Monday, June 20, 2011

MxMo LVIII: Niche Spirits - Sourvit and Pisco Shenzhen Cocktails

Mixology Monday is here again, seems like the last one was so long ago, around the time of, well, my last post. I may be neglecting the blog, but the MxMo monthly gathering gives me a deadline that keeps me on my toes. And in any case, I've got a good excuse for the blog neglect, being a new dad and all. This month's theme comes to us via Filip at Adventures in Cocktails, and he has called upon us to celebrate Niche Spirits:
Junes theme will be “favorite niche spirit”, so any cocktail where the base ingredient is not bourbon, gin, rum, rye, tequila, vodka etc would qualify.  So whether you choose Mezcal or Armagnac get creative and showcase your favorite niche spirit.
UPDATE: Check out the recap post here.

One of my favorite classics it the Pisco Sour, a drink which itself already uses the niche spirit Pisco. The simple yet elegant recipe lends itself easily to successful tinkering, which I've done before, and will now do again. I first tried swapping the Pisco for Aquavit, a spirit close to my heart and if not a niche spirit I don't know what one is. While the simple substitution made for a delightful enough drink, I decided to dress 'er up a bit more, adding Celery bitters, which I find go well with Aquavit. Then I used Maraschino in place of some of the simple, rounding out the flavor and adding a bit of funky fruit in the finish to follow the herbal notes on the sip. An improvement, certainly, but I wasn't finished. Why not add a second niche spirit? I cut back on the Aquavit and added a nip of Mezcal, adding it's distinctive smoke, a yet rounder flavor, and perhaps even a hint of rebellion. (Though not to imply the Del Maguey line is something one needs to be dared to drink; it's fine stuff.) After all this, I give you the Sourvit, or "Sour of life", if you will:
  • 1 oz Aquavit (Aalborg Akvavit)
  • ½ oz Mezcal (Del Maguey Chichicapa)
  • ½ oz Maraschino Liqueur
  • ½ oz simple syrup (1:1)
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz egg white
  • 1 dash Celery Bitters (Scrappy's)
Dry shake, shake, double strain, top foam with a few extra drops of Celery Bitters. Sip poolside whilst the sun slips slowly down the sky.
Since I've been delinquent in posting recently, and it fits the bill, I'll leave you with a bonus Niche cocktail (and another Pisco Sour variant) I came up with back in March for TDN:Citrus. (nb this was certainly more than inspired by the tangerine pisco I had seen on cocktail virgin slut days before.)
Pisco Shenzhen
Dry shake, shake, double strain, top foam with a few drops of Nasturtium-Cumin Bitters. Sip whilst saluting TraderTiki and cursing Trader Vic.
Let me tell you, it was real torture methodically taste testing all the iterations. It is a fine drink with lime as well, but I had a slight preference for the lemon version, contra one of my guinea pig taste testers.

Hope you enjoy 'em, and stay tuned for Filip's roundup of all the entries in a few days. Though I'll be in Ireland, so I will have to wait 'til I return next week to peruse. Sláinte!