Monday, March 17, 2008
I’ve noticed a fine tradition among many boozebloggers is to try a recipe and then tinker with it to suit their personal taste. I’ve done this occasionally, but more often than not, I tend to be happy with the initial results yielded by most recipes. I take this to mean one of two things:
1) I’m fairly lucky when selecting a particular recipe
2) I’ve got pretty low standards
Regardless, when I was looking for a high-octane drink to try out for this month’s MxMo (kindly hosted by Rick over at Kaiser Penguin), I figured I wouldn’t have too much difficulty finding something tasty and interesting. I scrounged up a candidate in Alex Barker’s 1001 Cocktails, and here’s the recipe exactly as it appears in the book:
1 measure vodka
2 measures Kahlua
1 measure gin
2 measures pineapple
1) Shake the first four ingredients well over ice until frosted.
2) Strain into a medium cocktail glass or wine glass and top up with tonic water to taste.
(I took “measure” to mean “ounce” in order to satisfy the minimum alcohol content requirement)
The tinkering began immediately. I felt that instead of straining it into a cocktail/wine glass, this drink needed to be served over crushed ice in a double-rocks glass (if for no other reason than a double-rocks would be able to hold more). Other than that, I prepared it as indicated.
It was, well, okay. Tasty? Sort of. Interesting? Not terribly. The Kahlua and pineapple completely dominated. It was also too sweet for my liking, so I wanted to get some tartness happening. I knocked a half-ounce off the Kahlua & pineapple juice, upped the gin to 1 1/2 ounces and added ¾ ounce of lime juice, resulting in this:
Something Like The Indian Summer
1 oz. vodka
1 1/2 Kahlua
1 1/2 oz. gin
1 1/2 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice
¾ oz. lime juice
Again, I shook everything and poured it over crushed ice in a double-rocks glass, topping with tonic water. This time around the balance was better, but it still tasted primarily of Kahlua & pineapple. An improvement, but it still wasn’t doing much for me overall.
Here’s where I kinda went off the rails and realized my obsessive fiddling would be taking this drink somewhere it never intended to be. First, the tonic water seemed unnecessary- it really didn’t add anything, and it just seemed to thin the flavors, so I left that out. Second, I scaled the Kahlua back another half-ounce. Third, I eliminated the vodka and substituted one ounce of rum.
The rum I chose was Brugal anejo. I’ve had a bottle for while now, and I have yet to use it in something where I’ve liked it much. To me, it has a bit of a harsh bite that I have a tough time getting past…but bite was exactly what this drink was lacking. I also threw in a couple dashes of Angostura bitters to pull things together.
So now I had this:
Something That Really Isn’t The Indian Summer Anymore
1 ½ oz. gin
1 oz. rum (Brugal anejo)
1 oz. Kahlua
1 ½ oz unsweetened pineapple juice
¾ oz. lime juice
2 hearty dashes of Angostura bitters
I shook it all and once more used the trusty double-rocks/crushed ice combo. And I actually didn’t think it turned out too bad. The rum and bitters give it some decent spice, and the ingredients seem to level out much better. It’s got some depth, and I like it.
Keen-eyed readers will of course notice this haphazard concoction is seriously verging on tiki territory (if it isn’t already there). For all I know, there may be actually be a tiki-style drink that uses this exact combination of ingredients- I’ll have to check that out sometime. Either way, I don’t think I’m quite done fiddling yet. Perhaps a few drops of mint bitters might be in order…