So, yesterday’s drink wasn’t quite my cup of tea, but I’m going to stick with my “split personality” theme and try another cocktail where the ingredients don’t immediately make sense together. I also love that the Triple Crown (again, via Brooklyn Bartender) uses pamplemousse (grapefruit) liqueur; the color on this product is just so lovely, but it’s delicate and easily overpowered. (For those in the Pacific Northwest, Little Bird Bistro has a fantastic cocktail called La Vie en Rose. I picked up the pamplemousse liqueur in an attempt to duplicate that drink, thought I have, sadly, been unsuccessful so far.) I really like this drink! The first taste is sweet wth a touch of sour, but I still get an actual bourbon flavor and the amaro keeps everything linked together. This one definitely hits the Winner’s Circle (sorry for the painfully obvious joke, but I can’t help myself).
Today’s recipe (from Brooklyn Bartender again) almost looks like two different cocktails to me, one heading in a Tiki direction with the rum, lemon and grenadine, while the other tends more in the classic cocktail direction with the rye and cognac. I admit, this dichotomy appeals to me — who doesn’t feel a little split sometimes (don’t even get me started on the election…)? While I have a fondness for the Tiki culture, generally speaking they are just too sweet for me. But I like some kind of sweetness to balance the strong of a good spirit. This drink had a good level of sweetness, but too much sour for my taste. I did like the different spirit flavors, though; you could really taste the different flavors of the rum, cognac, and rye. I might try this again with a bit less lemon.
PS: My prep area is clearly getting a little crowded; it’s time to step up production!
More new toys! I ordered a new hawthorne strainer and barspoon from Cocktail Kingdom, and they arrived today, even more gorgeous than I expected. The gunmetal color is so striking, and the skull on the spoon makes it badass and useful (for ice cracking, skull cracking, etc.). Since I had to use them immediately, I picked Love Makes You Feel Ten Feet Tall from Brooklyn Bartender. A friend mentioned pisco to me this past weekend, and this also seemed like a great way to bring that bottle back out. The salt water is curious and something new for me, though thankfully easy enough to mix even for such a small amount. I’m not a fan of Punt e Mes (too bitter for my palate), so I subbed in a 50:50 mix of Carpano Antica and Cynar to achieve that bittersweet affect. I have to say, it’s an odd drink: almost equal parts sweet and bitter. I don’t think I’d drink it exactly the same way again (would likely swap the Punt e Ames for full sweet vermouth instead), but it was definitely interesting. And the color was just gorgeous.
Happy Daiquiri Day, everyone! As you may know, a simple daiquiri is one of my favorite cocktails, especially in the summer. When you find your perfect proportion (for me it’s 2 oz white rum, 3/4 oz lime, 3/4 oz simple), there is nothing more refreshing than sipping a daiquiri while lounging in/near the sun. Lately I’ve started to play with my standard daiquiri recipe, and today I thought I would do a bit of a variation on Papa Hemingway’s favorite version of the daiquiri. It’s a hair on the sweet side, so next time I might tweak the simple down and the grapefruit up. Since we’re having a typical Northwest cloudy summer afternoon, I’ll just need to imagine the sunshine and let the daiquiri work its magic.
When I was younger, my dad and I used to “liberate” nectarines from a tree in one of the houses from the “rich” neighborhood near our house. I remember the incredibly unique flavor of that fruit, something altogether different from oranges, peaches, or apricots. At Proof this weekend, I found the spirit version of that sweet-tart flavor in the nectarine liqueur from Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs (I really love their logo as well). I decided to use this in an Angel Face (from the Savoy Cocktail Book) variant. The drink is deceptively sweet, but it definitely packs a punch. I think I’d tweak it more in favor of the liqueur just to get even more of that great nectarine flavor.
While at Proof this weekend, we attended a great session on aperitifs and amari presented by Amanda Reed from Heartwood Provisions and Paul Clarke from Imbibe Magazine. I enjoyed the talk so much that we were inspired to head to Heartwood Provisions where we indulged in delicious food (duck confit poutine, anyone?) and great drinks from our bartender, Matt. I particularly enjoyed my La Rêve, and so I decided to try to recreate it with my new Kur gin from Wildwood Spirits Company. I started with equal parts of everything (Corpse Reviver #2 model), but it’s definitely too much Calvados — it overwhelms the drink with apple-y sweetness. Guess I’ll have to try again… oh darn.
I spent this weekend in Seattle at Proof Washington, a festival for local distillers. In other words, I was a kid in a candy shop. We splurged for the VIP tickets and got early access to the floor, and considering the quantity of people who were there by the time we left at 7, it was worth it. Not only did we get to sample some great local spirits, but we also had plenty of delicious food to balance out the liquor. There’s so much creativity in the craft spirits world right now, and I’m proud to see so much in the state where I live. I did manage to pick up a few treats, which I’ll be trying out at home and sharing in the coming weeks. I’m starting with Jammy, a delicious sweet vermouth from broVo. I’ve seen broVo products in my local liquor store, and was excited to get a chance to try them out and learn more. This vermouth definitely delivers on the sweet, but in a rich way that balances well with rye. Although I have become one of the vermouth-faithful, I feel like this vermouth could be a great entry-level product for someone interested in knowing more about what can go into their Manhattan.