Friday, May 8, 2009

sinatra smash

4 Fresh Blackberries
1 oz Lemon Juice (or 1/2 oz Lemon + 1/2 oz Lime)
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Creme de Cassis
1/4 oz Vanilla Simple Syrup
1 1/2 oz Whiskey

Muddle blackberries in lemon juice. Add rest of ingredients, shake, and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Yesterday, Andrea pointed me to a recipe she had spotted in this year's James Beard Foundation blog for a cocktail served at the reception. The bartenders at the reception included Boston's own Misty Kalkofen and Josey Packard (see their recipes on this LUPEC Boston blog post) and other female bartenders including Patricia Richards of the Wynn Las Vegas. Patricia created the Sinatra Smash which sadly was the only cocktail recipe to make it into the James Beard blog.
I interpreted Patricia's recipe in a few ways. For the 1 1/2 oz fresh sweet and sour mix, I used 1 oz lemon juice and a 1/2 oz simple syrup, but feel free to substitute your favorite homemade sour mix recipe (ones include equal parts simple, lemon, and lime and sometimes even a touch of egg white). For the vanilla infused simple syrup, I added a dash of vanilla extract to a 1/2 oz of simple syrup since we did not have the Sonoma one that she had. Lastly, her recipe used Gentleman Jack Tennessee Whiskey and we subbed in a spicy rye, Rittenhouse 100, instead.

Overall, it was a tasty and refreshing drink. I would have preferred a drier drink with less simple syrup to bring out the crispness of the citrus (perhaps 1/2 oz simple instead of 3/4 oz total); however, the drink was not overly sweet. Andrea and I disagreed on how much of a role the whiskey played in the drink. I thought the whiskey was understated with it giving some rich notes and spiciness whereas Andrea felt it was very much in the forefront for her. Indeed, increasing the whiskey to 2 or 2 1/2 oz would certainly keep in theme of honoring Frank. Lastly, strainer choice can greatly effect this drink. Our three part shaker had somewhat small diameter holes which decreased the amount of muddled berry bits that made it into the drink (most of the bigger bits stayed back with the ice); the use of a Hawthorn strainer would have given the drink a lot more texture. So choose your straining method accordingly to taste and desired result.

Cheers to the Chairman of the Board!

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