Wit-ty Flip

drambuie

Here’s one more preview of the cocktails Ezra Johnson-Greenough and I will be serving at our Brewing Up Cocktails Spirited Dinner at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. Because we’re gluttons for punishment, we’re serving not one but two flips during our dinner. That means that if all 70 seats sell out, we’ll be shaking up 140 flips in the course of an evening in addition to 140 other drinks. Our arms will be feeling it the next day.

New Orleans in summer doesn’t exactly scream flips, but this one bucks the reputation flips have as heavy, wintertime indulgences. The four ounces of Belgian-style witbier used in this drink lightens and carbonates the cocktail, making it suitable for hotter weather. The orange peel and coriander often used in witbier also make a nice complement to the spice and herbal notes in Drambuie:

1 1/2 oz Drambuie
3/4 oz lemon juice
2 dashes orange bitters
2 dashes allspice dram
1 whole egg
4 oz witbier
nutmeg, for garnish

Pour the beer into a pilsner or wine glass. Shake all the other ingredients hard with ice. Fine strain back into the mixing glass and then pour into the beer. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg. (Pouring the heavier flip mixture into the beer rather than the other way around ensures that it mixes thoroughly.)

If this drinks sound weird, you don’t have to take my word for its tastiness: A version of it took third place in the Drambuie Nail or Fail cocktail competition earlier this year.

Tickets for our Spirited Dinner, happening this Thursday, are on sale here. It’s at Emeril’s Delmonic Steakhouse and is sponsored by Drambuie and El Dorado rum.

[Photo via the Drambuie Facebook page.]

I’ve been borscht’ed!

Today I’m helping kick off guest blogger month at one of Portland’s best and most esoteric blogs, the one and only Iced Borscht. When I was first invited to contribute I said I’d only do it for my usual honorarium of $700, a case of Fernet, and a Scotch egg, but then he named me “one of the top political minds in town” and I lowered my fee to just the egg.

Click over to Iced Borscht for my post about one of Carlyle’s favorite seasonal cocktails, the Erica’s Impulse, a tasty fall drink featuring brandy and allspice dram.

MxMo bourbon: Amy’s Mom

Ginger ale cocktail

Because my friend Amy was there at the time, and her mom likes ginger drinks, and that’s how this one came to be…

This month’s Mixology Monday theme is bourbon, hosted by my fellow Arlingtonians at Scofflaw’s Den. Bourbon’s one of my favorite spirits, and a conversation about drinks made with ginger ale inspired my friend and I to try out the Bufala Negra from the Oakroom in Louisville, KY, as printed in the Food and Wine 2008 Cocktails 2008 guide. It’s a drink that combines balsamic vinegar and basil — a duo I enjoyed in my previous MxMo — with bourbon and ginger ale. I’m sure it’s a great drink at the Oakroom, but it was missing a little something when I made it at home. Maybe it was the ginger ale I used (Reed’s) or the substitution of balsamic syrup for separate vinegar and simple syrup (see the previous entry), but it needed a little bit more complexity.

That’s where the allspice dram comes in. Originally known as “pimento dram,” the obscure liqueur fell out of favor and was largely forgotten except among true drink enthusiasts, some of whom turned to making homemade versions from rum, allspice, and sugar. Luckily, it’s back, and with a name that doesn’t bring to mind those weird red things in the center of cocktail olives: St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram. (DC area readers can find it at Central Liquors.)

Allspice, so named because the berries of the pimento bush reminded the English or clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices all at once, is intensely aromatic, and can add wonderful complexity to cocktails. Often used in tiki drinks, it also plays well with bourbon, as in the classic Lion’s Tail. A little dash of it was just what my drink needed, and we’re pretty sure Amy’s mom would like it too. Here’s a recipe that worked for me, but vary it to fit your particular ingredients:

3 basil leaves, plus 1 for garnish
1/3 oz balsamic syrup
2 oz bourbon (I used Bulleit)
1/4 oz allspice dram
ginger ale (I used Reed’s)

Muddle the basil leaves with the syrup, add the bourbon and allspice dram, shake, and strain over ice. Top with a short pour of ginger ale. Add the garnish and enjoy.

Update 6/19/08: The month’s full recap is posted here.