Sunday, November 30, 2014


A bit of fortuitous happenstance - not only is today the last day of November, in that muddy interval between Thanksgiving and December holiday season proper (and a lazy Sunday to boot), it's also St. Andrew's Day! So have a lovely whisky tipple for an otherwise blah day. It may exactly fit the mood.

1 1/2 oz smoky blended scotch (Chivas 12)
3/4 oz SAGE
3/4 oz dry vermouth
6 drops walnut orgeat
6 drops coffee-bourbon tincture
1 bsp crème de cassis (sink)
dried, withered sprig sage

Stir, strain over ice sphere in rocks glass, sink cassis, garnish with sprig sage.

Depending on your orgeat, add only enough drops to create a louche effect and match with coffee-bourbon tincture. Over-dilution takes it out on the scotch, so beware.

This is an odd one to write about. My intent was to somehow evoke that gray overcast feel of November, away from any food-ular celebrations -- the vermouth's herbs, SAGE's tang and sharp herbs and scotch's mire-ly smoke all combine to do just that. The orgeat itself is meant to add a binding sweetness while also providing a faint louche/overcast quality (walnut being a more fitting flavor for the other ingredients than almond). The coffee-bourbon tincture helps modulate the sweetness while also providing a tad more flavor body to enunciate the scotch's smoke. And the cassis? That faint sink means twilight, which, thanks to its wonderful density, shifts as the glass is tilted -- nebulous shadows lingering on the outskirts, with a hit of berry right at the end.

If you don't have SAGE, Plymouth gin might do, though you'll lose that odd tang/flavor intensity, that weird disorientation of cold gray overcast days.

Coffee-bourbon tincture: 1/2 tablespoon of ground coffee in an ounce of bourbon. Stir and let soak 10 minutes. Coffee-filter away the grounds, bottle, store. Bourbon used to match the coffee's richness - that and it's what was ready at hand.