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28 March 2009 @ 06:02 pm
Adventures in mixology  
A while back I was given The Art of the Bar: Cocktails Inspired by the Classics, a cookbook by the bartenders at Absinthe, an upscale cocktail bar in San Francisco that I like. Aside from making some of the concoctions in the book, it also got me to try my hand at coming up with my own drink recipes.

I'm pleased to say that recently, these experiments have been quite successful.

George Washington:
  • 1 shot (1½ oz) bourbon
  • ½ shot (¾ oz) Maraschino liqueur
  • ½ oz Cherry Heering liqueur
  • 1 splash orange flower water
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • 1 bourbon or maraschino cherry
Combine the liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the cherry.

This one is a rare example of a drink that didn't need any tweaking. The proportions turned out to be just right the first time. It was like Athena bursting fully-grown from the head of Zeus. The two different cherry liqueurs balance out with neither dominating, and match well with the bourbon. Orange bitters of course work well with fruit flavors, and keep the liqueurs from making it too sweet. The orange flower water adds a floral scent and some complexity.

It's named in honor of the first American President's childhood arboreal antics (and his still).

Shanghai 1929:
  • 1 oz white rum
  • ½ shot (¾ oz) St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • ½ shot (¾ oz) dry vermouth
  • 1 dash Peychaud's bitters
  • soda water
  • 3 mandarin orange wedges (canned in syrup)
Combine the rum, liqueurs, and bitters in a shaker and stir. Pour into a cocktail glass. Top off with soda water (about ¼–½ oz) and stir briefly. Garnish with the mandarin orange slices on a cocktail spear.

This is a very refreshing drink, and would probably be nice on a hot summer day.

I first encountered St. Germain in mini-bottle form, and quickly discovered that it works very well mixed in equal proportion with dry vermouth. All it needed was a base liquor, and I didn't want to use gin (because then it'd just be a St. Germain martini). The idea languished for a while (not much in those mini-bottles to work with!), but I started into it again more recently. My first try used a whole shot of rum and ½ oz each of the St. Germain and vermouth; it didn't have enough flavor. Another try used the 1-¾-¾ proportions, but also had a splash of orange flower water, and it ended up tasting just like slightly fizzy, diluted St. Germain. I was going to use more vermouth, but my mother suggested that maybe the orange flower water was throwing off the balance by accentuating the floral taste of the liqueur. I dropped the orange flower water, and it worked! Thanks, mom!

St. Germain tastes vaguely like lychee, hence the name of the cocktail.
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