- Recipes made so far: 9/85
- Difficulty level: 4/5
- Originality: 4/5
From the archives…
November 23, 2015
I’ve been eyeing this book since I heard about its release. For me, a cocktail book with a French slant is a hugely appealling. I flipped through it at my local bookstore and was compelled to buy it when I saw a recipe calling for Byrrh, along with a few re-interpreted classics. The recipes are not overly complex and generally don’t call for esoteric ingredients. If you have Sam Ross’ Bartender’s Choice app, it’s in the same vein but with a definite French (and international) touch, with recipes calling for things like Suze, Armagnac or Japanese whisky. I found that refreshing and inspiring.
Measurements are given in milliliters and ounces, and were probably conceived in metric so they can be a bit unusual sometimes, but this is not a big deal at all. Each recipe is provided with a little background about its creation or general concept, which I always find the most interesting part of these types of books.
The first thing I mixed was the cocktail with Byrrh. It had quite a few other ingredients, but luckily I had everything already on hand.
Handsome Jack (Chris Tanner) with Rittenhouse straight rye, Pierre Ferrand 1840, Aperol, Byrrh, green Chartreuse, maple syrup, Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters.
As indicated in the book, it is slightly on the sweet side but it has a slight bitterness that compensates for that (from the Byrrh and Aperol). The flavor is deep and complex. There is almost like a chestnut note with the maple syrup and cognac, and a nice kick from the rye. A very good fall/winter drink.
November 24, 2015
Here is Winnie the Pooh, a rum-based relative of Eeyore’s Requiem, aka a Negroni variation with a Cynar & Fernet kick.
I made it with Plantation 3 Stars + batavia arrack (substituted for Banks 5 Island white rum), Campari, Dolin white vermouth, Fernet-Branca, Cynar, Fee West Indian and Regan’s orange bitters.
November 25, 2015
Third up is the Nourishment, which on paper is a weird mix of tequila, dry vermouth, violet and citrus. It felt like the right thing though. I have a gorgeous bottle of Ocho plata that is super aromatic, and I was in the mood for a sour, for a change.
The drink is described as a Corpse Reviver No. 2 relative (it is in its structure, for sure) but its taste is actually more reminiscent of an Aviation to me. I’ve had tequila-based Aviations in the past (where you just substitute tequila for the gin) and they are not that great. But here the dry vermouth closes the gap between the tequila and the violet; it was very harmonious and even the absinthe blended in instead of standing out like a sore thumb.
There is some commonality with a very nice drink from PDT which also scuccessfully pairs violet and Tequila, the Aguila Azteca.
Nourishment with 2014 Ocho blanco tequila, Noilly Prat extra dry vermouth, lime, lemon, R&W violette liqueur, St. George absinthe.
1 oz tequila
1 oz dry vermouth
2 tsp lime juice
2 tsp lemon juice
1 oz violette mix* (reduced to 1/2 oz)
6 dashes absinthe
*violette mix = 2 parts violet liqueur, 1 part simple syrup
November – December 2105
Classic Ripoff (Alex Skarlen) with High West Double Rye! straight rye whiskey, Martini Gran Lusso vermouth, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, lemon, Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters. The addition of lemon juice to something that was build based on a Manhattan / Brooklyn was interesting. It gave it a lighter feel.
Brazilian Prescription with Leblon cachaça, Noilly Prat extra dry vermouth, St Elizabeth allspice dram, acacia honey, lemon juice.
This cocktail was inspired by the Sangaree, a type of drink typically made from wine which predates the Sangria. In this example, it is build with cachaça which immediately gives it a different, lighter vibe. Pairing cachaça with dry vermouth is unexpected but somehow it works, with the allspice liqueur adding a healthy dose of spice.
Arrackiri (Damien Aries) with batavia arrack, lime juice, agave syrup, yellow Chartreuse, Vida mezcal, Boy Drinks World serrano tincture.
This drink is not to be confused with Phil Ward’s drink, the Arrackuiri, a sour with batavia arrack and pomegranate molasses that is described in the Death & Co Cocktail Book.
Kudos on making something harmonious on a base of batavia arrack, which is notoriously difficult to work with. This may be the best example I’ve tried to date.
Vieux Rectangle (Arthur Come) with Pierre Ferrand 1840 cognac, Martini Gran Lusso vermouth, Aperol, Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters, St. George absinthe. This is a great example of a drink build on the Vieux Carré template. This re-interpretation uses cognac alone as the base, and swaps out the Benedictine for some Aperol and absinthe.
February 25, 2016
From the “Friends” section, a modern take on the Dark & Stormy, The Perfect Storm (Alastair Burgess) with dark rum (Lost Spirits Polynesian-inspired rum), vieille prune aged plum eau-de-vie (Etter), lemon juice, honey syrup, ginger juice (BG Reynolds ginger syrup). I had tried it before with El Dorado 8. It’s wonderful with the Polynesian-inspired rum – you get pineapple and banana notes (the ginger blends really well with the other ingredients and isn’t obvious at all), it’s boozy and very complex.
May 17, 2016
Another one from the “Friends” section, the Meat Hook (Shaun Layton) with Rittenhouse 100 rye whiskey, Cocchi vermouth di Torino, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, Laphroaig 10 year Scotch whisky. It’s a great Red Hook variation! I liked how the peat in the scotch counter the relatively heaviness of the drink.
- Review of the book on Eater.