Oh my gosh, is it MxMo time again? Really? Yeah, and you missed the last one anyways buddy so no complaints about doing this one … Okay, okay … For this month’s journey into mixology flights of fancy we have the DJ (aka Chris) and his blog The Spirited Remix to thank for our exciting theme — Your Best (or as Chris says in his entry post, “Give me the best drink recipe you’ve created”). As sounds of Anita Baker run through my head …
The best? The best drank that this newbie has ever come up with? Not thinking all that highly of my “creativity” when it comes to new drink development it would seem that this effort should take all of three or four seconds … glass in hand, add large cubed ice, spirit, sip and enjoy. Ta da! There you have it … I call it the Glass-o-Wonders. Okay, not all that funny.
New drink ideas born out of the fertile mind of theSpeakista tend to take on life in one of several, not so creative ways: first, I see what experimentation yields when riffing a classic or pre-existing drink recipe. As I tend to be a big believer in the idea that the majority of all subsequent, new ideas are, for the most part, variations and/or improvements on old themes this isn’t that far of a stretch for me when trying my own drink experimentation (case in point, our recent post describing Old Fashioned’s). Second way ideas are born, sampling a lot of well or not so well made drinks external to the home base and then thinking about improvements (after re-creating). Lastly, I sometimes like thinking about certain flavors or food ideas, and then develop an idea around that (as my completely off the wall entry into a recent contest highlighted).
Why am I offering up the below recipe as my best? Easy, because I like it. It is a drink that I really enjoy making (for myself, and continued experimentation) and in particular one that I believe, after much refining, showcases several things about mixology that this newbie has learned on the subject.
Spirit combining to great effect – Tiki centered drinks are notorious for employing this method of flavor and texture enhancement; the Jet Pilot, the Zombie Punch and even the humble Mai Tai are all great examples of how this is achieved. Rums with different degrees of flavor, textural and aromatic components come together in their respective drinks to add depth and character. While I enjoy tasting and experimenting with combining like spirits this effort is best exemplified when different spirits come together in a glass. Rye and applejack in the American Trilogy; bourbon, applejack and scotch in the North Garden are fantastic examples.
High proof spirits pack more than a punch – many have written on the benefits of higher proof spirits with insight far beyond what I could provide; suffice it to say I am a big believer in the benefits of these higher proof beauties. They add greater depth of flavor and character to a drink with their intense “heat” taming other strong ingredients. Lighter in dilution, these spirits create a drink that tastes fuller, more rounded and stronger in presence.
Wave after wave of building flavors – there is something magical about a drink that upon sipping builds and grows in complexity and flavor. The more you sip it, the more get from it. Drinks that build-in multiple layers of sweet, bitter, spice and other flavors into a single drink create something that is sophisticated and elaborate versus being one dimensional.
When the sum is greater than the parts – in essence, the above diatribe gets us to this point … a well constructed drink (regardless how many ingredients are used) is one that upon tasting it, makes you believe you are drinking more than you have in front of you. Yes you may be able to identify many of the ingredients on your palate, and you likely should, a well crafted drink leaves you thinking not about a single character but all. They blend seamlessly into something new, something that wasn’t present on its own in a single ingredient format.
Profundity at its best, I know!
For me, the Final Five hits on all of these points and does so in an interesting and some what unexpected way. Each of the five ingredients adds there own form of sweetness to the mix with differing layers created as the drink warms in the glass – form the lush, blanket like molasses quality of the blackstrap, to fresh and dried fruit sweetness mix with faint hints of toffee and chocolate. The bourbon’s spice and heat are tamed by the rum which in turn enhances the rum to yield deeper layers of spice notes. In the background are lingering touches of coffee and bitter floral notes … many of these flavors are subtle, not all together strong, with many opening up as the drink warms gradually in the glass.
Enough patting on the back … let’s get to the drink.
Recipe created, he thinks, by theSpeakista
• 1 1/2 oz high proof bourbon (Old Granddad 114)
• 1 oz blackstrap rum (Cruzan Blackstrap)
• 3/4 oz coffee bean infused Carpano Antica vermouth
• 1/2 oz calvados (Christian Drouin Selection was selected)
• 1/4 oz white crème de cacao (Marie Brizard)
Glass: chilled rocks or old fashioned glass
Tools: mixing glass, barspoon and a julep strainer
Assembly: Combine all of the ingredients in the mixing glass with plenty of cracked and non-cracked ice and stir well (adding more ice as needed) for at least 30 seconds. Strain the mixture into the chilled glass (no ice) — savor the creativity as you sip each luscious drop.
So there you have it Chris, my best effort (as of now). Is it the best, most creative drink you’ll see out there or in the MxMo … assuredly no. Is it a good drink worthy of an attempt? I think so.
Interested to hear what you all think of the above — pull no punches. Be sure to get over to Chris’ site for a full wrap up of this MxMo. While you are there, be sure to roam a while … you’ll really enjoy Chris’ take on things.