Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mixology Monday: Absinthe Drinks

I must preface this post with a declaration that I took a risk and it is actually a bit of a failure.

For whatever reason, I imagined writing posts for Mixology Monday to go much smoother.  What a chance, I thought, to make delicious cocktails that I otherwise would never have been inclined to attempt.  It soon became clear to me that a simple prompt and deadline can suddenly eradicate my modest attempts at creativity or imagination.  But I suppose that's just part of the challenge.

This month's mission is to breath new life into a forgotten cocktail.  I took a slight obtuse angle on that proposal and focused on absinthe as an ingredient.  There is no shortage of new-found absinthe enthusiasm in the United States since the lifting of its ban.  However, from my perspective, its flavor has not yet penetrated a mainstream application beyond cocktail enthusiasts and fellow intoxicologists.

I spotted an delicious combination of absinthe and St. Germaine for a special cocktail at The Passenger earlier this summer and I thoroughly enjoy a little of the spirit in a well-made Sazerac.  But it's a much different story having absinthe in a much more aggressive format, at least for me.  With no ideas springing instantly to mind, I turned to Dale Degroff's The Craft of the Cocktail.  I chose two absinthe drinks from the book: the standard Absinthe Drip and Absinthe No. 2.  In Dale I trust...

Absinthe Drip

- 2 oz of absinthe
- 1 lump of sugar

Glassware: small rocks glass and an absinthe spoon.

Place absinthe and ice cube into a small rocks glass.  Place absinthe spoon across the top of the glass with a lump of sugar resting on it.  Slowly drip droplets of water onto the sugar cube allowing it to melt into the absinthe.

This little monster is hardly the soothing sipper that its pale green color seems to suggest, I assure you.  Occasionally, in a fit of denial, I attempt to understand and appreciate this spirit in its plainest form.  I suppose I'm just not there yet. 

However, as aforementioned, I have been pleasantly surprised by the introduction of absinthe as a recessive ingredient.  So I moved forward with the absinthe cocktail.

Absinthe No. 2

- 2 oz gin
- 1 oz absinthe
- 2 dashes of orange bitters

Glassware: chilled cocktail/martini glass

Pour gin, absinthe, and bitters into a glass with ice.  Stir until cold and strain into the cocktail glass. 

I found this particular sipper much more tolerable and, thus, applicable to a mainstream drinker's sensibilities.  All things considered, I can't say I enthusiastically enjoyed either attempt and reluctantly deem it a little bit of a failure overall, as I mentioned before.  I suspect the other MxMo participants produced more persuasive candidates for the proverbial comeback tour. 

On a more positive note, I would be very interested in tweaking the ingredients and proportions of the Absinthe No. 2 for an alternative approach sometime in the future.  In that sense, I feel pleased with maintaining the essence of Mixology Monday.

Until next month...  Cheers!

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