I’m a bitter man …

by KeithP on December 13, 2011

It’s true, and I’m not at all ashamed to admit it.  When I reach for a mixing glass and bottles these days, I am more often than not looking to satisfy a craving which can only be found in certain magical elixirs … a craving for that long, low, lingering bitterness found in certain recipes/libations.  Recently this fixation of mine for all that is good and bitter in this imbibing world of ours has been fed by the addition of the book beta cocktails to my shelf of recipes.  In its pages lie hidden (and not so hidden) gems destined to awaken in you, your most bitter of sides.

Although I’ve only had this little wonder of a book for a relatively short period of time, I have to-date already made roughly 90% of the boozy stirred recipes (many of which, several times); the collection spans some downright perfectly constructed drinks that showcase how delightfully awesome bittering agents can be when used properly.  As we noted in our rant against (and then for) citrus in drinks, we are turning our attention to three recipes in the book beta cocktails for a little citrus-based drink making inspiration.  While we continue to summon the fortitude to pick up the shaker and shake, we will in the interim, highlight some of the best stirred wonders found in this collection of recipes.

First up, a recipe that asks a simple question — are you prepared to funk up your bitterness?  The answer I gave in response was a resounding, “HELL YEAH!!”  Created by Al Sotack (then and I believe still of the Franklin Mortgage Investment Company in Philly) – you will also recall that Al created one of our fav Manhattan riffs – the Six Inch Gold Blade is a perfect marriage of multiple bittering agents making wonderful love in a glass.  An amaro, liqueur and vermouth sing and are perfectly balanced against the funky, almost caramel like notes of the Smith & Cross and the faintest notes of smoke lingering in the background.  The palate is bombarded on the front, mid and aft palate with bitterness that slowly coats your entire mouth in a blanket of bitter goodness.  Sipping this drink is an almost soothing experience.

There isn’t one thing wrong with this drink and it alone is worth your purchasing the book (to see what other goodies lay therein).

Six Inch Gold Blade
Recipe created by Al Sotack from the book “beta cocktails” and adapted by theSpeakista

•    1 1/2 oz Smith & Cross rum
•    1/2 oz Punt e Mes vermouth
•    1/2 oz Nardini amaro
•    1/2 oz Campari
•    1 tsp. Laphroaig (Quarter Cask was used)
•    2 dashes of Angostura bitters
•    1 dash Mole bitters
•    Orange twist
Garnish: none
Glass: coupe or cocktail glass
Tools: mixing glass, bar-spoon and julep strainer

Assembly:  Mix all of the liquid ingredients in the mixing glass and pour into the serving glass. Express oils from the twist over the drink and discard.  

Bitterness rings forth from theSpeakista.  How “bitter” are you with drinks and what is your fav version?

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