Saturday, January 10, 2015

Reconstruction Era

My wife and I have developed a bit of a routine for the irregular nights when we get back reasonably early and sober from whatever event we were attending. (Events from which we don't come back early or sober are a different story.) It goes a little something like this:

  1. I want a drink, and so without prompting I make us a pair of cocktails. This is usually something stiff and low-fuss, like an old-fashioned; last night's was a rye old-fashioned with blueberry syrup, good but not worth recording in detail. These go down quickly while we figure out how to entertain ourselves for the rest of the evening.
  2. Something occurs to me: "We'll need more than that. What do I have to use up from the bar?" (Note that I'm using the imperative have to very loosely here.) I collect 2-4 bottles that are less than a quarter full and challenge myself to use them together.
  3. I cobble together a drink from the must-use list, usually with a bunch of tweaking and far more pomp than I used on drink #1. We taste the result together and find out that it's actually pretty goddamned good.
  4. Confidence boosted, I make a third drink, usually a classic or repeat that I can make with the must-use bottles. Cocchi Americano was on the chopping block last night, so I made a Vesper, and a pretty dang good one too.
  5. At this point, my wife says something like "I think I want another one..." She says this because her tolerance for alcohol is terrifying; this is a woman who (dead sober) used to greet me home from work at the restaurant with an empty wine bottle at her side. This is the point where, by now, I should have learned my lesson, but I haven't learned and probably never will, so I take our collection of empty glasses and stumble off to make another drink.
  6. I resolve to kill whatever's left in the must-use bottles and somehow wind up with a drink that absorbs them all. To my surprise, it winds up being good. I realize that dammit, I've now made two solid cocktails that deserve writing down, but my wife's also waiting, and I have neither the patience nor sobriety to start writing now. The recipes go unrecorded.
  7. Eventually I make yet another drink (because why not, at that point?) and later on we somehow make it to bed.
  8. I wake up with multiple regrets, among them a hangover and the realization that I never wrote anything down.
I'm not knocking it; the process is generally quite fun, except for that last step. But failing to record good cocktails grates on me, and so I'm trying to break the cycle by reconstructing a couple of those successful drinks from last night. I can't guarantee complete accuracy, here, but this is the best I can remember.

First, a fancified-old-fashioned style drink, featuring Licor 43, the main liqueur that wound up in the must-use collection last night.

2 oz rye whiskey (I used High West Rendezvous Rye, but anything nice and spicy will do, including Bulleit)
1/4 oz Licor 43
1/2 oz Pineau des Charentes (a very cool if tough-to-source apertif, created by blending grape must/juice back into cognac distilled from the same or similar grapes)
1 dash Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters
1 dash Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters

Build in an old-fashioned glass over a large ice cube. Don't garnish, or I'll find you.

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