Monday, September 17, 2012

All Else Equal

I know that I speak for many who thank Paul Clarke for his years of thoughtful contribution and insight thru the portal of Mixology Monday, while also welcoming the well-traveled imbiber Frederick as its new host.  Thankfully, he wasted no time in getting MxMo back in gear by offering up this month's theme, 'Equal Parts', as described...

For this month, I have chosen the theme of equal part cocktails -- those simple drinks where only one jigger is needed despite how many ingredients are added. These recipes have gained a lot of popularity as classics like the Negroni and Last Word have resurfaced, and variations of these equal part wonders have become abundant. Besides these three and four equal parts recipes, I have had delightful two, five, and six part drinks, and I have definitely spotted seven and more part Pousse-caf├ęs in the literature.

As the resurfacing of MxMo came at the same time I had been reading up on a new method to prep oleo saccharum, I wanted to put my recent efforts to work.  For those unaware, oleo saccharum ('oily sugar') has quite a long history as a critical component of punches and dates back to sometime in the 17th is also but one of the highlights of David Wondrich's wonderful book, Punch.  I was fortunate enough to meet David at a cocktail event hosted by The Aviary earlier this year where he mixed up a number of different punches and described the process of prepping an oleo saccharum.  While not an extremely laborious venture, it does take about an hour of attention, a good recipe from Micheal Dietsch can be found here.  However, for those with access to a handy vacuum sealer, Jeffery Morgenthaler has come up with an ingenious way to whip one up in advance with less effort.  Having already made oleo saccharum in the traditional manner, I went with the Morgenthaler method this time around and used it to create a more cocktail-friendly syrup.

Grapefruit ginger oleo saccharum syrup
Zest from one large grapefruit
Thumb-sized chunk of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
4 oz sugar
4 oz water

Add grapefruit zest, sliced ginger, and sugar to a vacuum bag and seal.  Let sit at room temperature over night until the oils incorporate the sugar.  Strain contents thru a fine mesh sieve (should net about 2 oz), add water, and shake well until homogenous.  Store in a clean bottle and refrigerate. 

Grapefruit zest and ginger

Ingredients freshly vacuum sealed

Overnight oleo saccharum

Grapefruit oleo saccharum syrup

Finally...on to the cocktail.  The original direction I wanted to go with involved a combination I really enjoy, tequila and grapefruit.  After I had prepped and tasted the grapefruit syrup, a pairing with Campari came to mind, along with some sharp acidity from lime juice.  I thought these ingredients would work well to bring overall balance to the drink...the vibrant, citrusy, sweet syrup countered by the lime and the slight bitterness of Campari, all in the the backdrop of a crisp blanco tequila.  Given the grapefruit focus, the name is a simple tribute to Kimball Chase Atwood, a notable and early contributor to the US citrus industry who developed one of the largest grapefruit groves in the world in the early 1800s.

3/4 oz Espolon blanco
3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz grapefruit ginger oleo saccharum syrup
3/4 oz lime juice 

Combine all ingredients with ice and shake until very well chilled.  Double strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.


And with that, we appear back in the groove with the return of MxMo.  Thanks once again to Frederick for taking the reins from Paul and hosting it long-awaited resumption.  And of course, be sure to check out the full roundup of what were some very nice MxMo contributions. 

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