Wednesday, November 29, 2006

MixMo follow-up

Okay, so much for my plan to post something on a more or less weekly basis. Where was I? . . .

. . . I suppose now that I've made my case for the Fancy Gin Cocktail with Peychaud's I'll mention a few drinks that also place an even greater emphasis on cocktail bitters. These were new to me though a two of the three have been around for ages. I used Plymouth gin and I served them "up" in a chilled rocks glass.

The Angler Cocktail
from
Vintage Cocktails by Susan Waggoner/Robert Markel
2 oz gin
3 dashes Angostura bitters
3 dashes orange bitters
2 dashes grenadine

Stir and strain.

Pink Gin
2 oz gin
6 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir & strain. [I've also seen recipes for this served neat, served up and also on the rocks. Stirring seemed to me to make the most sense but you're welcome to follow your heart (or fave cocktail guru) on this one.]

Derby
2 oz gin
2 dash peach bitters
2 sprigs mint
Stir & strain. [Or shake & strain into chilled cocktail glass].

I liked all three but I think the Derby is the only one I'm likely to make again. The combination of peach and mint seemed promising and it did make for a pleasant drink. Fee's Peach Bitters are very mild and I was concerned that they would be overwhelmed by the mint and the gin so I used three dashes instead of two. To my surprise, however, while I've found that peach bitters are sometimes lost in a whiskey cocktail they held up just fine in this very simple gin cocktail. I think two dashes would have been better. The peach flavor may have been just a touch heavy.

I felt that all three drinks could have benefited from the addition of another ingredient. Dry vermouth or Lillet would certainly have improved the Angler and the Pink Gin. I did like the Pink Gin more at the end of the drink than at the beginning though. I suppose I might make another some time. The Angler was okay but I never got past the feeling that it was missing something. I can't say as I'll ever make it again--certainly not as is. It's a nice start to a cocktail though. Adding, say, maraschino liqueur and/or vermouth might lead to something more memorable.

And, finally, one more recipe from Dave Wondrich, this time one of his own inventions. I haven't tried it yet but I thought I'd include for any gin-haters who may be reading. It's essentially an Old Fashioned Vodka Cocktail so it should look familiar. It might make a nice change of pace when you vodka fans are out of tonic or in the mood for something a little different.
The Delancey
2 oz vodka
½ teaspoon Demerara simple syrup (2:1)
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash Peychaud's or Angostura bitters

Combine in a rocks glass, stir well. Add 2-3 large ice cubes, stir some more and twist a swatch of thin-cut lemon peel over the top. Let sit for a couple of minutes before drinking.
So, if you don't have any bitters at home, grab a bottle of Angostura the next time you're at the grocery store. Even if you're not a big cocktail drinker you can use them in cooking or to flavor your favorite carbonated beverage. Try a couple dashes in a nice cold glass of seltzer or club soda or in your next gin & tonic or Greyhound. You may even want to try a stronger dose if you have an upset stomach. Most if not all bitters were initially developed as stomach tonics or general health tonics.

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