Monday, December 13, 2010

MxMo LIII: Like That? You’ll Love This! - Dark Daze

Mixology Monday for December is upon us.  Chris Amirault at eGullet is again our host and the theme for this month is "Like That? You’ll Love This!"  He's looking for creative cocktails to offer patrons who ask for those drinks that make us cocktail aficionados wince - drinks which you might find on your local TGI Shenanigans full page laminated menu of oft neon-colored "martinis."  Damn, I winced just thinking about it.  Here's his request, and let's hope we find some replacements worthy of the name cocktail for those drinks we all heap such scorn upon:
Here's the story. At the bar where I now work, I regularly receive requests for the bar staples of the late 20th century, espresso martinis, appletinis, and other things that end inappropriately in -tini. Though these are standard-issue drinks at most bars, Cook & Brown Public House aims for a classic approach that eschews the pucker line, flavored vodkas, and bottled sour mix.

I've been talking with other bartenders and they, too, want to find a balance between customer service and stocking products that they can't or won't back. In addition, a well-made tweak of someone's favorite can be just the ticket through the gate to the sort of quality cocktails you want to serve guests at home or at work. Hence this MxMo, devoted to sharing gateway drinks that allow you to say, "If you like that, you'll love this!"
To this end, I wasn't sure what to try and in the end I decided to tackle the Chocotini, or Chocolate Martini, or whatever they call the syrupy sweet, often creamy, probably flavored vodka containing abomination.  I had played with Mozart Dry last month and figured it would be a respectable avenue to travel for this purpose.  (Bittermans Xocolatl Mole Bitters being another possibility.)  Unfortunately I believe Mozart is not currently readily available in the US, and I ordered my bottle from UK's The Whisky Exchange, so you'll probably have to take my (or Tiare's) word on the quality of the spirit.  Mozart is 80 proof, and as the name implies has no sugar content, but carries the rich essence of chocolate.  I first considered pairing it with Bulldog Gin, which has some nice botanicals and is light on the Juniper, and then thought maybe rum would make a nice base, but settled on some of each.  Since the first three ingredients are strong spirits, I included some floral Dolin Blanc to leven the heat of the alcohol, some orange bitters to add a note of complexity, and at least a touch of simple syrup for a hint of sweetness, but as noted if you are trying to wean someone off a chain restaurant's Chocotini, it may be best to start on the sweeter side.  In the likely case you have no Mozart, even using Crème de cacao and no simple I think would be a step in the right direction at least.  Perhaps even omitting the Mozart and using a generous helping of those Mole bitters might work, but I have not tried.
  Dark Daze
  • ¾ oz Clément Rhum Vieux Agricole VSOP
  • ¾ oz Bulldog London Dry Gin (or some other not too assertive gin)
  • ¾ oz Mozart Dry Chocolate Spirit*
  • ¾ oz Dolin Blanc
  • 1 dash to ¼ oz rich (2:1) simple  syrup**
  • 2 dashes Regan's orange bitters #6
Stir and strain, orange twist garnish.
* or substitute ½ oz white Crème de cacao and omit simple syrup.  That kinda defeats the purpose, but at least it's not vodka and still has some bitters
** For the simple syrup, I prefer just a dash for a dryer cocktail, but if you are trying to win over an actual chocolate martini drinker, the ¼ oz makes it a pretty sweet drink. remember to omit if you've subbed Crème de cacao for the Mozart Dry
Heh Heh, shenanigans.

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