Monday, March 17, 2014

Aquamarine


Aquamarine
1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey
3/4 oz bianco vermouth
1/2 oz rhum agricole blanc
1/2 oz green chartreuse
1/4 oz tequila blanco
1 bsp pear eau-de-vie
1 bsp blue curacao
2 dashes rhubarb bitters
2 dashes Bittercube Jamaican #2 bitters

Stir. Strain. No garnish.

For all the March birthdays out there, especially the Pisces. Still, I'm sorry: somehow, it tastes like a more-richly-vegetal-but-clear Shamrock Shake. Yes, I'm telling you you'll taste mint and cream, despite (because of?) the ingredients. And it's both delicious and complex!

For a long while I'd had a draft post with only the title, Aquamarine. Similarly, I've wanted to devise an Irish whiskey/cachaça recipe because the high school percussionist in me adores how Brazilian rosewood marimbas often accent Irish folk music - though that's a recipe better realized at another time. Given how I generally prefer a good rhum agricole blanc to something like Leblon, I figured I give that combo a whirl while pulling in some of my favorite early spring cocktail ingredients (fast become a trend for me): bianco vermouth, pear eau-de-vie and rhubarb bitters (in addition to Irish whiskey and rhum agricole being stars of some Ti(n)sanity posts from this time last year). Plus, some elements simply demanded inclusion, if only because of the name and that St. Paddy's Day draws nigh.

Now, I'm sure you're looking at all the ingredients above and shaking your head, because it is an obnoxious list (which would probably run you close to $200 plus a week's time for potential mail-order if you wanted to collect-bottles-from-scratch). But, I have tasted the recipe if you broke it down to base parts of whiskey, vermouth, rhum, chartreuse and rhubarb bitters - and it's only 66% there. The other small ingredients truly give a proper rounding and depth - the tequila, eau-de-vie and curacao (yes, the curacao has a flavor, it ain't vodka) add extra vegetal and fruity notes with their sweetness taming the heat from both the chartreuse and rhum, while the bitters balance out the added sweetness. And...well, there's more, but it's better developed at the next Ombudsman session.

Suffice it to say, to hell with current attitudes: elegance rocks and generally produces greatness (and the Manhattan is a supreme muse-rich cocktail, despite it being untrendy in some quarters), but a muse has gotta do what a muse has gotta do, whether it's neophyte (or even cognoscenti)-friendly or not.

For those brazen hearts who wish to take up the challenge of this drink, some notes on ingredients:
  • Tullamore Dew 12 years - a dry Irish whiskey like this sets the cocktail up for success.
  • Martini & Rossi - aggressive vegetality is a plus.
  • Neisson - the rough, funky 100pf doesn't get lost.
  • Azul - a blanco with vegetal notes is again what's best.
  • Schladerer - it's an eau-de-vie we're after, not a brandy or a liqueur. Dry, but so flavor-intense it becomes sweet. Anyone else using an eau-de-vie like this for a rounding accent? I'd be happy to give a shout-out.
  • Eyeball the curacao - you know what an aquamarine gem look like, so use that as your final color target.

Sláinte!