Thursday, August 29, 2013

Impromptu - Bourbon and Aperol

Last night, I had a hankering for Bourbon and Aperol. Well, I've had an unsated hankering for whiskey all week, but rather than doing the Rumdood-suggested Sherman Cocktail, (which was my idea the night prior), I wanted bourbon and the Orange Crush-y notes of Aperol. But how to flesh out that drink?

There were a fair number of Bourbon-Aperol drinks on Kindred Cocktails to start*, but none quite met the picture in my head (A Clockwork Orange and The Lemony Pabla weren't too far-off, though). I was seeking something with the red and floral of Peychaud's bitters, which seemed like an interesting contrast to the Aperol. And some kind of wine to lengthen seemed appropriate. When all of a sudden, a new post came through from Bartending Notes on an Earl Grey MarTEAni.

*(the research always tends to take about an hour before I get a solid recipe in mind)

*ping!* Earl Grey-infused madeira. Verdelho for dryness, and a bit more body than Sercial (and exactly what I had on my counter that needed using up). 1 tea bag in 1/2 cup for 10 minutes (tops - keep tasting drops) works quite well. Make sure to wring out all the bergamot-y goodness.

Impromptu Bourbon & Aperol (& Earl Grey)
1 1/2 oz overproof Bourbon (Wild Turkey 101)
1 oz earl grey-infused verdelho madeira
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz Aperol
3 dashes Peychaud's bitters
3 drops orange blossom water
orange zest

Stir all but the zest on ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Express an orange zest over the drink, rub around the rim, and discard.

The floral soft qualities are what you encounter first with a whiff of cherry and almost a lemon or citron edge on the palate, followed by a touch of sweetness and then drying bitterness from the tea and other bitter ingredients. You seriously need at least a 100-proof bourbon for this one. 90-proof Bulleit didn't quite hold up, but Wild Turkey 101 did the trick.

I added the dry vermouth for an extra herbal quality and some lengthening to better taste all the ingredients. The orange blossom water I stole from A Clockwork Orange: the more pronounced florals, the less the cocktail resembles a Boulevardier or Old Pal -- and it's a nice augmentation to the Peychaud's and bergamot.

As always with these impromptus, dear reader, if a name strikes you I'm all ears!