Monday, May 18, 2015

Not Quite Mixology Monday, April 2015: Drink of Shame

Hi everybody! The grand catch-up continues with my entry for last month's Mixology Monday event (gotta get it out before today's deadline for May's event, natch!).

For the month of April, our host was Whitney of Tipicular Fixins, a lass with a creative bent and sensibility for far-ranging ingredients after my own heart - go check her out (especially the Ikea lingonberry post)! She brings us a theme that's a recipe for searching out the deep dark parts of our cocktail psyche (bring Q-tips!): Drink of Shame!
So, you’re a certified, mixologist, craft-tender, bar chef or fine spirit

But, there was a time when you only ordered Long Island Iced Tea. Or, maybe you always made the Jello shots for your frat? Perhaps you’re the reason that your local had an Island Oasis machine for so long? Rye & Ginger? Vodka Seven? Someone was ordering these things. Your street cred would be ruined if you ordered or (gasp) served one now, but don’t you miss it, just a little?

Wouldn't you love to have one more Jolly Rancher? A chance to drink a mudslide without shame? We all made questionable drink choices in our past, the popular drinks from 1970 to the year 2000 were a cheap, sugary mess. Now is the time to resurrect your favourite drink from the time before modern Mixology. Give a new life to the drink you had to put down after you had your first real cocktail.

This is the remix.

Maybe you need to use fresh ingredients, or you can try elevating the spirits. Make everything from scratch or remove an offending ingredient. Do whatever you can to bring back and legitimize a drink you used to love.
Check out last month's round-up post here, along with the transformative magic at work from all the participants!

Y'know? For the life of me, I struggled to even remember a trashy recipe I had more than once (and that's not just because of the blackouts they induced). No, I remember the Cerebral Hemorrhage and the What She's Having and (ha!) the Angel's Tit (the crusty old bartender at the brewpub went wild, swinging his towel around when he heard that order - that was actually in a recipe book they had, natch). But my motto back then was (and largely still is except for certain classics) "never have the same drink twice." And with all the recipes I was finding on (don't click, avoid the potential viruses) and writing down on business cards I'd never otherwise use so I could have them at the ready for bartenders, I had too big a world to explore not to.

Our drink, nearly finished, with my old
Incredible Hulk/Chuck Norris recipe card.

But there is one recipe I do remember quite well and maybe even had a couple of times, both at home and out when I could find a place that kept Hpnotiq in-house (yes, we're going there, today): the Incredible Hulk. Real simple: drizzle an equal part bright sky-blue Hpnotiq over cognac on ice, letting the drink morph into a radioactive green mess - bing! There's your Hulk. (although if you add a shot of Johnnie Walker Red from there, the Incredible Hulk gets angry and morphs into Chuck Norris! I never had a Chuck Norris.)

The Hpnotiq was good while it lasted, both for the Hulk and other brand-proprietary recipes (and my own bright violet Fairy Princess made with pink Kinky liqueur and vanilla vodka - see what my early editorial discretion saved you folks?). But I finished that bottle off in my early days of getting serious and haven't looked back. Until now.

Looking at the recipe, the cognac was never the issue, just the crayon-colored industrial sugar and acid bomb that was Hpnotiq. How much actual cognac they used and what their definition of "premium" is, we'll never know. Nor do we know the exact flavor profile other than "vaguely tropical with a heaping helping of passionfruit esters" according to its brand competition with blue Alize (don't get me started on the Alizes..). Ahhh...but tropical, that's something we can work with, especially if it involves approximating a flavor with a stack of ingredients.

Bruce Banner's ditched his plane somewhere in Fiji and taken up with a hula maid down in a little tiki hut by the sea. I give you the Tiki-fied...

The Beachcomber Hulk
1 1/2 oz cognac
3/4 oz Batavia arrack
3/8 oz passionfruit syrup
1/4 oz blue curaçao
1/4 oz lemon juice
1 dash orgeat
1 dash vanilla bitters
1 slice starfruit
Mint and cherry for garnish

Fill a rocks glass with pellet or slightly-larger-than-pellet ice.

Muddle the starfruit in a shaker along with everything but the cognac and garnish. Shake with 1 small ice cube to agitate with minimal dilution.

Add the cognac to the rocks glass and then drizzle the blue mixture over top, letting it sink down to turn the drink green.

Give a little stir and garnish.

Secret of the Ooze
Passionfruit and blue flavors, anchored by the wondrous funk of arrack, a light lemon acid edge not generated by a dumptruck of sugar, based on able illuminous cognac. Avec un certain je ne sais quoi.

So I gave the blue mix a good initial eyeball for ingredients -- how was I supposed to know it'd smell exactly like Hpnotiq? Incroyable! Who says you have to stick to the model of a cognac/vodka base? Batavia arrack is infinitely more interesting, and at 100 proof a lot more Hulk-like. The starfruit extends the tropical flavors and brings some good mild freshness as well, though you might want to play around with other tropical fruits too.

I know the pics show one large rock instead of small ice - that was a misstep for the initial version, however much the flavor was spot-on. You want something that will bring a good dilution and balance without also over-diluting. Otherwise, go to town!

Thanks to Whitney for hosting a fun theme and to Fred for wrangling as ever.

Stay tuned, dear reader - this very eve is another Mixology Monday - and this time I've got the time, the recipe and the name already in place.