To all of you who survived my first set of articles dealing with theories of craft cocktail construction, I say congratulations. Now the hard work begins. While it’s nice to have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of how and why certain craft cocktails work and others do not, there’s a lot more ground to cover in the service of better cocktails.
To this end, I will be writing an open-ended series of articles that deal with refining craft cocktails. Subjects will include aroma and flavor, texture, visual appeal, harmony, context, and inspiration by theft. I’m going to assume that you are comfortable with my original four-part series, and that you’re up for some heavier reading and homework. Are we ready? Let’s begin, shall we?
Unlike the other five senses, no one can say for sure how we smell anything. There are theories out there, each full of massive, unexplained holes. Science has identified G-protein receptors in the neurons in the nose that work together to build a scent out of basic component parts. This won Linda Buck and Richard Axel the 2004 Nobel Prize in Medicine. We know what parts of the brain process this information. We know that we can certainly smell things (and weirdly enough, we can smell everything that has a smell, and we can do it instantaneously – something that violates rules about how the body works).
Very good! Made with: Calvados, Carpano Antica, Suze, Benedictine, Reagan's Orange Bitters, Lemon twist.
Stirred and strained over BFC.
Brings out the chocolate elements in Benedictine that we hadn't noticed before.
I believe we were using Regan's Orange Bitters back then at that bar, but I didn't record that in my blog so I didn't put it there. Also, most craft bars in Boston in 2013 were using Regan's especially with the ease in ordering them from the same distributor that sold us Peychaud's and whiskey.
Also, I uploaded the recipe because Shawn loves it so much (I think I invented it and served it to 2 or 3 guests at most).
This is a fun one to try because the end result is somewhat unexpected, at least to me, and the drink is a pleasant sip. The Laird's apple flavor is hidden or transformed, but a moderate chocolate note emerges, even when using Cinzano sweet vermouth (vs. Cocchi Vermouth di Torino which often produces a chocolate flavor). I can't say I have noticed chocolate in Benedictine before, but some describe a caramel or fudge flavor in tasting notes for Benedictine, so there is some similarity/basis for it. I used Salers which is dry and provides the purest/simplest gentian expression in the cocktail. Since the orange bitters were not specified, I used the Death & Co. equal parts Fee's/Regan's/Angostura mix to cover all the bases.