Measure & Stir

I make drinks


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Flamed Pisco Sour

Writing code all day will make just about anyone feel crazy, and last Monday the monotony was starting to get to me, so I walked down to my neighborhood Sur La Table, and I bought myself a flamethrower. If you are putting together the menu for a bar, a flamed drink serves two purposes; first, it gets the attention of all your patrons, and incites them to order “the one with the fire”, which hopefully equals more sales. Second, it’s flipping awesome.

Jeffrey Morgenthaler describes a technique for flaming a drink in which he fills a pressurized olive-oil sprayer with a mixture of bitters and Stroh 160, and then uses it to flame the surface of a Pisco Sour. The Pisco sour is an ideal candidate for this treatment, because it is made with an egg white, and as such has a rich, foamy head. You could garnish any mixed drink with scorched bitters, and it impart the same aroma, but egg white drinks have the added bonus that you can caramelize the top of the foam, capturing the the flavor of the bitters as well.

The garnish in a drink should look beautiful, but it also plays a functional role most of the time: it gives the drink most of its aroma. A mixed drink does not have a strong smell, but a fresh herb, spice, or citrus peel completes the experience of the drink. In that sense, scorched bitters is the garnish, even though it leaves no tangible artifact in the glass.

Some men just want to watch the world burn. In order to take this picture, I had to spray fire all over the egg white for about three times as long as you’re supposed to, and the surface that was touched by the flame turned into a paper film with the flavor of crème brûlée, and a texture that I wouldn’t serve to anyone whom I actually liked. As a matter of fact, it took me three of these before I got it right, but the research was not unpleasant.

You probably know all about the Pisco Sour–Pisco is a type of pomace brandy, similar to grappa, and is the national spirit of Peru.  Moreover, the Pisco Sour is the Peruvian national cocktail, which they celebrate on the first Saturday of every February. It is a very simple drink, but there are a couple of interesting details, which I shall discuss momentarily.

Scorched Pisco Sour
1.5 oz Pisco
.75 oz Lime Juice
.5 oz Simple Syrup
1 Egg White

Dry shake* and then add ice and shake again. Double strain into a cocktail glass. Fill an olive-oil sprayer with a mixture of Angostura bitters and 151 rum (or Stroh 160) and burn the top of the egg white foam for a few seconds.

If your drink looks like the one in my picture, you actually overdid it with the fire. You don’t want a slimy membrane of burned meringue on top of your drink. Most Pisco sour recipes only call for half an egg white, but I like to use a whole one in this kind of application, to guarantee that you have plenty of foam to work with.

The traditional garnish for a Pisco sour is freshly-grated nutmeg, and I honestly prefer that to the more common (in the states) clover made out of angostura bitters. Scorching the bitters is a fun variation, however, and worth it just for the pyrotechnics.

*A note on dry shaking your sour: I always used to find that, when dry-shaking my drinks, little droplets from the drink would escape from my shaker and get all over my hands and clothes. This frustrated me greatly, because in order to properly dry-shake a drink, you need to shake it mightily, and in so doing whip up the egg white into a rich foam. I asked around on the internet, and they told me that the temperature of a drink with ice is what prevents it from breaking through the seal on your shaker. So for this drink, I placed a single ice cube in the shaker for my “dry” shake, and I was delighted to discover that the drink did not leak.


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Gin Daisy

I swear there is a classic cocktail with this (or very nearly this) recipe, but I can’t remember what it is for the life of me, so I’m just going to call it a gin daisy. After I had the good fortune to acquire a bottle of Clement Creole Shrub, I felt a strong impulse to make a drink that would highlight this marvelous liqueur. Gin is often the most unobtrusive spirit when you need a modifying flavor agent to take the front seat, so I decided to make a gin Daisy. A daisy is simply a sour in which the sweetening agent is a liqueur instead of a syrup, and it is generally served up.

To insure the proper balance, we built this drink iteratively, tasting every element as it was added. This process is essential when mixing with unfamiliar ingredients, but sometimes it can take you in an unexpected direction. After building the basic sour, something was missing, so we added a quarter ounce of dry vermouth, and it contributed the exact flavors and complexity that the drink was missing.

Gin Daisy

1.5 oz Gin (Hayman’s Old Tom)
.5 oz lemon juice
.5 oz Orange Liqueur (Clement Creole Shrubb)
.25 oz Dry Vermouth (Dolin)

Shake over ice and double-strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange wheel.

