Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mixology Monday, August 2013: FIRE! part 1

It's time for Mixology Monday (number LXXVI if you're keeping count) once again! As host this month, I'll keep it simple this time around. The announcement post is here, just a few posts down, and our theme? FIRE! (round-up post here)

My inspiration this month? In addition to the Fire element, the concept of split-spirit cocktails has been bouncing around in my noggin' ever since the return of MxMo a year ago, with the Equal Parts theme -- I even considered making that the theme (but that seemed a bit too close on the heels of another cocktail structure challenge, Flip-Flop). Also? I just added my first bottle of ouzo (Metaxa) to my cabinet and I'm liking it quite a lot, so that's going in the hopper as well for both of my Fire cocktails.

This first cocktail keeps the flames neat and tidy, utilizing a flamed orange zest not just for finesse, but for
those tiny little sparks that make all the meaning*.

Apollo's Arrow
3/4 oz blanco tequila
3/4 oz ouzo
3/4 oz fino sherry
3/4 oz white grapefruit juice
dash Benedictine
flamed orange zest for garnish

Shake all but the zest on ice and double-strain into a chilled pillar-like flute glass.

Flame a bow of orange zest over the drink and shoot sparks on it.

Everything emerges on the nose, the flamed orange zest not so overpowering in that regard. On the palate, the ouzo is a smooth, rolling anise on a tequila-sherry base with grapefruit softening; the anise doesn't knock out your tongue in the process, nor do the zest oils or grapefruit bitterness. The Benedictine adds a slight herbal depth which develops with more time in the glass. It depends on your choice of spirits, but while intending for this to be a light, crisp and refreshing libation, the more time elapses you might get a trace of jamminess from the zest or the maple-like notes from the sherry might assert themselves.

As you can see from the structure of the drink, this is a riff on the grand old classic Corpse Reviver #2, but switching flavors to be tequila-focused. I had all my components assembled, so when it came time to mix this structure seemed like a good starting point...and ended up being a good finishing point too. You might also note the liqueurs are also switched up in that anise-noted ouzo is a larger component while sweeter Benedictine adds a grace note, all while not unbalancing the grapefruit. I should also mention there is an earlier, more pineappley, tequila riff on the recipe, Corpse Reviver #5 -- one of the fortunate things about working with ouzo is how it guarantees some toe-free step space!

Stayed tuned, one more cocktail for MxMo is yet to come! Where there's fire, there's smoke!

*[Updated to add: while not turning this into a book, if you get the Paglian imagery/references, bug me, will ya? I'm sure we could talk our ears off.]