Thursday, May 17, 2012

El Clavel Rojo

Brash surf, cutting winds,

With a woman to match them.
Hard resolve in blue.

"Where is he? He's left.."
Destined to rock and surface.
To arid yellow.

Abrupt maiden blush.
"I believe this is yours, yes?"
El clavel rojo.


El Clavel Rojo (Red Carnation)
2 oz Tequila por mi Amante
1/2 oz Licor 43
1/4 oz seville orange juice
2 whole cloves
1/2 egg white (or about 1/2 oz)*
2-3 spritzes Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Spanish Bitters

Combine first 5 ingredients in a shaker and dry shake for 2 minutes. Add ice and shake to chill. Pour into a chilled coupe so that the ice is kept out, but let the cloves slip into the drink if possible - they'll add a nuance as the drink develops over time. Spritz foam with Spanish bitters to finish (atomizer not included with bitters. This model fits perfectly on Dr. Adam's bottles, however).

*[Edit, 05-22-2012: This was my very first successful egg white cocktail and I was pushing to get this recipe out next-day, but you really don't need a whole half ounce of egg white. A small amount (about 1 tsp) should suffice for the most important aspect: texture. And you don't need to sip through that much foam. All that's needed is a faint coating for the bitters to rest on.]

  • Tequila por mi Amante - This is Chuck Taggart's recipe (though I recommend getting to that page via Paul Clarke's Paloma variation for his immortal reaction to the drink). The recipe itself is simply: strawberries, reposado tequila to cover (I used El Jimador for some lovely lowlands earthiness); infuse for 3 weeks in the fridge, shaking lightly a couple times a day; strain with cheesecloth or coffee filters; let rest in the fridge for 3 more weeks; strain again if needed. The star of the cocktail.
  • Licor 43 - the sweet accenter, with nice vanilla and herbal undernotes for layers. Also, Spain.
  • Seville orange (aka sour orange, bitter orange) - kinda crucial to use this orange: a regular orange will skew too sweet, yet the orange flavor itself goes with the Licor 43 better than another citrus. Due to the high sourness of the juice, you don't need much. You could try adding a touch more than 1/4 oz if it suits your taste, but 1/2 oz is overkill and will take over the cocktail. The acidity doesn't come on strong on first sips, but towards the end of tasting I found it rather noticeable, probably enhanced due to the emerging clove oil in the drink. At 1/4 oz, it's just right to get the egg whites foaming and to counterpoint the sweet element. Also, Spain.
  • Cloves - the secret weapon. It's a wonder the things you come across while Googling for name ideas: I never realized carnations had a clove scent, but retroactively it makes sense and I think the entire cocktail, thanks to the cloves, evokes its name well. At the start you get hints of the cloves dancing in the foam with the tequila's pepper, which evolves into more sultry, spicier low notes at the end.
  • Egg white - you got me? The first version of this drink was an April-Spring-fresh Galliano take on a Ramos Gin Fizz and somehow once I got to the T.p.m.A. it became its own thing, the egg white becoming vestigial. But, despite really not liking eggs, I like the frothy freshness lent by the foam, all the better to present the bitters, and the added texture which pushes the drink's sensuality a little closer to the actual flower.
  • Spanish Bitters - 'nuff said, really, but like it mentions on the label: there are citrus, spice, and berry notes, which compliment all the other ingredients, and chamomile and violet to suggest a floral character.
[Edit, 05-22-2012: Did I mention a red carnation functions as a love-token in Spain much as a rose does in other cultures? If ever there were an ideal cocktail to use Tequila por mi Amante as a base..]