neat

Lost in Translation

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The purpose of a great craft cocktail, one made with thought, skill and care, is to delight.

 

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Holy crap did this post take FOREVER! I was planning on posting this at least 2 weeks ago and then I may have been abducted by aliens (the non-butt-probing kind) or something ’cause I never got around to sharing this delightful post with all of you wonderful alcoholics humans.

I have an upcoming “educational” (say what?!) post on sake where I lie to you all with non-confirmed facts (mainly because I was too lazy to “bing it”) about that deliciousness from Japan. It’ll basically be a “rule of thumb” type of post if you’re interested in sake to sip it instead of boring wine (if you’re feeling sexy) or to mix it with other spirits (if you’re feeling adventurous). In that post I go over soju (used here) which is not a sake but if you can keep a secret, I’ll have you know that this stuff makes for a fantastic vermouth sub. Yup.

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  • Soju/Shochu
  • Vodka
  • Apricot Eau De Vie
  • Triple-Sec
  • Bitters
  • Simple syrup

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Soju or Shochu? At this point its the same thing. Soju is traditionally from Korea, while Shochu is of Japan. This Kaikouzo Soju is actually Shochu marketed as soju. Usually they are all under 25% ABV and are distilled very much like a neutral grain spirit (potatoes used quite often), with the master distiller infusing flavor throughout the process or at the very end.

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I wanted to make it easier to start remembering hot to make my drinks. This is a simple stirred drink in a 4,3,2,1 method where you start with one spirit and from there you add 1/4 less of the next. Yeah that was confusing:

1 oz Kaikouzo Soju
3/4 oz Imperia Vodka
1/2 oz Metté apricot Eau De Vie
1/4 oz Cointreau
2 dashes of Dr. Adam Elmegiram’s Teapot Bitters
1 dash of simple syrup (just a dash)

Add all into a chilled mixing glass full of ice and stir. With every drink you make you’ll start refining your stirring technique. When I started, I was a subtle as a blender on max. It was ugly.

Strain into a smaller martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

[ Enjoy ]

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This drink plays close to a vodka martini, what with its crystal clear appearance and velvet flavors. The soju itself could potentially be used as a blanc vermouth of sorts, but there is definitely a broader flavor profile in it making you want to sip it slow to let those flavors do their work. 

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La Muerte Chiquita

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This is my first real foray into mezcal-based drinks. I think I’m in love.

I’ve been ordering drinks with mezcal as much as I can to get a feel for how it works and the subtle (sometimes not so subtle) differences between one another; How smoky is this one? Does it work better with this juice or that one? Does it even mix well with other spirits without being a bully? Does it make me look fat in these pants? Based on the few that I’ve had, I can tell you that mezcal is a beautiful addition to a home bar (any bar really) in the way that absinthe is or like having both, bourbon and rye.

I’ve been trying to get my hands on a bottle of Montelobos mezcal for a while. To the point where I became obnoxiously slightly obsessed with the notion that if I was going to buy mezcal, it was going to be that one or none at all. That’s stupid. I know. Long story short, I got me a bottle and now we’re like best friends. I wanted the first drink I made to be more evocative of its origins (Oaxaca), so I went all Mexican up in this bitch…by way of Brooklyn, NY? Wait. what?? The xocolatl mole bitters are a must but the real treat is the chocolate extract that Taza (MA local) and Bitterman’s made, which gives it a rich flavor. To round it out, you have the dram which is basically being all creepy and coy (like Ally Sheedy in the Breakfast Club) until the very end, where it comes out, almost enhanced by the smokiness making it a pleasure to sip.

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Mezcal
Allspice Dram
Absinthe
Bitters
Mandarins

Fun fact: Initial trial runs had tabasco and creme de cacao which work well with the mezcal but didnt do it for me here. I wanted this to be a mix of a Monkey Gland & 20th Century, while maintaining some of the more traditional aspects of mezcal.

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1 1/2 oz mezcal   [ Montelobos ]
1/4 oz allspice dram   [ St. Elizabeth ]
1/4 oz absinthe   [ St. George Absinthe Verte ]
1 1/2 oz mandarin orange juice
2 dashes of Taza Chocolate Mexicano Extract
2 dashed of Bittermen’s Xocolatl Mole bitters

Prepare your glass with an absinthe rinse (like you would a Sazerac):
Fill a rocks glass with crushed ice and distribute the absinthe over it.
This will coat the glass with absinthe and help chill the glass.

Pour all ingredients into a shaker and beat the devil out of it.
Ditch the ice from the rocks glass which should now have a lovely absinthe aroma.
Strain into the rinsed glass and garnish with a flamed mandarin wheel.

[ Enjoy ]

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