Redemption Cup, for MxMo LXXI

13 Mar

mxmologoIt’s time for a new Mixology Monday recipe! For the month of March this online community is guided by Scott Diaz of Shake, Strain & Sip , and this “From Crass to Craft” theme is very intriguing to say the least. After reading the announcement post I found myself agreeing with Scott on all fronts: we are becoming snobs.
I work in a bar where the majority of my guests are women and their drinks of choice are either some incredibly sweet mocktails or, before dinner, Aperol spritzers (in Italy Aperol is unfortunately taking over any other spirit and/or liqueur in the predinner segment). After dinner they usually move toward ” fruity, sweet with vodka please”. We do mix our fair share of craft cocktails, but that happens only after dinner, and very few ladies accept to try something out of the ordinary. Italy’s cocktail culture is indeed very poor, we are still paying for the lack of professionalism of the 90’s, and many guests are still very unsure about drinking something made with more than two ingredients, let alone if it includes house-made tinctures or revived ingredients from a bygone era (you should see the disgusted look of my guests when I tell them that I use egg whites). Things are slowly getting better, and younger customers are become more educated about cocktails, thanks to some great bartenders around my country, and in a few years we might be able to compare our cocktail scene with the ones from other countries.
But what do I have to do in the meantime? Look at my guests straight in the eye and tell them they don’t understand a thing, upon ordering a mint flavored vodka and Red Bull? Of course not. Everyone is entitled to have his poison of choice and I am in no position to judge, I can only serve and let the guest have a good time.
This month theme was a perfect way to think about something that could of course satisfy the palate of my customers, while retaining a bit of quality and craftsmanship.

2013-03-13 13.37.38

Redemption Cup

Ingredients:
1.25 oz. Belvedere Vodka
0.75 oz. Redemption liqueur (chamomile, honey, black pepper and cointreau)
5 fresh basil leaves
Strawberry and lemon ice ball.*

Garnish:
3 cubed strawberries on a skewer and a fresh basil sprig.

Prep:
Massage the basil leaves and put them in a mixing glass. Add ice and the other ingredients and stir for a good 30 seconds. Double strain over a large flavoured ice ball, in a large chilled cup.

Inspired by Elana of Stir and Strain and her “El Jardin de mi Abuela“, I decided to play with flavored ice. My idea was to create something that would gradually change flavor, becoming more and more fruity with the passing of the time. Strawberries and black pepper always pair well together, and basil gives that freshness that a drink like this needs. It’s always fun to play around with vodka, as it gets whatever flavor you decide, the only problem was marrying chamomile and black pepper. I tried the drink with a bit of chamomile, pepper syrup and honey but it wasn’t right, so I decided to prepare a “liqueur” mixing Cointreau to a honey syrup infused with black pepper and chamomile. It worked much better, all the ingredients where blending perfectly, and at a 1:1 ratio, the drink was not as spirit forward as the first attempt. This is definitely a girly drink, but not right from the start, where you can taste all the herbs and infusions. Already after a minute you can feel strawberry in the sip and in the aroma. After 5 minutes the drink is still cold but has radically changed its profile, showing plenty of strawberry and citrus, with few hints of pepper and basil.
This was a every interesting challenge, hopefully my customers will enjoy the result of it, if not, I have plenty of Aperol left.

*The ice ball must be prepared in advance, and it’s basically strawberries, lemon and sugar, all blended together and filtered through cheesecloth. The resulting juice is then placed in a round ice mold, ready to be used when fully frozen.

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One Response to “Redemption Cup, for MxMo LXXI”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. MxMo LXXI Roundup | Shake, Strain & Sip - May 21, 2013

    […] from Italy, Raffelle Bellmoi at The Shorter Straw brought us an innovative twist on a classic cup, The Redemption Cup, that uses a strawberry and lemon ice ball that slowly melts into Belvedere Vodka and his honey, […]

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