For the next installment of “This Might Work” 06.16.14… I had a handful of cool cocktails on the docket but with unexpected legal constrictions, I can only say that that the term “sonicated” could erupt in unnecessary actions of lawyers. Let’s us proceed to the cocktails…
I have two contributions for our kind readers….first up. One of my favorite cocktails…the Daiquiri.
Cast Your Net Wide
I am fascinated and grateful by how a Daiquiri has become a classic cocktail. And I am greatly disappointed how it has been so greatly bastardization since the 1980s and onwards. I won’t go into a deep diatribe about this touchy subject. I will only point to a single event in my life where the bastardization of the Daiquiri was defined by the public as a relic in the cocktail world.
I immensely enjoy going to Tiki Tolteca in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Damn good service, solid bartenders, excellent atmosphere. It (was) a secret little spot for me in which I could talk shop with the bartenders and sample a good amount of classic Tiki-style cocktails from the Mai Tai to the Surfer on Acid (with Fernet) to a classic Daiquiri. One day in particular, I saddled up to the (old) bar and order a Rhum Agricole Daiquiri from Trader Dick (who has now departed but will never be forgotten). I love a perfectly built Rhum Agricole Daiquiri with the correct proportions of lime to simple to Rum. Trader Dick pushed the drink towards my way and a few of the guests to my left started up a brief conversation about what I had ordered from the barkeep. Trader Dick spoke up and said, “It’s a classic Daiquiri with Rhum Agricole” and I saw the look of confusion wash across their faces. One of the guests spoke up and said….”Why isn’t it Blue or Green?”. Trader Dick shot me a look and a small smile of frustration crossed my face as I took my first sip of the cocktail. I executed a slight shake of my head and knew I could just dive and attempt the expunge all of the accomplishments of the Daiquiri bastardization upon these obvious tourists and tout the merits of a classic Daiquiri and yadda yadda yadda. I decided to enjoy my cocktail in the peace and quiet of my own enjoyment. That simple moment when you have a properly built cocktail in front of you and the entire world just seems to melt away.
For my Daiquiri builds – I build according to the type of Rum requested by the guests or my own preference of Rhum Agricole. Generally – molasses-based Silver Rums from the Dominican Republic (Brugal), Puerto Rico (Bacardi and Don Q) and Central America (Panama – Cana Brava) are a straight 1.5 oz Rum / .5 oz Lime / .75 oz Simple. Jamaican (Appleton, Smith + Cross), Guyana (El Dorado), a variety of Aged Rums and French West Indies Rums (Martinique in particular) are generally bigger in body so I go with a 2 oz Rum / .75 oz Simple / .75 Lime. For my Daiquiri variation Cast Your Net Wide, I decided to go forward with a local Louisiana distillery Bayou Rum. Their Silver Rum bottling is very Southern with a sweet run on the palate and a dry finish. For the build, I decided to incorporate reconstituted basil seeds. You can pick up basil seeds packages at any local Asian market but in NOLA, I always head out to the Westbank and hit the Hong Kong Market. On that note… let’s watch some vintage Siouxsie and the Banshees.
The other important element of a Daiquiri is the lime juice. Whenever I work on a new build, I let my fresh pressed juices sit for a few hours to oxidize and mellow the sharp bite of fresh pressed citrus. Plus I would recommend picking up a Mexican Queen Beehive Juicer from Cocktail Kingdom. Check out this article on more info on citrus juicing processes and their results.
To reconstitute the basil seeds, just add water. For every tablespoon of seeds, I add 1/2 cup of water. Let it sit for about a hour and it becomes a mess of alien seeds suspended in a thick and clear goo. You are now all set to build the cocktail.
Cast Your Net Wide
2 oz Bayou Silver Rum
.75 oz Simple Syrup (1 part white sugar : 1 part hot water)
.75 oz Lime Juice (pressed, strained and oxidized)
Add all ingredients to cocktail tin and shake briskly with ice for 10 seconds. Double strain into a chilled coupe. Scoop one barspoon of reconstituted basil seeds into the glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Uncle Bobbo’s Medicine
During my trips to Kentucky over the past five years, I have had the opportunity to visit and sample a great amount of American whiskies. Although, Jim Beam is one of those distilleries that captured my heart during my early Bourbon days in the early 2000s. My grandfather had Canadian Club in his wet bar (such a Draper move) and cheap blended American whiskies but my love affair with Kentucky whiskies can be as traced back to my first glasses of Maker’s Mark and Jim Beam Rye Whiskey in the early 2000s. I expanded my roster, as every whiskey drinker should, as the years past with embracing the small batch collection released by Booker Noe and the single barrel bottlings produced by Elmer T. Lee. One of my favorite bourbons is the special release Booker Noe set aside for his friends and family during the holidays that became the prime example of higher-priced (aka luxury) American whiskies to enter the marketplace. That bottling is simply called “Booker’s” and each year’s release is bottled at “barrel proof” strength.
“Barrel Proof” refers to a process of dumping the bourbon out of the barrel and retaining its current ABV (alcohol by volume) without further dilution with water generally employed by distillers to secure a target ABV for bottling purposes (i.e. 90 proof). As the whiskey ages, it loses a certain amount of volume per year – dig through this thread for more info on the topic – and gains the lovely colors and wood notes associated with American whiskies. In 1988, Booker Noe was the first in his class of Master Distillers in Kentucky to release an uncut, unfiltered straight from the barrel bourbon and each year’s release varies in ABV based upon the conditions of the aging years spent in the rickhouses (bourbon aging warehouses).
Let’s digress for a moment to spend ten minutes with Dave Pickerell on how to taste Bourbon….
Anyhoo…. let’s talk about the cocktail process for Uncle Bobbo’s Medicine
For some strange reason, I always associated Bourbon as medicine in my mind. A soothing and relaxing sip of happiness that makes the most troubling of days just a bit more bearable. And who hasn’t met an “Uncle Bobbo” in their lives. At this moment…let’s pause, pour a glass of your favorite bourbon and enjoy this little viddy with my favorite “Uncle Bobbo”…
Ok. Back to the process. I love Booker’s Bourbon and decided to whip up a deceptive Sour variation with Fernet on the back end. Fernet Branca is the ridiculous and amazing Italian Amari we drank in great quantities in San Francisco during the mid 2000s and I am the dude that introduced Fernet to Zach Galifianakis. For one of the cocktail ingredients, I whipped up a simple Honeysuckle syrup by soaking dried Honeysuckle and Sage flowers in hot water and combing it with a lemon-focused oleo sacchrum.
1 oz Booker’s Bourbon
.75 oz Honeysuckle Syrup (1 part hot water / 2 tbsp Honeysuckle flowers / 1 tsp Sage leaves for 1 hour :: 2 lemon peels soaked in 1 cup sugar for 4 hours)
.75 oz Lemon Juice (pressed, strain and oxidized)
.5 oz Fernet Branca
Combine all ingredients and briskly shake for 10 seconds. Strain over ice into an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon peel – expressed.
Stay turned for the next installment of “This Might Work…” And go to the following sites and throw me the love and support for the continuous fight along the Cocktail Front!