Friday, April 30, 2010

battle of trafalgar

1 1/2 oz Pimm's No. 1
3/4 oz St. Germain
3/4 oz Batavia Arrack
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Honey Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist an orange peel over the drink and discard.

On Sunday night, I made my way over to Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square. Andrea had spoken highly of it when she went to the soft opening a few weeks ago, and the leftover veggie pizza that she returned home with backed up her story. The restaurant is spread out over two floors with a bar on each. I wandered down the stairs to the U-shaped bar where head bartender and Drink-alum Aaron Butler was behind the stick. The cocktail I started with was the Battle of Trafalgar; when I asked Aaron why he named the drink that, he replied that he was an English history major in college. Perhaps it was the Pimm's that made Aaron think of England and the lime that made him think of their Navy; regardless, it was a battle of some rather intriguing flavors in the drink's ingredients list.
The Battle of Trafalgar started off with a vibrant orange oil nose, and the sip was crisp and spicy from the St. Germain and lime juice. The Batavia Arrack appeared on the swallow with a pleasant lingering of Pimm's notes. It was interesting how the drink seemed sweeter on the swallow instead of on the sip as the honey coincided with the Pimm's flavors on the aftertaste. The recipe that Aaron provided me above was for a 3 1/2 oz drink he developed for the menu using solely 1 oz of Pimm's, and not the 4 oz drink that they now serve. In the adjustments made in the scale up, the drink changed a little and ended up a tad sweeter.

2 comments:

Devin said...

Hi, Fred. I was just wondering how you go about asking bartenders for the exact recipes for their cocktails, particularly bartenders that you might not have a previous relationship with. Do you tell them you're a blogger and that you want to post the recipe online? Do you ask less directly? As a person who has often struggled to recreate at home the drinks I've had in bars around town, I'd love to know your secret. Thanks!

frederic said...

If I feel comfortable, I ask. If I don't I watch every jigger, spoon, and dash measurement and record it (on paper or mentally) and if I'm not sure whether that was a 3/4 or 1 oz jigger or what was in the unmarked bottle (or whether my count from a speed pourer was accurate), I ask specific questions. That usually gets them talking about the recipe. Not paying attention (and especially not even sitting at the bar) gives you a lot less leverage.