Well, it’s time for Mixology Monday once again. This month is being hosted by the esteemed Jacob Greer who pens the Liquidity Preference blog. His challenge this month is to take a drink from those years that yielded few respectable cocktails, but many that were bright, sweet, cloying, or just downright horrid, and to rework it into a drink that should see a revival.
In a way, I was spared by most of these drinks, as my journey into cocktails started around the time of the current cocktail revival. In fact, my first cocktails were probably made around the same time as the inaugural MxMo event. However, one of the first cocktails that I ever made was the White Russian, and so it seemed fitting to focus on that particular cocktail.
Created in 1949, probably by Gustave Tops, the Belgian barman responsible for the Black Russian, and later launched to an almost iconic status by “The Dude”, this is a cocktail that really isn’t all that bad. I for one am not opposed to a cocktail that takes the place of my dessert as long as it still remains balanced, and this seems a perfect candidate for the task. And as luck would have it, a viable rendition is currently being served at one of my favorite bars in town, the Bayou Oyster Bar.
As many people know, I am not a huge vodka fan, and since part of my goal was to cut the sweetness of the drink and maybe add a little flavor to it, I chose to go with a coffee infused bourbon as my base spirit instead of the vodka present in the Oyster Bar’s version (Sorry Jim). So here you have my twist on the Black Drop, an updated White Russian for the 21st century.
The Bourbon Black Drop
1 1/2 oz coffee infused bourbon (I used Knob Creek Single Barrel)
1/2 oz Coffee liqueur (I used Starbucks coffee liqueur because I had some)
1/2 oz Creme de Cacao
Dry Fly is a distillery that seems to be bound and determined to push the envelope while still retaining the highest standards possible. Every product they have released has been distilled to a fantastic level of quality, while breaking out of the molds that most seem bound and determined to stay in. They have a vodka that is not flavorless, a gin that includes hops and apple in the botanicals, and a whiskey made from winter wheat.
This last weekend marked the Seattle release of Dry Fly’s newest product, a 101 proof Bourbon distilled from corn, unmalted wheat, and barley, and as luck would have it, I happened to be driving though Seattle right as it went on sale. Unfortunately for those who were not in Seattle or Spokane for the releases, all 480 bottles were sold within hours, and I am told that the next release is not until late next year. But, back to the bourbon.
This is not your average bourbon, perhaps having more in common with your great-great-grandpappy’s bourbon. Aged for only three years, this golden liquid is bold and in your face. The aromas are packed with spices and a faint oakiness. On the tongue, you get big sweet flavors of caramel and vanilla, the alcohol hiding in the fringes, despite the hefty proof. The flavors fade out with a long spicy finish laced with cinnamon and oak. All in all, a fantastic bourbon that will only continue to improve with age. Cheers to Don, Kent, Patrick, and the whole Dry Fly family for another fantastic product!
Today the first bottle of Dry Fly Bourbon ever produced, sold at an eBay charity auction benefiting the Spokane chapter of Ronald McDonald House Charities for $2650!
I’m not sure exactly where this next cocktail received its name from, but it is delicious none the less. Coming into print in the very early 1900′s, this is a great variation on a Manhattan, packing in a little extra flavor and bitterness courtesy of some Torani Amer. The higher proof boubon also helps to keep the flavors nice and balanced. Cheers!
3/4 oz 120-proof Bourbon
3/4 oz Italian Vermouth
3 dashes Torani Amer
1 dash Orange Bitters
A truly forgotten cocktail, this next drink comes to us courtesy of Mr Brooks Baldwin’s grandmother. Given to her by her mother in law just prior to WWI, this recipe was meant to be bottled and served from a decanter as need arose. This was very much the style for many households in the pre-prohibition era, and a style of great convenience as well. As there are no fruit juices present, this concoction would keep for quite a spell. This cocktail appears to be a variation on the also forgotten Zazerac Cocktail, but with enough difference to warrant its own name. The following recipe has been scaled down to 2 maybe 3 drinks.
The Mother-In-Law Cocktail
1 tsp Peychaud’s Bitters
1 tsp Angostura Bitters
1 tsp Amer Picon
1/2 oz Orange Curacao
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur
9 oz Bourbon
Created in 1917 as the signature cocktail of the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, this cocktail lay forgotten to the world until the mid 1990′s when it was brought back to life by Adam Seger, restaurant manager at the Seelbach. I do not know why this drink ever faded into obscurity as it is a fantastic champagne based cocktail. The sweetness of the champagne and liquer is perfectly balanced by the extra large dose of bitters, and the bourbon creates a great backbone flavor. The higher proof the bourbon, the better this drink will be. A 100 proof rye works excellently as well. Cheers!
The Seelbach Cocktail
1 oz Bourbon
1/2 oz Cointreau
7 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
7 dashes Angostura Bitters