The Norman Conquest: from England to San Diego

Last year I visited the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London and tried one of Erik Lorincz‘s creations, the Norman Conquest. It was similar to a Manhattan with a mix of bourbon and calvados as the base spirit. I love calvados so the drink captured my interest.

At the American Bar they used Woodford Reserve bourbon and Martini Rosso vermouth; at home I recreated the cocktail with Buffalo Trace and Dolin rouge for a more assertive mix. My calvados is Daron.

Then I remembered that I had tried a similar Manhattan variation with apple brandy in the past, Sam Ross’ Grandfather. He calls for applejack but I used calvados. I made them side-by-side for comparison purposes. The differences are minor – the simple syrup and orange twist in Erik Lorincz’s version, the Peychaud’s bitters in Sam Ross’ version, calvados vs. applejack, rocks vs. up. 10661170865_4c1359e330_z.jpg Continue reading

Booze and elderflowers (part 2)

I made a couple more cocktails with my homemade elderflower cordial. First I absolutely had to try Sam Ross’ Sunflower again. It’s a variation of one of my favorite cocktails, the Corpse Reviver No. 2, with elderflower replacing Lillet. I used pastis but use absinthe if you have it. I keep it in a little perfume mister which is great for drinks like this one that just call for a rinse.

The cocktail is crisp and light, but also full of flavor from the interplay of the elderflower with the botanicals of the pastis and the orange of the Cointreau. Really wonderful.

Sunflower: gin, lemon, cointreau, homemade elderflower cordial, pastis
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Booze and elderflowers

After making a cordial from wild elderflowers, for my first drink I decided to make a Far Eastern Gimlet. It’s a very simple cocktail based on the classic Gimlet where Rose’s lime juice is replaced with lemon juice and elderflower cordial, plus a dash of Angostura bitters (another well-known bartender ketchup…! I know, I know…). Originally the drink was created at the Merchant Hotel in Belfast, and it was later tweaked by Maks Pazuniak (including the dash of bitters). It has a typical Gimlet profile with a subtle elderflower flavor. It’s nice but may be a little too simple. It’s not quite unforgettable, but if you are a Gimlet fan you will like this version for sure. Trying different gins would be a good idea since the flavor is already subtle, although I would stay with a gin that is juniper-light.

Far Eastern Gimlet: gin, lemon juice, homemade elderflower cordial, angostura bitters
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