Today we’ve got a tasteful and tasty spin on the classic sidecar recipe. Although given your working set of ingredients you may have to substitute here and there (as I did). I want to start by highlighting my use of a VSOP Brandy in place of Metaxa (a Greek Brandy with a stronger “winey” flavor). You MAY be able to use both Brandy and some Sweet Vermouth to achieve a similar flavor to the Metaxa. The former being much easier to find than the later depending your your location, and that difference will give you a slightly different flavor profile. In addition my use of Cassis Syrup over Creme de Cassis will make my overview of it lean sweeter than it would be normally. A common variation also calls for Chambord rather than Creme de Cassis.
So, I love this drink for 2 main reasons. First is the use of the sugar rim (which is something I wish I saw in more cocktail recpies); and second is the incredible finish that keeps you going back for more. With its deep red color, you’re greeted with an incredible forward aroma of what almost smells of agave nectar. With a sip from the sugar rim you begin with a sweet and simple flavor, move to a subtle currant and lemon, then finish with a richly sweet and oaky finish. The finish is what really caught my attention with this drink. Early in your sip is just feels like a fruity sweet drink, but the complexity of the oak from the brandy to the subtle orange of the Grand Marnier makes this damn near perfect! I do wish there was more to the front and mid palette here, but I’m willing to compromise for something this good!
Alcohol Taste Rating: 7/10
Overall Rating: 9.8/10
Au Currant Sidecar
1 1/2 oz Metaxa (or VSOP Brandy)
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Creme de Cassis (or Chambord) 1 oz Grand Marnier
1 tsp Superfine Sugar
Rub the edge of a cocktail glass with the lemon wedge and rim with granulated sugar. Shake liquid ingredients and superfine sugar with ice (approx. 15 seconds). Strain into prepared glass. Garnish with a Lemon Twist.
Today we get our first taste of fall (although the start of the season is still a few weeks off). The apple swizzle highlights a new ingredient in my bar “apple brandy.” Now my recipe for this drink calls for an iced highball glass, although given the small size of the drink I feel anything bigger than a lowball or tumbler will make the drink seem silly and out of place a bit. The drink is characterized by a tan color and smells mildly of apples, but leans closer to a bourbon smell (this could be use of the applejack as it is made primarily with neutral grain spirits). The drink starts on a mild sweet then moves the a slight rum and bitters burn. The apple brandy comes through in a lingering aftertaste which makes you go back for more. If you have some apple brandy around or are thinking of picking some up this season, you may want to give this one a try. Just be sure to go easy on the bitters (or be wise about which ones you use). This is one drink where they can be overpowering. I do wonder how different this drink would be with some cherry bitters to liven up the harvest.
1/2 oz Apple Brandy 1 oz Light Rum 3/4 oz Lime Juice 2-4 Dashes of Aromatic Bitters 1 Teaspoon SugarLime Slice
Straight build over ice in a tumbler. Stir well and garnish with a lime slice.
Today I bring you one of the best drinks I’ve had since the ” ‘57 T-Bird with Arizona Plates.” The Tidal Wave has great presentation and a very inviting coconut and almond aroma. It starts tropical and sweet, moves to a stronger coconut kick, then finishes with a more alcohol amaretto and sour bite. It’s not often you get such a great mixing of flavors across your palette, but this drink delivers in every respect. On my next menu revision I’ll be doing a section of “seasonal favorites” and this is sure to make the list!
Alcohol Taste Rating: 4.5/10
Overall Rating: 9/10
1 1/2 oz Coconut Rum 1 oz Blue Curacao 3/4 oz Lime Juice 1/2 oz Amaretto 1 tablespoon Coconut Cream 1 teaspoon Sugar (Superfine if you have it) Lime Slice (Additional Garnish: Small Orchid if available)
Shake all liquid ingredients with the sugar with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish by floating a lime slice on top.