Monday, October 18, 2010

The Brooklynesque Cocktail

When I first decided to start a blog I promised myself that I wouldn't be another one of those sleep inducing cocktail bloggers - that I'd try something a little different.

We'll we all promise a lot of things to ourselves when we've a had a tipple or two and most we don't manage to keep. Besides my blog was looking a little sparse and this bottle of Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey has been giving me the eye for weeks now. How could I not oblige and take the lady for a spin?

She has a heady scent of toffee apples, marzipan, cinnamon and vanilla and is just a little too feisty for her 86.6° proof. After a brief introduction though it's time for a taste. As she she touches my lips for the first time, she's sweet and unctuous, but it's not long before I realise that she's a lively bitter chocolatey number. Very lively for being just two months shy of 10 years... and here's where I better end that metaphor.

You get it - it's not a bad drop, but could still do with a little taming by 'cocktailing' it. It just so happens that a friend of  mine, one Charles Ainsbury, is heading up a new joint about to arrive on the Sydney scene. It's called Duke and one of the cocktails you'll find there is Ainsbury's favourite - The Brooklyn. It's inspired me to give this drink a whirl.

Hold your horses. There's a problem. I don't have any Amer Picon. It's mighty tricky to acquire actually - especially down under. I'm told that Torani Amer is an agreeable substitute, but that's really no use for most as you would have to go to the US for that too. Fortunately I have returned from the US recently(ish) and have a bottle on hand. It's a thin, orangey amaro reminding me a little liquid antibiotics I was given as a kid - but what the hey.

The Brooklynesque Cocktail
  • 60ml Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • 20ml Noilly Pratt Dry Vermouth
  • 2tsp Torani Amer
  • 2tsp Luxardo Maraschino
  • 2 Dashes The Bitter Truth Xocolatl Mole Bitters
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Stir with loads of nice big ice cubes for a good 30 seconds. Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with one Steve's Easy Squeeze maraschino cherry. Put it in your mouth.

NB. Mr Ainsbury will likely have real Amer Picon. He'll likely also make it with rye. He's a show off that way.

The drink is a doosey. I've taken the liberty of adding chocolate bitters because I can (and because it really works with this whiskey). Dry vermouth and whiskey might seem like an odd combo too, but given the right opportunities they really are simpatico partners. Whilst Torani has its foibles - this cocktail has come up trumps with a sweet entry, silken texture, and a bitter lingering finish that hits all the rights spots.

Oh the Bourbon by the way is from James Busby Fine Wines and Spirits. James Busby is the name of the man that first introduced the Syrah grape to Australia - that's your useless fact for the day. The company however, is not as benign as my prattle. James Busby Fine Wines and Spirits is an importing arm of Coles. They do have some fine product though... more on that later.