Probably the most satisfying part of any mixologists craft is the chance to use ingredients from all over the world. Whether it be a spirit, liqueur, herb or sweetener, there are unique and wondrous flavors abound. Our good friend Stewart Putney from the excellent Putney Farm blog has given us a great reminder of this. In fact, it is his chosen theme as host for this month’s Mixology Monday, Intercontinental. Here is what Stewart has to say:
“Everywhere we travel these days we see cocktails on the menu. And not just here in the USA, but all around the world. And that’s not only the drinks, but the ingredients as well. Nowadays when we look behind most bars we see spirits, liqueurs, aromatic wines, bitters, herbs, spices, tools and glassware from all corners of the globe. So let’s celebrate the global reach of cocktails with an “Intercontinental” Mixology Monday challenge. Create a cocktail with “ingredients” from at least 3, but preferably 4,5 or 6 continents. And if you can include Antarctica, then you get a Gold Star. And remember, sometimes the tools used, glassware, names or back stories of cocktails are important “ingredients”. Creativity and a bit of narrative exploration are encouraged. So if you have been waiting on buying that bottle of Japanese Scotch, Bundaberg rum from Australia, Pisco or Cachaca from South America or Madagascar vanilla, now may be the time to try them out….except for the Bundy…trust us on that. Have fun.”
One of the advantages of running a bar program is that you have access to almost any ingredient you wish to get your hands on. Now, I could try to use some obscure, hard to find liqueur or long-lost ingredients from which to craft from, but I find sometimes the simplest ways are usually the best. The challenge is not just simply what continents I wish to feature, but more importantly what flavors. I’ve been using more spice and honey style ingredients as of late since it seems to be that time of year where people like a bit of richness and complexity in their cocktails. I’ve always liked the combination of gin and celery as the vegetable and botanicals pair quite well, and for this particular instance I opted for some Hayman’s Old Tom gin from the U.K., celery bitters from a local producer here in Seattle, WA., Scrappy’s, and some artichoke liqueur from my go to Cynar from Italy. As for the honey, I thought an underutilized liqueur, Drambuie, would be a perfect complement to the slightly sweet Old Tom gin and the herbaceous Cynar.
This challenge was coming together nicely, but I was still missing at least one more continent. North America and Europe were out-of-the-way but I needed a minimum of three to technically fall within the rules. I was talking earlier about spice but I didn’t want to use too intense of an ingredient to drown out the other wonderful flavors and aromas. Well, how ’bout reaching for something that would bring both flavor and complexity but without trying to have a solo performance to our intercontinental orchestra? I don’t know about you but I find the tried and true Angostura bitters seems to do the trick 9 out of 10 times. Plus, it’s produced on the island country of Trinidad and Tobago in South America so I’m still within the necessary constraints. And, more importantly, the cocktail tasted pretty damn good. Cheers!
The Thirsty Traveler
1 3/4 oz Hayman’s Old Tom Gin
3/4 oz Drambuie
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 tsp Acid Phosphate
dash Scrappy’s Celery Bitters
dash of Angostura Bitters
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir for about 30 to 40 revolutions, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and enjoy.
Color: Golden, light brown
Flavor: Botanical gin balanced by honey, herbs, spice and hint of crisp celery and citrus
Texture: Silky and smooth drinking