Wednesday, January 4, 2012

black market

1 1/2 oz Death's Door Gin
3/4 oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Black Tea Bitters (*)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.
(*) Lapsang souchong and black tea infused in rye whiskey, mixed with a 10x strength hot water tea steep, and flavored with a honey-lemon peel syrup.
Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I paid another visit to Deep Ellum when Max Toste was bartending. For my first drink, I asked for the Black Market which reminded me on paper of other sweet vermouth-citrus Sours like the Fig Leaf. The drink's lemon twist contributed greatly to the Black Market's aroma. The sip proffered a candied lemon flavor that was perhaps an interaction of the lemon with the sweet vermouth. The swallow then presented the gin with a tannin and smoky finish from the tea bitters.


Benjamin Shaw said...

Do you remember how long you steeped your tea for when making the bitters?

I have an idea for a riff on an Old Fashioned that I just started soaking bitters for... the basic recipe is sugar cubes stored with vanilla bean, blackberries slightly macerated with sugar and a little lemon zest, a real maraschino cherry or two, ice, ginger ale, brandy and... bitters. A combination of bitters that I can't find locally, so I'm just going to try my hand at making some.

For the bitters I'm separating the flavors into two different extractions with 190 proof grain alcohol diluted to about 110-120 proof. One with the spices (Cinnamon, Grains of Paradise, Black Pepper, Allspice.) The bittering portion is just black tea (Irish Breakfast with a little Lapsang for a hint of that pine resin smokey goodness.) I could see doing a full 2-3 week extraction being overkill on the tea. But I assume you want more than the 3-5 minute steep you'd do for a cup of hot water because the astringent bitter compounds

Oh, and a garnish of candied ginger and probably a slice of lemon.

frederic said...

Unfortunately, these house bitters were made at Deep Ellum as was the drink itself, so I have no further details on the bitters. Doing a time course on the smaller side might get you in the right ball park, or tasting it frequently on the larger side. Cheers!

Benjamin Shaw said...

Overnight seemed to do the trick for what I was looking for. Super easy... just placed loose tea in a Ball jar, covered with the liquor, and let sit overnight (tasting every now and then by spooning a small amount into still water or soda gave me a baseline guesstimate.) Then I screwed down just the ring of another ball jar over a coffee filter to decant and strain out the spent tea leaves.

The whole process seems a tiny bit wasteful as about half the liquid stayed soaked into the leaves. I could try to squeeze it out better or soak less tea longer for better efficiency, but... I ended up with about 6-8oz of bitters for maybe $5 or $6 worth of materials. Not worth my time unless I want to start making a living selling these. And I'm not confident enough yet to know if trying to squeeze out the very last drop will impart flat or even bad flavors.