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A Spontaneous Libation for your Consideration
From the Knowledge Vault
The Curious History of an Early Spirit
It went like this, but wasn’t. Some four thousand years ago in Mespotamia, the perfumers at the court of King Zimrilim created a technique to separate the essential oils of precious woods and flowers from the woods and flowers themselves in order to embalm their dead. Originally, this probably involved soaking flower petals in warm water and capturing the fragrant oils that rose to the surface. What they called this method is lost, but other cultures refined their work into the art and science now known as distillation.
Many ancient scientists ran up against this phenomenon. In the fourth century BCE, Aristotle realized that seawater could be made drinkable by distillation, and that the process could be applied to wine and other liquids, though there is no record of his actually distilling wine. To the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks, distillation must have seemed like magic, and their knowledge was guarded from unknowing eyes.
A major advancement in distilling came between the 3rd and 4th century CE with the invention of the alembic (from the Greek ambix – a cup, typically made of glass) by Zosimos of Panopolis, an Egyptian. Having two vessels, one with the liquid to be distilled and one to catch condensed vapors with a tube running between them gave much more control and finesse to this delicate process. With a few modifications, this device is now known as a pot still.
- Capitán (Pisco) — Sweet vermouth, Pisco, Olive
- One Pedal Driving — Bourbon, Cardamom bitters, Lemon juice, Maple syrup, Egg white, Sage
- Holiday in the Mediterranean — Gin, Rosato Vermouth, Licor 43, Mastika
- Genepy Passion — Gin, Herbal liqueur, Cherry Liqueur, Lime juice, Passion fruit juice
- Persephone out of Hades — Pisco, Pear Vodka, Lime juice, Pomegranate juice, Rosemary
Updated the link, thank you both!
The site has changed to something else, but the original page can still be found using The Internet Archive Wayback Machine. The earliest image they captured of the page is from Aug. 2011, the URL for the link is: https://web.archive.org/web/20110820090553/http://lupecboston.com/2008/… I suggest replacing the old reference with the above so that it is not lost.
The LUPEC site is no longer. Here is the way Joy had it on the menu for her birthday bash night at the Franklin (2, 1/2, 1/2, 2d):
Should this be called "The Slope" rather than just "Slope"? That is the primary way I see it listed, and it refers to a neighborhood, so the emphasis would make sense here. There seem to be a LOT of slight variations of this cocktail including later versions (plural) attributed to Julie Reiner herself. There is a 2017 video by her using Maker's Mark bourbon (rather than rye) and Giffard Apricot--so it doesn't look like formula is set as one might expect. In various recipes on the web the base spirit is listed from 2 to 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 oz, while apricot is from 1/4 to 1/2 and Angostura bitters from 1 to 2 dashes.
I tried two different versions of this tonight based on a slightly different recipe and thought it was quite good (as did the others who sampled what I made.) I used "only" 2 oz of Rittenhouse Rye for both, with 3/4 Punt e Mes, and 1/4 R&W Apricot. This had plenty of peppery rye and alcohol heat which reinforced the bitter components in Punt e Mes. I used a single dash of Angostura for one, and a single dash of Abbott's bitters (my own bottling based on Darcy O'Neil's recipe) for the other.
The Angostura was pretty noticeable at only a dash, and this cocktail is a good candidate for experimenting with different aromatic bitters to appreciate the differences they provide. I somewhat preferred the cardamom/clove/fennel from the Abbott's over the more cinnamon baking spice of the Angostura, but others were evenly split as to preference.
Unique in that the Cocchi on the approach set my palate up for a sweeter finish than the Suntori Toki, which I used, delivered- in a good way. Good spine.