As I was working on my first recipe for for this Mixology Monday, it came to me that I had another resinous ingredient that had been sitting on my shelf a long while for just such an occasion: Skinos Mastiha liqueur, a not-too-sweet Greek spirit from the island of Chios centered around the flavor of mastic resin. To my palate, its most prominent notes are of sweet limes and celery, but it's not one to overwhelm in cocktails, offering a slight resinous edge and lift on the tongue.
While the resin is harvested in the summertime, as I went about finding a spirit match for the Mastiha with whisky, it got me to wondering how the bleak wintertime moors of Scotland would translate to the wintertime seas of the Mediterranean. There's a certain mood about November, the quiet austerity before the month of Holidays proper sets in, as the leaves finish falling and the cold begins to truly set in. This is what I aimed for with this cocktail.
1 1/2 oz blended Scotch whisky
3/4 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz Skinos Mastiha liqueur
1/4 oz white grapefruit juice
2 dashes grapefruit bitters
tiny pinch salt
thyme braid for garnish
Shake all, double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with thyme braid.
A quiet sipper, with predominant bitter notes though weakly sweet. Smoke notes hover like mist. A whiff of the thyme (slightly resinous in itself, or at least the type I buy with somewhat woody stems) pulls up grapefruit notes on the palate, and through that mastic subtlety.
There's still beauty left in the world. You simply must be still to pick up on it.
Notes: this recipe could be said to be a take-off on the Woodward or the Miami Beach. And if you have Bittermens' Hopped Grapefruit bitters, more power to you! That'll only add to the overall resin-ance.
Cheers to Shaun and Christa for hosting a delightfully pensive topic, and to Fred for continued fine wrangling (may your lasso never wear)!
The round-up post is here.