I confess, my orange wheel was having some structural integrity issues, but it made a good enough photo, and still served the essential purpose of contributing fresh orange notes to the aroma of the drink. Gin Daisies are highly underrated in my opinion, and a great way to beat the heat.


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Raspberry Caipirinha

Raspberries are in season, just begging us to make use of their sunny, jammy flavors. Moreover, I just purchased a new bottle of Cachaça, because every once in a while I get that Caipirinha itch. Let’s see if we can play matchmaker with those.

Cachaça is mostly produced in Brazil, where 390 million gallons are consumed annually, compared with 4 million gallons outside the country. I don’t know about you, but I am doing my part to beat the Brazilians and put the US on the map for Cachaça consumption. USA! USA! USA! And of course, the Caipirinha is the national cocktail of Brazil, but to be honest, I find the combo of lime, sugar, and (essentially) very funky rum to be a little one-note and boring, so I like to add in one other fruit, which varies according to my mood.

Unfortunately, such a drink is technically called a Capifruta, but sometimes the technically correct is also the hopelessly ugly, and “Capifruta” sounds really grating to my American ears, whereas Caipirinha does not. Unlike economics or physics, this is an instance where judicious use of language can actually shape reality, so I will refrain from calling this drink by its “correct” name.

I never add more than one fruit besides lime, because we’re making a mixed drink, not a big bowl of mashed up fruit. Sometimes I use kumquats, and then I omit the lime altogether.

Raspberry Caipirinha

2 oz Cachaça (Pitú)
3 – 4 lime wedges (aim for .5 oz of juice)
4 – 5 raspberries
.5 oz simple syrup

Place raspberries and limes in a mixing glass and muddle thoroughly. Shake over ice and then pour the entire contents of the shaker into an old-fashioned glass. The smashed up lime wedges are the garnish.

The process I described here is the traditional way, as far as I know, and it is the one I followed for this photograph, but I did not enjoy the little pieces of ice floating on top of the drink, and I don’t think anyone else would, either, so I suggest finely straining this over fresh cracked ice and then garnishing it with a fresh lime wedge.

It won’t quite have the rustic feeling if you do it that way, but it will produce a more polished drinking experience. Rough up the garnish limes a little if you really need to.

Much like the old fashioned, you could use caster sugar instead of simple syrup, and the granules of sugar would macerate the lime peel a little more effectively than simple muddling, releasing more lime oil. As with the old fashioned, I will mention that the ROI on this procedure is very small, but you can do it if you feel exceptionally fancy. You will really want to use caster sugar, though, so as to avoid undissolved sugar granules in the final drink, which you will agree is much worse than slightly less lime oil.

Cheers.


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Vanilla Whiskey Fix

You may notice a marked difference in the quality of the photography in this post. For that, I need to thank my friends Michael Schmid, John Sim, and Matt Barraro, for having an awesome camera and technical skills, and for contributing their time to taking pictures of some of my drinks.

Today I present a twist on a classic, the whiskey fix. Fixes and Sours are the two broad categories of short punch, with the difference between them being that a fix is served over ice, whereas a sour is served up. Neither is diluted with an aqueous element such as soda water or ginger beer. One of the first drinks I learned to make, and one of the most accessible, is the whiskey sour. The basic formula for a sour or a fix is:

2 oz of base spirit
.75 oz of lemon or lime juice
.5 oz of syrup.

Shake over ice and double strain.

With the difference being that a fix should be strained over fresh ice into an old-fashioned glass, and a sour should be strained into a cocktail glass or, if you listen to Andy, a sour goblet. A sour becomes a daisy if it is modified with a liqueur instead of a syrup. Adding a bit of liqueur to a sour made with syrup makes it fancy — curaçao or maraschino are the common choices, but any high quality liqueur is acceptable.

It is sometimes desirable to thicken a sour or a fix with an egg white, in which case one must first “dry shake” the drink, which is to say, shake it without ice, to foam the egg white, before shaking it with ice. In the winter time, an egg white is very appealing, but in the summer, I usually choose to omit it.

Whiskey Fix
1.5 oz vanilla-infused bourbon (Buffalo Trace)
.75 oz lemon juice
.5 oz brown sugar syrup

Shake over ice, double-strain over fresh ice.
Garnish with fruits in season (lychees).

