Monday, August 6, 2012

Bull's Meadow

[Update 11-07-2012, see below]

This is one of my more modest efforts (same as the Smokemont I would contend since it's an Old Fashioned riff). And really, I'm not the only one thinking along these precise flavor combinations (for the inevitable de-linking/menu change: The Blue Goat, Richmond VA, Perfection Takes Thyme: Bulleit Bourbon, local honey, thyme, ginger beer).

What I would offer is a slight tweak to the above, grown out of my own tweak to the Basil Hayden's Last Stand. The combination of Bulleit bourbon and ginger beer is a natural. The Dandelion and Burdock bitters builds on that base to create an incredible synergy - this is a case where no substitutes will do.

Beyond that, pull the squeeze of lemon from the Last Stand to compliment and highlight the flavors. And then, to work the Meadow angle, a bit of pungent honey and thyme.

Seriously. Rare flavor magic. God's honest truth.

*gets out of the way*

Bull's Meadow
2 oz Bulleit bourbon
1 barspoon honey*
4 dashes Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Dandelion and Burdock bitters
ginger beer
lemon wedge
thyme sprigs

*preferably something bold that won't fade into the drink - I used a local wildflower variety

No, that isn't Reed's Ginger Beer back there.
In a chilled highball glass, add the Bulleit and honey and bitters. Stir to dissolve.

Fill with ice, top with ginger beer.

Squeeze in the juice from the lemon wedge, then give the glass a quick spritz and rim-wipe with the zest.

Roll some thyme sprigs between your palms to wake them up, then add as a garnish.

Give everything a quick stir to combine and enjoy!

One Note: know the flavors of the honey and ginger beer you're using in order to better control sweetness - you may want to play around with amounts for both. I would recommend a drier ginger beer (Reed's is a good brand for that). I'm not saying I've had all ginger beers out there, but a good rule of thumb would probably be to check the nutrition label for sugar grams: Reed's has 37.4g of sugar according to its label; compared with a few other brands I've had, anywhere in the < 40g sugar per 12oz ballpark and you'll most likely be in dryness-land.

[Update, 11-07-2012: For one reason or another I've been getting specific hits on this recipe out of proportion to when I published it, and in googling to see if it went viral I happened across the actual ancient usage of Bull's Meadow, of which I had formerly been unaware: Cluain-Tairbh in the Gaelic, or, modernly, Clontarf, a suburb of Dublin, Ireland. Ye in the spirits-know might also recognize Clontarf as a brand of Irish whiskey. Why didn't I think of this in the first place?!?! Well, mainly because I was working that particular spirit-bitters synergy. I can confirm, however, that using Clontarf Black Label produces a similar yet divergent cocktail, that connects Clontarf's tropical fruit notes (pineapple, passionfruit, mango, possibly papaya) with the pineapple juice used in Reed's ginger beer for another stellar combination, with the ginger, thyme, lemon and bitters making blendiferous cameos. That Clontarf also possesses brown sugar Bourbon-wood notes perhaps ropes the cocktail in from deviating the recipe into unworkability.]