Mixology Monday – Superior Twists
One of the many reasons for starting this blog was to connect to fellow bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts from around the world. Mixology Monday is an online cocktail party that does just that. It connects people from around the world and provides a way to endlessly riff on a particular theme. Having such a valuable resource and knowledgeable community to be a part of is truly an honor. I’d like to personally thank all involved and can’t wait to share my ideas and findings. Click the Mixology Monday link above to get a full rundown of exactly what it’s all about.
For my first foray into the MxMo scene, the theme this month is Superior Twists hosted by The Wild Drink Blog. Tristan Stephenson blogs out of the UK and has brought up a great, simple idea. Put your twist on a classic. Easy enough right? As a professional working in the industry I feel that is a quintessential component to our everyday job, riffing on the classics. Like a good jazz musician knows his standards, so too must a bartender be familiar with the classics. Once you have the basics nailed down, improvisation comes easy.
Another element to the theme, Tristan asks, “What is your favorite song to twist to?” That’s an easy one for me. Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell” is such a great swingin number it’s no wonder Quentin Tarantino opted to use it in Jack Rabbit Slim’s Twist contest.
The cocktail I chose to twist is the Pisco Sour. Pisco is one of the lesser known spirits used in the States these days, but I feel more and more bartenders are starting to understand it and use it more often. Pisco is a grape brandy with a character all its own. It’s traditionally made from the muscat grape in both Peru and Chile. For a very in depth view of Pisco click here. Here’s the recipe for the original.
3.4oz. fresh lemon juice
1oz. simple syrup
1 small egg white
2 drops of Angostura Bitters
Dry shake all of ingredients first to start emulsifying the egg white. Then add ice and continue to shake for about 10 seconds. Strain into a small cocktail glass and carefully drop bitters into center of froth.
When done right, I absolutely love this cocktail. It’s simple, to the point and refreshing. So why mess with a good thing you ask? Because I can. Plain and simple. Now let’s twist.
For my twisted up Pisco Sour I’ve decided to keep the structure of the cocktail in tact, but try to better highlight the wonderful flavor of Pisco. The Pisco I’ve chosen for this application is Pisco Capel Reservado. Pisco Capel is produced in northern Chile. It is a blend of 30% Muscat grapes and 70% Pedro Jimenez and Torontel grapes, then aged in wooden casks for four to six months. It is slowly distilled with crystal-clear water from the high Andes Mountains, resulting in a transparent spirit with delicate bouquet. Perfect for my concoction. Pretty cool bottle too. This bottle was actually purchased in Chile, thus the Easter Island idol shape.
You Never Can Tell
1.5oz. Pisco Capel Reservado
1oz. fresh blood orange juice
1/2oz. fresh lemon juice
1oz. Scented Geranium simple syrup (recipe below)
1/2 an egg white
2 drops Fee Brothers Orange Bitters
Garnish with scented geranium flower
Dry shake all ingredients first to start emulsifying the egg white. Add ice and continue shaking for 10 seconds. Strain into small cocktail glass and then place flower in center of froth.
Scented Geranium Simple Syrup
1cup cane sugar
1 packed cup Scented Geranium leaves
In a small sauce pan over low heat combine sugar and water and whisk until combined. Bring temperature up but do not boil. Just before syrup starts to boil take off heat, add leaves and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh chinois. I like to add a cap full of vodka to help stabilize it and preserve it. Don’t worry, the vodka won’t harm the delicate flavor.
I’d like to thank Nathan Peitso of Maggie’s Farm and Kenter Canyon Farms here in Southern California for turning me on to this delicious and fragrant herb. It adds a deep, rich, lemony and very herbal character to the cocktail and matches well with some of the funky nature of pisco.
All in all this was a fun excersise to break a classic cocktail out of its shell. I was very happy with the way the cocktail remained balanced and refreshing. I like the herbal notes added as well as the sweet/tart properties of the blood orange. This is a very easy cocktail to make at home and if you have a farmer’s market near you the scented geranium can be replaced by a number of different herbs. Half the fun is figuring out what you can plug and play.