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Julep Jubilee … How Bangin’ …

So many juleps and not enough time.  We turn our attention to our next recipe and one that I’m quite proud of (you’ve guessed it … it’s a theSpeakista original).  The recipe we offer up in this go of Julep Jubilee is a clear example of bottle diving at its creative best.  While doing some work at the computer one day your humble correspondent was day dreaming a bit and staring at the liqueur cabinet (something that happens all too frequently) my eyes caught two familiar bottles — my nearly half dead bottle of Smith & Cross and my latest bottle of calvados.  Grabbing both off of the shelf and pouring small amounts into two different glasses, I began to sip each, neat while continuing my work.  It dawned on me while I sipped that both of these spirits seemed to work well with one another … that amazing vibrant smash of fresh apples against the funky, musky, semi-sweet goodness of the rum.  We seemed to be on to something.

Lining the two bottles up on our counter and staring at them for what seemed like an eternity, we thought a little harder about recipe construction.  The typical juleps that I encounter are either a tad sweet or a touch boozy but one thing they never seem to offer (in my limited experience) is any sense of bitterness.  Most are also light on any sort of “fruit” profile.  Could we do something to create an experience that emphasizes both?  Our mission set, we grabbed some more bottles and began mixing up some drinks.

How then should we create the “bitterness” we sought in this type of drink — the obvious, using bitters ended up not being the correct solution and was quickly abandoned after trying out several different kinds of bitters on a base recipe. The quantity required to achieve the lingering bitterness on the after palate that we so desired was jut too much and tended to over skew the taste profile.  We turned our attention to some amari and liqueurs for a little help and found comfort in the arms of an old friend, Aperol.  It not only added the bitterness we sought in a straightforward way but yielded some other qualities as well.

Having settled the bitter debate the missing link was found in an unexpected source, that little gem called Cocchi Aperitivo Americano.  We have been experimenting with the little guy for a while and have found that it works well in a variety of settings including pairings with rums, whiskies and brandies.  Having tinkered around on a recipe for a while and feeling like we still needed a little “somethin’, somethin’” I pegged a dash of the Cocchi into the glass and found the piece of the puzzle that we sorely needed.

They say that naming a drink is such a personal thing.  For me, I don’t invest nearly enough time thinking up creative names for my creations.  In the case of this drink, I thought about a colleague of mine who describes everything that is either good or great as “BANGIN’!!” … if he were to taste this drink, I’m sure he would say the same thing and thus, the drink was given its proper name.

BANGIN’! Julep
Recipe created (he thinks) by theSpeakista

•    1 1/2 oz Smith & Cross rum
•    1 oz Calvados (Coquerel VSOP was used)
•    3/4 oz Cocchi Aperitivo Americano
•    1/4 oz Aperol
•    1 bar-spoon simple syrup (rich syrup if you have it)
•    3 leaves of fresh mint
Garnish: sprigs of fresh mint and orange and grapefruit bitters
Glass: julep glass or old fashioned glass
Tools: bar-spoon

Assembly: Take the mint leaves and “pop” them in your hands and then add to the serving glass.  Build the remaining ingredients in the glass as a julep. Top the glass with more crushed ice, garnish with the mint and add a few drops of the bitters on top of the ice.

The verdict: Ah, with warm weather upon us I could sip, and sip, and sip away on these until the weather turns cold.  It is quite a complex little sipper. Layers of differing kinds of sweetness are present with every ingredient (save the mint) contributing something on this front.  Three of the four main ingredients contribute to a layered, nuanced-sort of fruit profile (and I would argue that that funky little rum has a nice raisin like quality to it).  Two of the ingredients create the lingering, soft blanket-like bitterness we sought.  The aroma ………. So very nice.

We are curious to see what you think of a little BANGIN’!

Now that I’ve finished writing this bad boy up I’m thirsty all over again.

What’s up our proverbial sleeves?  A mixture so off the wall you wouldn’t think it would work in a julep …

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