Thursday, October 25, 2012

Golden Carriage

I have to admit that this one is not entirely my own - or it is, but directly inspired by one of our new bartender's cocktails, a drink known as Another Castle.  Since nobody really reads this anyway, the construction of this beverage is as follows:

1 oz Plymouth gin
1/4 oz Matilde Peche liqueur
1/4 oz Cocchi Americano
1/4 oz dry vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters (I think Fee's was used originally)

Rinse a coupe with absinthe and place in the freezer to chill (or "season", as they say with Sazeracs).  Stir the above over rocks and then strain into the coupe, then twist a strip of orange peel over the top and whirl it into a tight circle resembling a flower; perch this on the rim as garnish.

Now, that's a damned fine beverage, no doubt about it.  After sampling one after work, I got home and wondered if I could try something similar with Matilde Poire, which had been hanging out in my cabinet for some time.  Gin didn't seem quite right, so I switched to rye, which was just way too assertive.  So I did something that I thought a little crazy and tried scotch instead.  A couple minor adjustments later and we have the beverage below:

1 oz blended scotch (use a single malt if you like, just something mild - you don't want too much peat here)
1/4 oz Matilde Poire liqueur
1/4 oz Cocchi Americano
1/4 oz sweet vermouth (Punt e Mes is also nice)
2 dashes Regan's No. 6 orange bitters

Rinse a coupe with absinthe, etc etc.  Do the same fanciness with the orange peel, if you like, or just squeeze an orange coin over the top and drop in.

(Being something of a lush, I actually find that the above is a rather small drink for my tastes.  If you think the same, double all of the proportions and use a classic martini glass instead.)

This to me is proof that experimentation and substitution can be the origin of many a fine cocktail.  That is after all how we got from Manhattans to Martinis, and from Sidecars to Margaritas.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Stoplight Special

I keep feeling like someone must have invented this one before - it just seems a little too easy.  But it's also damned good, and it's proven a surprisingly flexible formula.  Anyway, I'll take credit for naming it (based on the colors of its three main flavoring agents).

2 oz Laird's Applejack
1/3 oz green Chartreuse
1/3 oz Cocchi Americano (Lillet Blanc could work, if supplemented with a dash of orange bitters)
1/3 oz Aperol (or Campari, in a pinch)

Stir over rocks and strain over one large ice cube in a rocks glass.  Squeeze an orange peel over the top and discard.

I list applejack here only because it's my favorite variation so far.  Like the Pirate, this lends itself to easy substitution.  I've tried it with rye, bourbon, and genever, all of them successfully.  I haven't used brandy or an aged tequila yet, but I'm sure these could be good options too.  Rum, not so much, but you could give it a whirl.

Potential Return

This is probably the third or fourth "I'm back" post that I've written - it's starting to become a habit.  That "fall menu" took a bit of a right turn with a new bartender and a new role at the restaurant for myself.  New cocktails fell by the wayside for a while in favor of revisiting some classics and old recipes, but mixology just seems to get more compelling with the approach of colder weather.  I won't call this a permanent return, but I'll make an effort to share recipes a little more frequently.