It’s back, time for more runs out into the world of cocktails. Today, I bring to you one that had me searching for ingredients, and two that break the standard rules of cocktails. The first is something that we’ve touched on before, but with a twist. A couple weeks back, a news story popped up in my newsfeed talking about the dangers of the Moscow Mule (you can tell it was a while back, because it wasn’t renamed). The concern was that if you’re drinking the cocktail out of a pure copper mug (not clad in stainless inside as most are), the acidity of the drink will leach copper into the drink, and you would consume it. In order to reach toxic levels, you would need to consume an extraordinary amount of warm drinks over a day.
Due to clicking on that link, my newsfeed was stuffed with articles, recipes, stories and the like about Moscow Mules for the next week. Among them, I learned of an interesting ingredient: Butterfly Pea Flowers. These flowers make a tea that has a mild flavor, is bright blue, and will change color when it comes in contact with an acid (purple to pink depending on the pH). With this in mind, you can make the tea, and then freeze it into ice cubes.
Then you build a drink (for this recipe they referred to it as the Galaxy Magic Mule):
Fill a clear glass (preferably double walled) about 2/3rds full with crushed clear ice. Top with crushed butterfly pea flower ice. Add juice of half a lime, add 2 ounces vodka, top with ginger beer. After that, gently stir, and top with more of the butterfly pea flower ice.
You can swap out the vodka for gin, or Irish whiskey, or pretty much anything that works well with ginger beer and lime.
To more traditional, but still no less shocking cocktails, we’ll move on to one that is surprisingly tasty even with the ingredients used
This drink takes Angostura bitters, and uses that as the base alcohol. Instead of a dash or two of bitters, this drink makes it the star. The base recipe is:
- 1.5 ounce Angostura bitters
- 0.5 ounce rye whiskey
- 0.75 ounce lemon juice
- 1 ounce orgeat
Take all of that, add to a shaker with ice, and shake until chilled and combined. Strain (if you want to be really fancy, you can double strain it) into a cocktail glass (or a Nick and Nora glass). Garnish with a lemon twist to complete the illusion of sophistication.
The lemon and the orgeat round out the bitters, and produce a very dark red, herbaceous drink. The hardest part in making it for me was getting the little plug out of the top of the bitters bottle to be able to pour out 1.5 ounces of bitters. I haven’t tested this with other bitter manufacturers, but would be very interested in hearing of others experiments with bitters as a base alcohol.
This next one popped up in my news feed around St. Patrick’s Day, and introduced me to a cocktail that makes Irish Whisky and Scotch play together well:
The base recipe for this is:
- 1 ounce Irish Whiskey (I tested this with Quiet Man)
- 1 ounce Scotch Whisky (I tested this with Laphroig, go big or go home for a rule breaking cocktail, right?)
- 0.5 ounce lemon juice
- 0.5 ounce orgeat
Take these ingredients, put them into a shaker filled with ice. Then shake until chilled and mixed, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
The Laphroig came through still, but the drink as a whole played well together. When I make this in the future, I’ll try to have a blended scotch or more neutral one on hand to make this (such as Dewar’s or Glenlivet).
From a story I read, this drink was overlooked for many years, as the cocktail was first in print in 1922. However, it appears that there was a transcription error when it was added to the 1935 Mr. Boston Bartender’s Guide, where the orgeat got changed over to orange bitters, removing any sweetness from the drink at all. Mr. Boston didn’t correct the recipe for this drink until after the year 2000.
So I hope this encourages you to try something new this coming weekend. Based on conversations amongst some people chattering away on one of the Zoom meetings, it appears that there is also some interest in me putting together a piece on the history of Irish and Scotch whisk(e)y. If that interest holds up amongst you, the commentariat, I’ll see what I can find with some sources and do the history some justice.