I thought this months Mixology Monday was a great theme and one in which I totally believe in. Hosted by Scott Diaz at Shake, Strain & Sip the theme he chose was titled ‘From Crass to Craft’, and focuses on the use of ingredients so many of us (bartenders) now consider, as the title suggests, crass. Here’s a snippet from Scott’s announcement post…
‘The evolution of the cocktail has been a wondrous, and sometimes, frightful journey. From its humble beginning, to the ”Dark Ages” of most of the later 20th century, to the now herald “Platinum
Age” of the cocktail, master mixologists and enthusiasts alike have elevated its grandeur using the best skills, freshest ingredients and craft spirits & liqueurs available. But with all this focus on “craft” ingredients and classic tools & form, it seems we have become somewhat pretentious. The focus on bitter Italian amari, revived and lost ingredients such as Batavia Arrack or Creme de Violette, the snickering at a guest ordering a Cosmopolitan or a Midori Sour; has propelled us into the dark realm of snobbery. Many scratch bars and Speakeasies have gone as far as to remove all vodka and most flavored liqueurs from their shelves. Some even go as far as to post “rules” that may alienate most potential imbibers. Remember, the bar was created with pleasing one particular group in mind: the guest.
The first few things that came to mind when thinking about ‘crass’, was mainly different cocktails I regularly get asked for that wouldn’t be considered as ‘the right thing to drink’, rather than specific ingredients, and one cocktail I get asked a lot for is an Amaretto Sour. Amaretto I thought was a pretty reasonable place to start. I started by mixing a few drinks with some apricot infused bourbon I made last week, with some pretty pleasing results. But in the end I really wanted to make a cocktail that would please a guest who likes an Amaretto Sour, after all it’s for the guest.
With this in mind, I decided to use vodka to give the amaretto the kick it lacks, but with out changing too much of the almond like taste. Just to point out here, I don’t really consider vodka crass, marshmallow vodka yes, but straight unflavoured vodka rightfully deserves its place behind the bar. the main focus here is on amaretto.
Another ingredient I’ve used, but again like the vodka wouldn’t consider crass, is a preserve, more specifically apricot preserve. Using preserves in cocktails is nothing new, Harry Craddock’s Marmalade Cocktail (1930) and Salvatore Calabrese’s Breakfast Martini (2000) both come to mind.
So here it is, my drink for this months Mixology Monday using amaretto as a crass ingredient to craft a more palatable cocktail.
- 15 ml Disarrano Amaretto
- 50 ml Vodka
- 20 ml Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 Bar spoon apricot preserve
- 5-6 Cloves
- 2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
- white of 1 egg
Muddle the cloves with the apricot preserve and vodka. add the rest of the ingredients and dry shake to start emulsifying the egg white. Shake with ice and double strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a lemon twist
Check out the round up post here and a big thanks to Scott for hosting