Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Chimaera

This little ditty was a work-in-progress ever since I got my first bottle of Dubonnet Rouge for Bucentaure development back in 2012. The thought-process behind this one was simple, but tricky: pick a spirit from random locales around the world that wouldn't automatically be thought-of together -- then make them work. Is it a Manhattan? A Caipirinha? A genetic freak? Something more? A Man-pirin-tan? A Cai-hat-ha? A Cai-Ma-rinha?



Chimaera
3/4 oz rye whiskey (Rittenhouse)
3/4 oz cachaça (51)
3/4 oz Dubonnet Rouge
1/4 oz Drambuie
1/4 oz lime juice (fat)
3 dashes Fernet Branca
kumquat garnish

Shake. Strain. Garnish.

Golden herbs, bitter zesty roots, fresh cherries, and perhaps a touch of grass/petrol or chocolate waft from the glass.

On the tongue, one finds rye spice and cachaça petrol in equal measure, fruitiness with lime and Dubonnet, and swirling smoke underneath menthol-like grass. A golden Caipi, with undercurrents of Manhattan.




One thing I discovered while developing Secret Agent Manhattan is that Rittenhouse Rye (100pf) is its own unique beast, and it's tricky to do substitutions for it. Chimaera was developed with Rittenhouse but in coming back to it this year (inspired by MxMo Manhattan, at that) I wanted to bolster the recipe by seeing what different ryes would do. In this drink's case, say you swap in High West Double Rye (92pf) - you'll want to add an extra quarter ounce plus an extra quarter ounce of cachaça to keep the spiritous balance. I imagine this would be the same for any sub-100pf rye you swap in. As for the cachaça? My own preference is for the rough industrial kind like 51 or Pitu, the darker petrol notes add to the randomness yet work all the same (probably transmute to dark chocolate thanks to the lime and pair with the Fernet). Something sweet-bodied like Leblon would throw the wheels off, methinks.