I love vanilla-bean infused bourbon whiskey, and I always keep a bottle on hand. It takes about one week for the vanilla flavor to fully mature in the whiskey, though many whiskey-lovers might find that this is treating the whiskey a little too harshly, and indeed, one ought not to give this treatment to a whiskey that is too fine. I wouldn’t go cheaper than Evan Williams, but I also wouldn’t go more expensive than Buffalo Trace or Bulleit. Vanilla brings out the oaky qualities in the bourbon, and adds a little more interest to the relatively commonplace whiskey sour.

My friend James made this drink in my house about a month ago, and he chose to use brown sugar syrup instead of simple. Since then, I have made it this way exclusively, and it’s a drink that I will serve to any guest in a pinch.

It is proper to garnish a fix with seasonal fruit, as they contribute interesting aromas, and add a fancy, festive quality to the presentation. I just happened to have these lychees on the day that we took the pictures, and after de-pitting them carefully with a paring knife, I skewered them with bamboo and set it on top of the glass. Most people don’t eat lychees very often, at least in the U.S., so the opportunity to eat an uncommon tropical fruit adds even more intrigue to the experience.

If you don’t have lychees, I have also garnished this with fresh pineapple, and with raspberries, and both are great.


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Morgenthaler’s Amaretto Sour

After all those Bloody Maries, I was craving dessert, so I decided to make Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s Amaretto Sour. Since he serves it on the rocks, it’s technically an Amaretto fix, but why quibble? The basic recipe (I’m no historian, but the one I know) is 1.5 oz of Amaretto and .75 oz of lemon juice. I like to add Regan’s orange bitters, because they are light, and they add a pleasant orangey tang to the drink without killing the bright flavors from the lemon. Mr. Morgenthaler takes it in a different direction, modifying the liqueur with some cask-strength bourbon. In his recipe he uses Booker’s, and I just so happen to have some.

Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s Amaretto Sour

1.5 oz amaretto (Luxardo)
.75 oz cask-proof bourbon (Booker’s)
1 oz lemon juice
1 tsp. 2:1 simple syrup
.5 oz egg white, beaten

Shake and strain over ice. Garnish with a lemon peel and brandied cherries.

I’m not always in the mood for an egg white sour, but it’s a nice indulgence once in a while. The bourbon added a pleasing oaky quality to the drink, and made it much dryer, but I didn’t think it was worthy of all of the braggadocio in the blog entry. Given a choice, I would probably pick this version of the drink over the classic. I like egg white drinks, but the use of amaretto as a base makes this drink so rich that the egg is almost unwelcome.

It was a very nice place to stay, and I will make it again, but even so, my quest for the perfect amaretto sour continues.


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Bloody Mary Workshop

In Seattle, there is no such thing as summer — there is only a faint impression of summer, a flickering shadow on the wall of a cave. We are in thrall to a sad facsimile and yet! there are heirloom tomatoes. When life gives you lemons… make a whiskey sour. When life gives you tomatoes, however… you are placed in the unfortunate spot of having to make Bloody Maries.

I have never enjoyed a Bloody Mary; on the few occasions that I have ordered one, or had one ordered for me, I have found no pleasure whatsoever in drinking, essentially, campbell’s soup mixed with vodka and, if one is fortunate, fresh lemon juice. Let us be perfectly honest. This drink sucks.

In an attempt to make it better, many bartenders adopt a kitchen sink approach, in which they add every savory ingredient they can get their hands on. Pickles, bell peppers, carrots, celery, shrimp, onion, a boiled egg — all of these elements improve the drink only in the sense that they distract the imbiber from the ugly, ugly truth, which I will reiterate: you are drinking boiled tomato puree mixed with vodka.

And yet, in my heart I knew that the idea had potential, and I wanted to reclaim this drink by starting with its most fundamental component: the tomato juice itself. The texture of a Bloody Mary is wholly unappealing. Even when it is smooth, as with v8, it has a viscosity that can only come from treatment with heat.

Indeed, I do not know whether the flavor or the texture is more objectionable, but they both had to go. My friends and I started by juicing organic heirloom tomatoes, and then straining the juices through a fine-mesh strainer. We separated them by color, so at the end of the process we had three different varieties of tomato juice, in order from sweetest to tartest:

  • a deep purple, made from cherokee purple tomatoes
  • a ruby red, made from brandywine tomatoes
  • an orange-yellow, made from yellow valencia tomatoes, I think

In addition to tomato juice, we also produced (and finely-strained) juices from cucumbers, lemons, and jalapeños. The straining was very important, because one of my objectives for this workshop was to produce a drink with a velvety, elegant texture, and in so doing elevate the Bloody Mary above it’s decidedly blue collar milieu.

