Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Campari & Me

Ah, Campari...the king of bitter-sweet amaros.  Who could deny that beautiful, red hue and the lingering bitterness with notes of pepper, quinine, and citrus?  Too bad no one really knows what goes in that beautiful bottle, though some believe Chinatto is a component (a bitter and citric fruit). This secrecy could be said for any liqueur but especially Italian amaros (they love their secrecy), so we merely have to guess and let our nose and taste buds do the sleuthing.  Here in the states, while Campari is pretty well known, and just about every well stocked bar has it, it's not as popular as it

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Featured Libation # 104: The Briar Patch

Braer Rabbit aside, I always liked the name, briar patch.  It just seemed to be a wondrous, and at the same time, mysterious place.  Visions of lush orchards along a rolling hillside with the single towering, seemingly ancient oak tree in the background float through my imagination.  This is one of the few drinks that I envision the name and work the cocktail around it.  Apples, rhubarb, orange, flavors that reflect the picturesque background of what you might find on one of those inspirational poster photographs in your dad's study right next to his Ansel Adam's collection.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Featured Libation # 103: The Departure

I've really been on a gin kick lately.  Not that I ever didn't enjoy a good gin cocktail but it seems a lot of my cocktails have been featuring what many consider the "king" spirit of choice in a craft cocktail.  What's not to like with gin's profile that includes tantalizing aromas of juniper, lemon peel, cardamon and it's dry, crisp flavor?  It lends an amazing depth of character to most cocktails and plays nicely with many different liqueurs and citrus flavors.  My style really leans towards reinterpreting classic gin concoctions and two that I have been in love with are the Aviation Cocktail and The Last Word.  I really love the herbaceous undertones of Chartreuse and the grassy, citrus notes from lime and how they play so well with many different styles of gin.  I wanted to meld the different qualities of each of those cocktails into something that was my own. 

I really liked the idea of doing a play on the Aviation Cocktail, and I looked to what seems to me a perfect gin for the job in, well, Aviation gin.  Aviation gin is a fantastic dry gin produced in small batches here in the Pacific Northwest by Co-founders Ryan Margarian and Christian Krogstad.  This gin is rich in flavors of juniper, Indian sarsaparilla, orange peel and anise.  Perfect flavor combinations for my take on the classic Aviation Cocktail which I lovingly call; The Departure.

The Departure
1-1/2 oz Aviation Gin
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
3 to 5 drops Orange Flower Water

Combine with ice, shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  No garnish.  Enjoy