3 oz Batavia Arrack
1 heaping barspoon Szechuan Peppercorns
1 heaping barspoon Sugar
4 dash Grapefruit Bitters
2 dash Mole Bitters
Muddle peppercorns, sugar, and bitters. Add Batavia Arrack and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain into a rocks glass pre-rinsed with Scotch and containing a large ice cube. Twist a grapefruit peel over the top and discard.
On Sunday night, to follow up my Indian-spiced Scotch flip, John Gertsen suggested another smoky cocktail but one based on the Indonesian rum Batavia Arrack instead of whiskey. I was game although the concept of muddled Szechuan peppercorns sounded a bit intense especially when magnified by alcohol as the solvent.
The peppercorns in the drink itself were at just the right level. They provided a tingle on the lips but no notable discomfort at least for my palate. Surprisingly, the peppercorns paired up rather well with the grapefruit flavors from the bitters and the twist. The other major component of the drink was the smoke flavor. The Arrack's smokiness is on a different level and character from the previous drink's Laphroaig peat notes, and in the drink, it was complemented by the Ardbeg rinse. Spicy, smoky, intense. I could not get any tasting notes from Andrea since our two drink paths that night had diverged so greatly that her sip was like a foreign world compared to her cocktail. However, following my last drink, this old fashioned was right on the money.