And speaking of elevation, the vodka simply had to go. In truth I ended up using some vodka, but I also sought the richer flavors of gin, tequila, caol ila scotch whiskey, mezcal, and amaro (not pictured). With all of our reagents prepped, we set forth to impart a touch of class to the bloody mary.

#1: Bloody Mary Queen of Scot

1 oz finely strained yellow valencia tomato juice
1 oz vodka
.5 oz Caol Ila 12 year scotch whiskey
.5 oz lemon juice
.5 oz cucumber juice
1 dash jalapeño juice
1 dash Angostura bitters
pinch of salt

Shake over ice and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a thai chili and a fresh grind of black pepper.

The sourness from the yellow tomatoes made this a very bright, tangy short punch with just enough spice from the jalapeño and smokey bacony notes from the Caol Ila. Tomato juice is very rich, even strained like this, and the imbiber quickly fatigues of it, so we did not have time to iterate each of these recipes to perfection. If I attempt this recipe again, I will use slightly less lemon, and change the proportion to .75 oz of vodka and .75 oz of Caol Ila. I might also consider Laphroaig.

This was nothing like a traditional Bloody Mary, and that was a good thing. All of the flavors were evident in the experience of the drink, with bright flavors evident on the sip and savory scotch and tomato on the swallow, and a pleasing capsaicin burn on the finish. I tried to garnish it with a cucumber slice, but it sank to the bottom, ignominiously.

#2: Bloody Maria

1 oz finely strained brandywine tomato juice
1 oz platinum tequila
.5 oz mezcal
.75 oz cucumber juice
dash of jalapeño juice
dash of angostura bitters
pinch of salt
Shake over ice and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a thai chili and a fresh grind of black pepper.

Of the four, this was by far the least delicious variation. It was missing something, and no one could really say what. We tried modifying it with a barspoon of simple syrup — to no avail, and with a barspoon of lemon juice, and the end result was even worse. Still, it was a learning experience, and there were several takeaways: Mezcal and tomato juice is a delicious combination. The pepper and the cucumber and the tomato gave this a real flavor of a garden salad, much more than with the previous drink, where the less familiar flavor of yellow valencia tomatoes was less evocative of other dishes.

I realized later that this would have been great in a highball, over ice cubes or even cracked ice. If nothing else, it had a very appealing color, and probably resembled a traditional bloody mary more than any of the other variations. I’m still learning to consider the dynamics of pouring a drink over ice vs. serving it neat. Being colder and more dilute would have made the flavor lighter and the drink more refreshing, which would have made it more appropriate for summer. I also think it would have highlighted the cucumber element.

#3: Pale Mary (like “Hail Mary”)

2 oz yellow valencia tomato water*
1.5 oz vodka
.25 oz platinum tequila
.25 oz cucumber juice
1 barspoon lemon juice
pinch of salt

Stir over cracked ice and strain. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Of all the drinks in the workshop, this one was our most anticipated. After straining the orange tomato juice through a fine mesh strainer, we poured five ounces or so through a chemex filter, and it slowly dripped down into a glass, yielding a fragrant, orange-tinted water. Despite its clarity, the tomato water had a noteworthy viscosity, though its flavor was as light as its color. Not wanting to overwhelm it with powerful flavors, I initially stuck with the basics of vodka and lemon. That was a little too plain for me, so I added the vegetal hues of tequila and cucumber to round out the flavor.

Stirring  the Pale Mary provided us with an elegant texture, but alas, drinking so much tomato, no matter how processed, proved to be very taxing. If this had been my first drink, I would have enjoyed it much more. I’m not sure if the end result was worth the time it took, but this was the most interesting drink, and it is assuredly worthy of your breakfast.

My only wish for improvement: a basil leaf garnish, smacked.

*Note: to make tomato water, first prepare a chemex filter as you would for coffee, by saturating it with boiling water. Pour the juice into the filter and allow it to fall through. I got about 1.5 oz per hour.

