It’s Mixology Monday time again! This month we’re hosting and our theme is Standoffish, where one of the ingredients doesn’t want to mingle 🙂 (for more detail, see our announcement post.). We thought we’d tackle the theme by creating a cocktail that uses a small amount of a strong ingredient, and then trying several iterations with different standoffish techniques to see how they affected the aroma and flavor of the drink.
Given that our very first post was for Mixology Monday, we wanted to start by trying something with the Douglas Fir brandy. It’s an interesting spirit in its own right, and can be a challenge to work with. After trying it with rum, calvados, grappa and various other spirits we just couldn’t get what we were looking for (some tasted great, but required enough doug fir brandy that it wouldn’t be suitable in the small quantities called for in a float/rinse/etc.). So we punted and started digging through the liquor cabinet. We came across our bottle of Becherovka and thought hmmmm. It has good strong clove flavor that can be overpowering in larger amounts, so it seemed perfect for our theme. Trying it with several base spirits, we quickly settled on Demerara rum. The clove flavor paired well with the full, sweet flavors of the rum. From there, we wanted to brighten it up a bit. The combination of lemon and limoncello worked nicely, adding fresh lemon acidity with the sweet, more cooked lemon flavors of limoncello. Then at the last minute, Christa decided to add a small amount of Maraschino as an experiment. It was subtle, but the almond/cherry flavors added a welcome complexity and gave the drink more depth. With our cocktail in hand, we then proceeded to try it with the Becherovka in three configurations; a rinse, a float, and a mist. How would just the delivery mechanism change the nature of the drink?
The Golden Calf
- 2 oz Demerara rum
- 1/4 oz lemon juice
- 2 tsp. limoncello
- 1 tsp. Maraschino
- 1 tsp. simple syrup
- 1/4 oz Becherovka as a rinse, float or mist
Shake first 5 ingredients with ice. Rinse glass with Becherovka or float it on top or mist it over the glass.
- Nose: Lemon and clove, barrel notes, hint of molasses.
- Palate: Sweet, fresh lemon and honey to start. Barrel notes and vanilla with a hint of menthol on the mid-palate. Spice and cloves along with a bite of acid starting at the end of the mid-palate and into the finish. Undercurrent of cherry pit. Most integrated flavor profile.
- Nose: Lot more clove. A little bit of the lemon and barrel notes, but it’s mostly clove.
- Palate:Starts with strong clove and winds down throughout the drink. Less sweet. Less rum flavors. No acid bite. Big hit of clove to start, then cooked lemon. Mid-palate is more subdued. Cedar on the finish. Menthol on the after taste. Undercurrent of cherry pit throughout the drink, like the preceding iteration.
- Nose: Strong clove, but the rum stands up a bit more. Kind of between the first and second drinks aroma-wise.
- Palate: Strong cloves just on the first sip, then only in hints through the rest of the drink. Much more of the sweet cooked lemon. More of the richness from the rum too, with vanilla, molasses, and cedar barrel notes. Clove is a tiny highlight really, not a strong player. Maraschino stands out the most in this version with muted cherry/almond flavors at the mid-palate.
There you have it, the same drink but with one small ingredient delivered three ways. Not surprisingly, it actually has a fairly big effect on the final character of the drink. Yay! We love when that happens. More generally , we love the technique of adding one non-mixed ingredient to a cocktail, as this often leads to a drink that changes from sip to sip and makes the entire experience of drinking it more interesting.
We hope that everyone enjoyed the theme this month. We certainly love experimenting with constructing cocktails, and this proved once again that small changes can significantly affect the character of the drink. Looking forward to everyone’s submissions. Cheers!