Heading into Tales of the Cocktail 2018 next week, I find myself thinking back to my top five cocktails of last year’s Tales. Some may prove continually elusive: will I ever have that many Rutte flavors before me ever again? Do I trust myself to experiment with chicken essence? Will I ever find the patience to make my own vanilla grapefruit shrub or track down a commercial version? Unlikely.
But I have attempted to recreate two of those top five.
…Watermelon Rose Raise my rent and take off all your clothes With trench coats, magazines, a bottle full of rum…
If I don’t commemorate it, I will forget. That’s how infrequently I create new cocktails.
The Watermelon Rose is a simple rum sour with some infusions in the mix. I don’t like watermelon, see, and when one arrived in my CSA I just looked balefully at it for a few weeks until the 11th hour. Compost or consume? I decided to drink it.
Threw cubed watermelon into a mix of rum (mostly Kirkland with enough Smith & Cross to make it funky).
While it steeped I decided to use up some dried cranberries in muffins. For more tender fruit, I soaked them for a day in Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao (80%) and Luxardo Maraschino (20%). This left me with a sweet fruit liqueur.
Gomme syrup adds mouthfeel, orgeat adds flavor. Add fresh citrus and baby, you got a sour going.
After days of puttering around the house chanting “watermelon rum” in my best Tom Waits growl, I actually looked up the lyrics I thought I was singing. Bother! He doesn’t sing “watermelon rum,” he sings “Watermelon Rose” and “bottle full of rum.” And so my drink found its name.
2 oz. watermelon infused rum
.75 oz fresh lime (lemon is pretty good, too)
.25 oz orgeat (I like Small Hands)
.25 oz gum syrup (again, Small Hands is perfect)
.25 oz cranberry-infused curacao and maraschino mix
Gin is my spirit of choice. I am therefore thrown into the proximity of many tonics. My go-to tonics are Fever-tree‘s Mediterranean or Elderflower tonics but I’m always looking for new flavors. Recently I did a taste test with some new tonics available at my local Emporium of Alcoholic Wonders (a.k.a. Berkeley’s Ledger Liquors).
Indi Strawberry tonic paired with Wollersheim’s Garden Gate Gin. The sodalike, quinine-light tonic offers strong fresh strawberry flavors (thankfully not a hint of artificial flavor), so I thought the fruit and herbs of the gin would play well with the strawberry. It was a summery combination but some heavy botanical in the combination didn’t quite suit.
A photocopy of a photocopy. A jpeg resaved so often it loses all form. This is what I did to the noble Eeyore’s Requiem.
A friend reminded me of this delicious this bitter drink, and Serious Eats informed me of its noble pedigree: this is a Violet Hour original. (Love the Violet Hour. Love Serious Eats, for that matter.)
My friend said he’d held off making this until he found Dolin Blanc, which struck me as slightly odd since he isn’t the type to fear substitutions. Me, I fear few substitutions. And with supplies of Campari and Cynar running low, I thought I’d play with substitutions until I got a drink I no longer loved.