#4: Mary, Truffle Hunter

1.5 oz finely strained purple cherokee tomato juice
1 oz + 1 dash amaro al tartufo
pinch of salt

Shake over ice, garnish with a razor thin slice of truffle. (I did not do this part)

After three very savory drinks, I had two goals: something digestive, to calm the stomach and something sweet, to serve as dessert. The purple cherokee tomatoes produced the sweetest juice of the different cultivars we tried. I did not want to completely depart from the theme, however, and I still needed to complement the bold umami flavors of heirloom tomato.

Fortunately, my friend Gualtiero brought me a bottle of this truffle-flavored amaro the last time he was in Italy. Amaro al Tartufo is sweet and only slightly bitter. Fruity on the sip, it lingers after the swallow with an earthy truffle vapor . I was very pleased that the truffle came through in this mix, and the change of pace from the previous drinks made it the unexpected favorite.

I will probably not make a Bloody Mary again for a while, but when I do, I will explore bacon fat-infused bourbon and one or two savory bitters. Special thanks to my friends James and Julian for helping with the prep work and for putting up with these ridiculous drinks, and also to Julian for naming #3 and #4.


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Pina Colada, Pineapple Vessel

Happy Monday!

Doug from the Pegu Blog taught me the idea of turning a pineapple upside down and cutting the leaves to make a stem, such that the upside-down pineapple becomes a goblet for a drink. The recipe he gives there is deliciously rummy, but I wanted to get my blend on, so I got some coconut milk from the local asian market, and blended it with lime juice and dark rum. I saved some nice-looking leaves from the pineapple base and skewered them on a toothpick for a quick and dirty garnish. A longer bamboo skewer would have looked a lot better, but as it is it reminded me of a little sailboat, taking me to some exotic tropical destination.

I learned to blend before I learned to mix drinks, and I love to make a good smoothie, even without booze.

I don’t make frozen drinks very often, but since we’re on the subject, I thought I would share here some tips on creating the optimal blend. Unfortunately, when I blend I go by feel, so I don’t have an exact ratio to give you.

Pina Colada

Fresh pineapple, cut into chunks

Unsweetened Coconut milk (use the kind that comes in a can like this)

Fresh lime juice

Simple syrup

Dark Rum

Ice

Blend first without ice, to gauge the flavor, and then again with ice.

There’s no magic to making a good pina colada, but rather you must exercise your good taste, and strive for a balance of flavors which captures the essence of the pina colada. In a perfect preparation, there will be about 2.5 times as much ice by volume as pineapple chunks, and the coconut milk will add the necessary aqueous element to allow the blades of the blender to turn smoothly. Even with my ridiculously powerful vitamix, if the drink is too dry, the blades will form a little vaccuum around themselves at the bottom the blender, and turn without turning the drink.

Blending all of the ice into a slushy texture dramatically increases the dilution of the drink, and makes it very cold, so it becomes necessary to add a small quantity of simple syrup. Otherwise, the ice will numb the tongue, and the drink will be bland.

I suggest blending the fruit and juice before introducing the other ingredients, so that you can establish a good baseline of flavor before committing to ice. You probably want a ratio of about 2/3 blended pineapple to 1/3 coconut milk, and about 1/2 oz of simple syrup for every five ounces of fruit, but I just made those numbers up. Keep the lime in parity with the simple syrup, and constantly taste it.

Is the coconut fully expressed in combination with the pineapple? if not, add a bit more. Is the total drink sweet enough? Before it is iced, it should be just slightly sweeter than you want the final product. Once you have perfected your smoothie, add about 3 oz of rum per person, and then blend with ice. Hollowing out a pineapple is kind of a pain, but it’s worth it once in a while to beat the heat.


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Yarai Mixing Glass

My good friend James was kind enough to get me this Yarai Mixing Glass as a housewarming gift. It took its sweet time in getting here, but now that it is, I am thrilled. This mixing glass is a work of art. The heavy base allows one to stir a drink without holding the glass, freeing the other hand to shake or stir another drink. The glass itself is a perfect circumference, giving the user an excellent range of motion for the bar spoon and a fine window into the drink’s level of dilution.

For my inaugural drink in my new mixing glass, I wanted to make a classic stirred cocktail that would truly help me appreciate this method of mixing. The Manhattan was the first cocktail I ever learned to make, and it remains one of my all-time favorites. Different choices of base spirit and vermouth will result in different optimum ratios, and personal taste also makes a huge impact, but for my money, 3:1 is is my baseline, and for Eagle Rare 10 year and Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, it was perfect.

