January 31, 2010

Oh, I'm gonna get letters about this one...if only for the name...

It didn't occur to me until literally this minute, as I write this post, what the name of this drink could refer to. And now I'm almost scared to post it. So let me get this out of the way right now. The name of the drink is "Roman's Scandal" and at first, I was thinking "Oh, how cute, it's sort of titillating in an ancient history sort of way." But then I thought, "Uh oh. What if it's 'Roman' as a first name, say, of a film director who did a very bad thing a few decades ago." Suffice it to say, I'm going to assume that this drink doesn't have anything to do with that Roman, and proceed from that starting premise.

Remember the orange-flavored gin I mentioned back in the "Flying Dutchman Cocktail?" The stuff I said was too esoteric, too hard to find, and too expensive? I found it, cheaply, on a trip to a Woodman's Market near where I work, and snatched up a bottle at a very good price. (Did you know Seagram's also has an apple-flavored gin? I'm a little scared of that...). And so I set about looking for drinks that I can use my 1.75 liters of orange gin in, and I stumbled across this one.
Roman's Scandal

1 1/2 oz orange-flavored gin
1/2 oz sweet vermouth
3/4 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz kirsch
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir all well with ice, strain into cocktail glass or serve on the rocks, as desired.
I think this bears a similarity to the Martinez, with kirsch instead of maraschino, but it does a little something else, too, which I like. The orange gin doesn't really blare its orangeness at you, but sort of hangs back. There's really a depth to this drink that you usually don't expect from gin drinks...it's not as crisp as you'd expect, and has a surprising subtlety. I'm especially pleased with how the kirsch stays well away from the realm of the cloying, which it will zoom straight to, given half a chance. All in all, a most surprising drink, and one that I wouldn't hesitate to try again.

Roman's Scandal

January 20, 2010

Pearls before swine?

No, I'm not calling you all swine. Please, put the baseball bat down, Mrs. Higginbotham.

Thank you.

There are very few funny quotes about pearls. I don't know why. But I needed something relevant to the drink, so you get that one up there.

Tonight's drink is one that I found on one of the many cocktail blogs I read...Bibulo.us featured it the other day, and pointed out it was one made by the inimitable David Wondrich, one of my all time cocktail heroes. I did, however, tinker with it, because that's what I do. The original used vodka, I swapped in gin for a little more complexity. The original used a strip of lemon peel, but I dashed in some of my Jamaican bitters. I like to think mine holds a candle to the original, but you be the judge.
The Pearlescent Cocktail

2 1/2 oz gin (originally vodka)
2 teaspoons orgeat syrup
1 teaspoon Maraschino liqueur
2 dashes Jamaican bitters (originally a strip of lemon peel)

Combine all with ice and shake viciously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
It's sweet, but not cloying. It's vaguely vegetal, faintly citrusy, and it has a little bit of funk from the Maraschino. I like it! Plus it's this really cool color, the eponymous Pearlescent sheen. Tasty.

Pearlescent Cocktail

January 17, 2010

"If I...were king...of the foreeeeeeeeest!"

Yes friends, I'm actually posting within a few days of the last one. I feel bad about leaving you in the lurch for so long, and I picked up a couple nice deals at the liquor store today, so I'm mixing up a new one for all of you.

Tonight's drink is one that features a spirit I haven't used in far too long; rum. Rum was one of the first liquors I actually picked out as being something I liked. Before I really started to branch out into the world of spirits, rum was my old standby. I think it was, in no small part, an extension of my interest in Tiki drinks that made me gravitate towards rum, but I can now tell you, that rum is by no means the exclusive spirit of faux Polynesia.

That being said, rum's really an interesting spirit, one that's far too often taken for granted. Tonight, though, I've got a great showpiece for it.
The White Lion Cocktail

1 1/2 oz white/silver rum (I used Mount Gay Eclipse Silver)
1 oz lemon juice
1 tsp sugar (I used raw sugar, but that's just me. Bar sugar would dissolve a lot more readily)
1/4 oz grenadine or falernum (I had falernum in the fridge, so I used that)
2 dashes bitters

Shake all with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Spicy, sweet, fruity, sour...this drink really hits all the notes you want a drink to hit. There's the acidity of the lemon, and the spice and lime notes of the falernum, the subtle tropical fruit notes from the rum (banana seems to be a popular note detected in the Mount Gay Eclipse Silver), all of these combine to make for a really interesting drink. I have no idea of the provenance of this drink, especially since one old drink book, 1888's "New & Improved Illustrated Bartender's Manual" by Harry Johnson (no laughing, please), has the White Lion as four ounces of rum mixed with raspberry syrup, curaçao, lime juice and seltzer, and served in a pint glass...quite a different beast altogether. All that being said, this would be a different drink entirely just by swapping the falernum with grenadine. Not a bad one, but very very different. If you feel up to making some falernum (and I highly recommend you do), try using it in this drink. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

The White Lion Cocktail

January 15, 2010

Y'arrr, it be a ghost ship!

Battling my way through some sort of head cold, I bring you a new drink! Yay!

Tonight's drink is named after the ghost ship of legend, the Flying Dutchman. The good news, as Ted Haigh puts it in "Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails," is that this is a most interesting variation on what's normally a bland drink. The bad news is that you'll have to buy a new ingredient; orange gin. Haigh found Seagram's Orange Twisted Gin, which he says has an unfortunate name, but otherwise tastes pretty good. I've only been able to find that in 1.75 liter bottles, and I didn't really want to rush in to get one only to discover no uses for it. But I did find something at my liquor store (and on sale!) that I think will make an adequate substitute; Stellar Citrus Crush Gin. Apparently it has 6 different citrus fruit flavors in it, so I figured it'd do a comparable job.

Here's how to make it:
The Flying Dutchman Cocktail

2 oz orange gin (or the Stellar Citrus crush stuff)
juice of 1/4 orange
juice of 1/4 lemon
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake all with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish, if desired, with an orange twist.
Yes, it's a glorified gin 'n' juice. No, it doesn't taste like crap. It's supercharged with citrus, to be sure, but it's really quite tasty and nuanced. The bitters do a lot on that front, I'm sure. If you know of a place to get orange gin, grab a bottle and give this a taste. It's certainly easy enough to make, and innocuous enough that most anyone will like it.

Flying Dutchman Cocktail

January 14, 2010

Sorry for the lack of drinks these last two weeks

I've been broke-ass broke, and haven't been able to procure any new libations. I've got enough to make a new one, and I'll try to have it posted here for you all either tonight or tomorrow...

Thanks for your patience, everyone!