Monday, April 4, 2011

spring in the afternoon

2 oz Fava Bean Leaf-infused Brugal White Rum
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Brut Sparkling Wine
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Grapefruit Bitters

Light a piece of dried loomi (black lime) on fire so it smolders; overturn a rocks glass to capture the smoke. Shake the drink contents with ice. Upright the rocks glass, add a large ice cube, and strain the drink into the glass. Garnish with a fava bean leaf over the ice cube and add a straw.

On Wednesday, I paid a visit to bartender Todd Maul at Clio in Boston. I had gotten wind that his new Spring menu had launched, and I was eager to try a drink or two from the list. The cocktail that Todd wanted to show me first was his abstraction of Ernest Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon called Spring in the Afteroon. Instead of an absinthe-filled Champagne cocktail, the absinthe was removed for a Rum Sour base and the sparkling wine aspect was minimized and shaken with the drink to impart the flavor but remove the carbonation. One of the secrets to the drink was a white rum infused with fava bean leaves using an iSi Cream Whipper as written about by the Cooking Issues blog; when I tasted a fava bean leaf, it reminded me a lot of the bean shell (minus the salt) when eating edamame at a sushi restaurant. The other trick Todd utilized was similar to the one in his Smoking Cinnamon; however, instead of a cinnamon stick, he used a Middle Eastern black lime (or loomi) as a smoke source to flavor the inside of the glass. Todd explained that his drink was like a picture of a spring day -- the high notes of the fava bean leaf were like the grass and the low notes of the smoke were like the wet earth underneath.
Todd's two tricks contributed greatly to the Spring in the Afternoon's nose; the aroma started with a smoky nose with a green note poking through at the end of the inhale. The smoke entered the flavor as well as a slight acrid note that dissipated over time. The base of the drink contained a slightly sharp citrus sip that ended sweeter with lingering rum notes. The Champagne, while not contributing carbonation, did provide a white wine flavor on the sip that complemented the grapefruit bitters.

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