Manhattan

1.5 oz Bourbon (Eagle Rare)
.5 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi Vermouth di Torino)
Dash of Aromatic Bitters (Angostura)

Stir slowly over cracked ice, and gently strain into a cocktail glass. Classic garnish is a cherry, but I do not always have brandied cherries on hand, and it’s not a big deal.*

I can’t believe I’d been stirring drinks this long in the stainless steel half of my Boston shaker, when stirred perfection was just a quick order away. If you love stirred drinks as much as I do, the control and precision offered by the Yarai mixing glass is simply a must-have.

My only complaint is that even with the weighted base, the glass can slip around a little bit on a low-friction surface. An attentive mixologist will place it upon a mat or towel for stabilization.

*Normally, the garnish is immensely important, as it forms the backbone of the drink’s aroma. Cherries are the one exception, as they contribute nothing to the aroma at all. Don’t even waste your time with those red superball “maraschino” cherries — they suck. If you have a truly delicious brandied cherry, that’s worth it, but it does not make the drink itself any better. It’s just a tasty snack.


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Diamondback

Another one I found via Looka, the Diamondback is a drink to be reckoned with. I looked up this drink on the internet, and I found that most people say to stir it. That is certainly what intuition would suggest, as the drink contains only spirits, but the instructions at that particular blog said to shake it. I was intrigued by the idea, because it goes against the norm, and I was actually very glad I did. The aeration and texture of the drink were a pleasant change of pace for an aromatic cocktail, and it helped to tame the burn of rye+brandy+green chartreuse, which is a very high proof mixture.

Diamondback

1.5 oz rye (Old Overholt)

.75 oz apple brandy (Laird’s bonded)

.75 oz green Chartreuse

Shake and double-strain.

The Diamondback is probably not for the faint of heart, but I always find green Chartreuse has a cinnamon flavor hiding in all of those herbs, and with the spice from the rye and the apple, I felt like I was drinking an apple pie. The blend of flavors was exquisite, and elegant. Chuck Taggart mentioned that he had this drink at the Zig Zag Cafe, and after I made it, I realized that so had I, but I didn’t remember. It’s hard to know for certain, but I think I had it shaken there, too.

The general rule is that you should only shake a drink if it contains fresh juices or thickening agents such as cream or egg, and otherwise it should be stirred or swizzled, or occasionally built. Once in a while, it’s good to break the rules.

The lack of bitters in this drink is intriguing, as most aromatic cocktails benefit from the bassline flavors of a cocktail bitter. In fact, a drink is not properly labelled a cocktail if it contains no bitters, so the Diamondback is not a cocktail in the David Embury sense of the the word; rather it is an ensemble, which is a mixed drink made exclusively of spirits, often sweet enough to be served as dessert.


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flying cucumber

With all the hullaballoo about the aviation, it seemed like the right time for this post. Last year I bought a juicer, and it opened up a world of mixed drink possibilities. Everyone wants to have the coolest, sleekest gadget around, but I got mine from a second hand store for twenty dollars. Although it’s no Champion, it gets the job done, and I get to enjoy its tasteful mauve 80s aesthetic.

Last March I had the feeling the spring was upon us, and to celebrate I juiced a whole english cucumber, skin and all. As you can tell, I am a wild man. The skin made the juice come out in a rich forest green color, but it also added a discordant sensation of chlorophyll, which took away from the bracing, crisp quality that any presentation of cucumber aspires to have.

Gin and cucumber go together like peanut butter and jelly, and once I started thinking down that road, it did not take long for me to hit upon the idea of using it in an Aviation. I think everyone in the world who cares has heard of the Aviation by now, and most people have moved on, but I am a real sucker for floral flavors and I have trouble letting go.  Using my tremendous mathematical prowess, I decided that Aviation + cucumber juice = The Flying Cucumber, but it turned out that A Dash of Bitters had already claimed that name, so I had to get creative:

The Flying Cucumber #2

2 oz Gin (Plymouth)
1 oz Fresh Cucumber Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
1/4 oz of Violet Syrup (Monin)

Shake over ice and double strain.

The Aviation is intended to have a subtle purple-bluish color, evocative of a clear, open sky, whereas my drink was the color of a swamp, and just a bit muddy. Obviously, I will peel my cucumber in the future, which will also provide a much smoother texture, more appropriate to the original spirit of the drink. Other than that, the cucumber juice was mild and a perfect complement to the violet, capturing the romance of spring.