Orgeat in 8 … the Trinidad Sour

by KeithP on April 14, 2010

So we are up to our last day of “premade” recipes prior to my attempt at something novel using orgeat (don’t worry, I’m not putting much stock in that either).  Early on when I was trying to develop the final list of recipe candidates I was worried that I was not casting a wide enough net in terms of fully trying different styles and base spirits against our test subject, the orgeat.  In an early draft of possible recipes candidates I had included the Little Tokyo Cocktail (thanks Sam for your prior comment about this one … great minds, or something like that) but figured two riffs on the Japanese (or essentially 3 versions of one cocktail) was a little too much.  When we started this little do-hickey six days ago the scheduled seventh “premade” recipe was going to be another Scotch-based drink that worked in dry vermouth with lemon juice and the orgeat. Originally I thought this would be an interesting contrast and comparison versus the Cameron’s Kick.

Literally at the last minute a change to the aforementioned planned number 7 drink took place with a recipe that I had included on an earlier draft list … the Trinidad Sour.  The reason I took it off was also the reason why I decided to put it back on.  On paper this is a completely wacky looking drink and something which frankly to me, just shouldn’t work. Utilizing orgeat in what seemed to be a front and center role made including it an even more compelling proposition.  In typical fashion theSpeakista is last to the party in terms of research and commentary on this drink. I discovered this drink while reading older posts on Frederic’s cool blog and by a posting from Paul (as always Paul is early to the party) last year.  If you read the comments portion of Paul’s post and follow the various links this drink has clearly made its way around the community and for good reasons … it is a perfect example of a twisted formulation of ingredients that works amazingly well.

Trinidad Sour
Recipe adapted from the Cocktail Virgin/Slut blog (itself adapted from a recipe by Giuseppe Gonzalez, a bartender at the Clover Club and Dutch Kills in New York)

•    1 1/2 oz Angostura bitters
•    1 1/2 oz of orgeat (Trader Tiki brand)
•    1 oz fresh lemon juice
•    1/2 oz Rittenhouse Bonded Rye
Garnish: none
Glass: champagne coupe
Tools: mixing glass and tin (shaker), Hawthorn strainer and a fine mesh tea strainer

Assembly: Combine all ingredients in the shaker with ice and shake for at least 20 seconds until well chilled. Double strain into the serving glass.

The verdict: Wow!!  Wow, wow, wow!!!  What a drink.  Despite the benefit of the 20-20 hindsight afforded me via Paul and Frederic’s write ups (not to mention everybody else and their mother writing about this thing in a totally positive way) I still half expected it to taste like some sort of cross between seawater and toxic waste but this of course was not the case.  The drink has a nice two tone look in the glass – the drink itself has beautiful dark mahogany, reddish brown tint to it and on the surface of the drink is a thin cream color foam (from the shaking).  The smell is a soft citrus and spice mix.  This drink is complexity as its best with different waves of flavors hitting the taste buds – an allspice dram-like taste upfront, a nice subtle herbal quality that was not overtly bitter combined with mild citrus and rich sweetness.  The drink also seemed to taste of dark cherries and chocolate (as none of these are present in ingredient form I assume these flavors are a cool by product of the bitters, sweetness of the orgeat and the caramel/char flavors from the rye acting with one another to create new flavors).  It is unclear to me if a different sweetening agent would have yielded the same result – I assume somebody has tested this – but the orgeat seems to be the perfect selection with its rich texture and sweetness mellowing with and accentuating the Angostura.

Like Paul, I feel compelled to break this drink out to unsuspecting souls who enter my web of mixology at the home base.  This is a terrific drink and I highly recommend you give it a try.

theSpeakista’s Rating: 4 1/4 stars (out of 5)

Next up … be scared … be really scared … I’m going to get creative …

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Frederic April 26, 2010 at 5:04 pm

There may be cherry wood in the Angostura which gives the cherry notes.

Also, the concept of Angostura-heavy drinks is nothing new. Charles H. Baker, Jr. wrote about the Angostura Sour in the 1930′s (Angostura, lime, sugar, whole egg, I believe). It’s on my list of drinks to try, and should return to the idea since the Ango shortage is over around here.

KeithP April 27, 2010 at 5:58 pm

I think that is right re: the cherry wood. the Charles Baker drink sounds interesting although I have a bit of an aversion (working on it) to drinks containing whole eggs.

Your post sparked my interest in the Trinidad Sour which let me to paul’s site and through that to Jay’s posts at Oh Gosh (my linking isn’t working so well via the reply) on bitters heavy drinks … having had such a “transformational” experience with the “sour” i’m tempted to take on more of these bitters “experiments.” would be interesting to try, test, comment?

[WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ’0 which is not a hashcash value.

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