenseal" infusion is totally gone. Apparently it wasn't that secret after all...So, in a pinch, knowing our friend was feeling not so hot, I whipped up a cocktail. Before I give the recipe, I have to say that I never get it on the first pass. Most of the time it's kind of a labor of love (and by love, I mean god bless the space monkeys). There's an idea, it gets tweaked, then tweaked some more, and eventually we carve out a really nice cocktail. Usually it starts with some idealism, which I stubbornly adhere to, then eventually something pretty comes out of it after people politely offer me suggestions (thanks K...) The damiana and flowers is the quintessential example of this process...

Now, this is not perfect. It needs a few minor teaks here and there, I think. But really, I sold a few of these tonight, so I'm not sure. I'll update after I sit down with one in a couple of days.

So, here it is:

1.5 whiskey

.5 fire cider

1 raw ginger syrup

.5 green chartreuse

1 dash Angostura bitters

1 dash orange bitters

Shake, strain, and serve up.

And, quite to my surprise, it's awesome. If you don't see this on the new menu, then you'll see it's pretty sister. However, I suspect that this is the pretty sister...


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