May 3, 2009

"I wanna be a producer, lunch at Sardi's everyday!"

I picked this cocktail earlier today, and was wracking my brain trying to come up not only with a decent title for tonight's post, but also for something I could use in the photo to decently illustrate the abstract concept of the drink's name. I mean, what kind of props can you use for "Fancy Free?" Then, as I was looking over my bookshelf (which overfloweth, and really needs to be augmented somehow with another one, though where I'd put it I haven't the foggiest notion) I spotted one of the "making of" books I picked up like a good little theatre major as soon as it was released: "The Producers." And a little light over my head went "ding!" and Matthew Broderick started singing in my head. I've asked him repeatedly to stop that, and go and bug Cameron Frye or something, but he never listens.

Anyway, Leo Bloom (in "The Producers," not in James Joyce's "The Dubliners") has an extended dream sequence in which he fantasizes about all sorts of wonderous things that will surely await him when he becomes a Broadway producer. Apparently the fact that his soon-to-be-partner, Max Bialystock, has to schtup little old ladies to raise capital for his shows has not sunk in yet. Anyway, he frolics through a big number, replete with showgirls (fresh from the casting couch, natch) and generally convinces himself that yes, he will be a producer, granny-schtupping be damned, because it's gotta be better than his current accounting gig (no word on if this was in the days running up to April 15th or not). So I figured, yes, that'd be a good evocation of "Fancy Free" and would supply me with enough filled space to be a decent start on a blog post. So here's the "Fancy Free" cocktail:
Fancy Free

2 oz bourbon
1/2 oz Maraschino liqueur
1-2 dashes Angostura bitters
1-2 dashes orange bitters

Stir well with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a cherry.
Remember last night now I waxed rhapsodic about that indefinable woodsy flavor that Maraschino brought to the Aviation? There's more of it tonight in this, playing wonderfully off the bourbon, and when the spice and orange join in from the bitters, good. The only thing that would make it even better would be a flamed orange peel garnish. On that note...
A flamed orange peel garnish sounds scary, but is really quite easy. Just take a vegetable peeler and slice off a half-dollar sized bit of orange peel. Hold it above and behind your drink with one hand, and hold a lighter in the other, positioned between the peel and the drink. Spark the lighter, and squeeze the peel towards your drink. The orange oil will ignite and land on the surface of your drink. Then just rub the orange peel around the rim of your glass, and plunk it into your cocktail.
With that addition, I think this would be utter perfection. If you're a fan of bourbon at all, please go out and try this drink. It's incredibly good.
Fancy Free

In non-Maraschino related news, I started making a batch of Falernum tonight, a crucial ingredient in a good number of Tiki drinks. Falernum's a Caribbean liqueur flavored with lime zest, ginger, cloves, almonds, and a variety of other spices; mine has those ingredients plus some allspice, a nutmeg, and a few peppercorns. Tomorrow all the ingredients get strained out of the overproof rum they're soaking in, and get mixed with some simple syrup. I've been wanting to make this stuff for quite some time, now, and I'm very excited that it's almost ready. So there's more Tiki drinks forthcoming, which will be perfect as the weather warms up. Stay tuned!


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