Christmas is rushing toward us, we are about to get hit by the usual amount of advertising pressure and any bar you will walk into, for the next month or so, will offer any sort of drink, specifically modified and engineered to reflect this holiday spirit. Now, just before all this nonsense is about to begin, the guys from BoozeNerds give us the chance to focus on what really should be intertesting about this season: nature, and in this particular case, evergreens. Here’s the post for this Mixology Monday theme: resin. I must admit, this was a difficult subject to work with, but I am glad that Christa and Shaung took the time to come up with something so challenging. At this time of the year resin is all around us with the balsamic fragrance of pine oils, fir essence, dried pine-cones and toasted pine-nuts. Here in Italy we start our weekend trips up on the mountains, were we seek refuge in wooden chalets, drinking hard stuff while the fireplace is crackling. But we also must admit that evergreens and their byproducts are with us all year long, we just concentrate their use during colder months, because they warm our spirit up, they give us a pampering sensation, and most of all, they are part of a tradition.
KNOCK ON WOOD
2 oz. Hennessy VS Cognac
0.75 oz. Pine-nuts orgeat*
3 dashes Bittertruth Aromatic Bitters
2 dashes Bittertrith Creole Bitters
pinch of citric acid
mist of Absinthe and pine essence candies
A little pine twig.
* to make this relatively simple orgeat I followed this recipe, substituting almonds for pine nuts, and adding cinnamon and star anise when cooking the syrup. I left out vodka as I was using the whole batch in a very short time.
Combine all the ingredients in a chilled mixing glass, add ice, stir quickly for around thirty second, and pour into a chilled coupe. Spray the mist on top a couple of times and then add the pine twig, fixing it with a tiny clothingpin.
For this mixology monday, given the traditional value of resin, I decided to play around with a sazerac, twisting the original recipe, created with cognac. Instead of simple or rich syrup I decided to use a homemade orgeat made from roasted pine nuts. This syrup gives a warm, wintery vibe, with the star anise delicately subbing in for the traditional absinthe or herbsaint rinse. Pine nuts are rather dullin my opinion, but once they are roasted they give out a hell of a flavor, that ended up being the backbone of this drink. It plays really well with cognac, as other nutty modifiers usually do with this french spirit, but it commands a bit of acidity to round out the flavor, hence the citric acid. Unfortunately I didn’t have any Peychaud’s in the house so I played around with other bitters, until I found a good balance between the herbs of Aromatic Bitters and the chocolate cherry of Creole Bitters. I wanted to use the mist to add a more sazerac aroma, so I combined absinthe with a syrup made by pine essence candies (we call them pine drops here in Italy) dissolved in water, no heating necessary, just a bit of waiting around, but in this way all the volatiles of the pine essencedon’t get lost in the coccking processand they get carried up in the air by the alcohol vapors of the absinthe.
Overall a good drink, very seasonal and definitely a solid twist on a big classic. I would have loved it to be clearer but the pine-nuts orgeat is very murky, If anyone can find a way to make it cristal clear, well let me know, I would love to try that out.
In the meantime, thanks to all of my readers, to the guys at Boozenerds and Fred from Cocktail Virgin Slut for keeping this awesome reality alive! Salute!