As with many drinks (or most for that matter), variation on a theme is a common practice and a key reason behind my constant over usage of the word/expression riff. In setting the line up for our little project my research yielded many riffs on the classics subbing in orgeat and/or other ingredients into the standard recipe. Thus, in searching Spirits and Cocktails I was intrigued to read Jamie’s MxMo post from a few years back highlighting the Mikado, a clear riff on the Japanese cocktail. Utilizing cognac versus the standard brandy as the base spirit, a smaller dose of orgeat and essential oils from the blending in of several lemon twists this looked like a riff clearly in need of making and inclusion into the line up.
… see, four uses of the word riff in one little paragraph. Clearly not overkill …
Mikado Cocktail (2008 version)
Recipe adapted from Jamie Boudreau’s Spirits and Cocktails (itself adapted from the Bishop and Babcock Co.’s Mixed Drinks and How to Make Them, published in 1900)
• 2 1/2 oz cognac (Pierre Ferrand Ambre)
• 1 barspoon orgeat (Trader Tiki brand)
• 2 dashes Angostura bitters
• 2 wide pieces of lemon peel
Garnish: lemon twist
Glass: champagne coupe
Tools: mixing glass, barspoon, julep strainer and a y-peeler for cutting the garnish
Assembly: Combine all ingredients in the mixing glass including the wide pieces of lemon peel, add cracked ice and stir for 20 seconds until well chilled. Strain into the serving glass and garnish.
The verdict: I cannot say it any better then Jamie did in his original post … “… it has an understated elegance about it…” The drink has a pleasant slightly citrusy aroma to it. The taste profile is much more refined then our previous attempt at the Japanese cocktail. Whereas that drink needed, at least in my humble view, to warm up a bit in order to allow the flavors to meld this drink is balanced at the start. The use of cognac in this formulation provides great support to the drink and the reduced dosage of orgeat works perfectly as a bridge between the aged, mellowed cognac and the essential oils from the lemon. The orgeat also seems to impart a softer mouth feel to the drink (mellowing the cognac a bit). This was well worth the effort and another try in the not too distant future.
theSpeakista’s Rating: 3 3/4 stars (out of 5)
Next up, a last minute substitution that is completely off the chart good (and totally not what I expected) …