Friday, April 8, 2011

MxMo LVI: Your Best - Lumber Jill

We seem to have all skipped the Mixology Monday for March, but April is upon us and Chris aka DJ HawaiianShirt at Spirited Remix is wasting no time getting April's going. This month's theme is "Your Best", as Chris explains in his announcement post:
The theme is quite simple: your best. Give me the best drink recipe you've ever created...I'm talking about that one drink that you've worked on for quite a while. The one that you've carefully tweaked over time until you found that perfect recipe. The one you've made tons of times: sometimes alone in contemplation, sometimes for a guest so that you could get their opinion.
If you don't have a drink that fits the above mold, then perhaps this is your excuse to revisit your old "original remixes", as I call them, and decide or even tweak one to be your best. If you've never made such a drink before, then begin experimenting right now! I want to see what makes your taste buds tick. Use your favorite spirits or flavors. Show me what your "drink of the house" would be.
Maybe you have a blog and you've already posted it before; I don't care. Give it to me again. Let us have this MxMo be a review of greatness, a bass-thumping medley of original remixes.
Thus, with the requisite permission (Chris even made a remixed MxMo logo), I'm using a drink I previously blogged about. But damnit if it's not a fine crowd pleasing drink. In choosing the Lumber Jill for MxMo, I perused my past cocktail posts and made a short list of contenders. Even with a short list, I didn't have time to try them all, and retrying them is necessary because the concoctions do not always live up to their representation in memory. In fact the first contender I re-tried was good, but not nearly as great as in my mind, so he got bumped off. The Lumber Jill's virtues, however, remained true to memory. This drink also had two other things going for it: the fact that I half-assed my first post about it, lacking even a picture, and the fact that it was a bit incomplete, lacking a garnish. This gives me a chance to correct those oversights.
She was originally created for a Thursday Drink Night, specifically TDN:Bubbles, back in Feb 2010. (Anyone else have trouble hearing "Bubbles" without thinking of The Wire?) I quite enjoy the TDN and MxMo themes because they get me out of my comfort zone and allow me to try new ingredients or styles; I'd otherwise be likely to restrict my drinks to either up sours or brown, bittered, and stirred variations.
The inspiration for this drink was the trinity of Chartreuse, maple, and ginger I initially fell in love with in the Lumber Jacques cocktail I had on a visit to Montreal; this is a theme I've riffed on multiple times. While the Lumber Jacques uses Rye and muddled fresh ginger, I opted for Ginger Beer to provide the required bubbles and swapped out Rye for my newly acquired bottle of Smith&Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum. The Navy Strength funky beast of a rum quickly became one of my very favorite spirits too boot. Without further ado, here she is:
Lumber Jill
  • 1½ oz Smith&Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum
  • ¾ oz Green Chartreuse
  • ¼ oz Grade B maple syrup
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz fresh orange juice
  • 2 dashes angostura
  • touch salt
  • ~3 oz ginger beer to top (Reed's Extra Ginger Brew is an excellent choice here)
shake and strain over fresh ice, top with ginger beer; garnish with a slice of orange and crystallized ginger skewered with a rosemary sprig.
The derivation of the name remains as before:
The name is an obvious derivation of Lumber Jacques, but figured it was a bit less burly both with rum instead of rye and the fizzy ginger beer lightening it up a bit.  Not that a man should be ashamed to drink it, the drink proved reasonably popular at TDN and I very much enjoy and am proud to drink it.
Even though referring to anything swapping in Smith&Cross for Rye as "less burly" amused Frederic from cocktail virgin slut, girls do seem to prefer Jill to Jacques in this instance.
I'm very happy with the addition of the garnish, although I can not take much credit. The lack of garnish and the specific suggestion of a rosemary speared orange came from other TDN participants, although I don't remember who; sorry I can not give proper thanks, but thank you nonetheless. I just added the ginger. I find the ginger-maple-chartreuse to really play well with each other; the spice of the ginger is leavened by the richness of the maple with the chorus of herbal flavors filling out the band, all keeping the heat of the over-proof rum in check while still letting everyone play their part in perfect harmony. Upon taking a sip, the aroma of the rosemary really ties the tree-sourced maple to the chartreuse herbs while driving home the forestry theme. Adding just a touch of salt is a trick I learned from Dave Arnold from Cooking Issues; a little bit rounds out drinks with citrus while both amplifying and tying together the flavors.
So there you have it, enjoy, and treat 'er well.