Perhaps one of the most difficult skills an aspiring cocktail maker can grasp is inspiration. Inspiration is the culmination of knowledge, skill and passion, and it only comes about through an understanding of ingredients, technique, and cocktail theory. There’s nothing more exciting and terrifying than standing in front of a bar with an empty glass and combining ingredients in a new and innovative way to make a satisfying cocktail. Therefore, you should be encouraged to steal from those that came before. Please note I’m not referring to outright theft of drinks, but using what is available to create new, interesting cocktails.
The difficulty lies in that innovation is the synthesis of knowledge. Knowledge and the ability to understand its component parts must be the basis of innovation, which means that a well stocked bar comes first. Obviously, if ingredients aren’t available, you’re not going to be able to make a cocktail with them. In addition to a well stocked bar, familiarity with each bottle is immensely helpful. Knowing that Calvados tastes like apples, spirit and woody notes and a hidden dimension of ‘apple tree’ or that Cynar is made from artichokes and yet tastes like honey and tobacco and a slight sulfury bitterness makes pairing ingredients that might have disparate primary flavors but complimentary secondary flavors easy. The understanding that Campari plus lemon equals pink grapefruit drives the Jasmine. This is not easily formalized. Writing tasting notes on cocktail ingredients can be useful at first, but at some point they become a crutch and inhibit beauty and the sudden strike of inspiration.
Spicy, textured but light, bright and sour. A+ whiskey sour
I much prefer the variation from Meat & Potatoes in Pittsburgh (don't know the bartender's name):
3/4 oz gin
3/4 oz elderflower
3/4 oz pink grapefruit
3/4 oz aperol
1 dsh peychaud's
Optional grapefruit twist for garnish
Lovely brunch cocktail.
Workable with half as much lemon juice (I used ~3/8 oz). The given recipe would likely be too sour (as an early comment noted) and dry when combined with the Cardamaro. As with many drier/acidic cocktails it improves (for my palate) as it warms somewhat, bringing other flavors forward. The wine base of the Cardamaro is masked by the lemon juice when very cold, a not uncommon problem I have noticed with lime/lemon/grapefruit juice drinks. I am rating my reduced lemon version as 3 out of 5, but something is missing that would elevate the drink.
Definitely leans bitter and dry. The amount of lime juice seems high, making this more of a sour/dry than I prefer even though I went a little skinny on the lime. I might try again with 1/2 oz lime juice.
Bursting with flavor. I had the standard Choya Umeshu rather than red "shiso" or "extra shisu" infused variants which should add some anise/licorice notes. I also lacked yuzu syrup, but had some kumquat cordial (Death & Co.) begging to be used here. Other subs were Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur and Drillaud Pamplemousse. Definitely to the sweet side, but seems to fit the character of the flavors together.