Sunday, December 13, 2009

red rot cocktail

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo XLIV) is "money drinks" as chosen by Kevin Langmack of the Beers in the Shower blog. Kevin defined his concept as, "I feel a "Money" drink is something you can put in front of anyone, regardless of tastes or distastes about the spirits involved. Come up with a drink or a list based on spirits about drinks that would appeal to anyone." After giving the theme a little thought, I realized that I often look to our bottle of St. Germain elderflower liqueur when looking for a crowd pleaser. Some of the St. Germain recipes that I have had good luck with are Jamie Boudreau's La Bicyclette and L'Amour En Fuite and John Gertsen's Means of Preservation, and I believe that I have never failed with these recipes. One other recipe we have had decent luck with, the Red Rot Cocktail, was created here in Boston for a Roaring Twenties event that we read about.

The Red Rot Cocktail was created for that event at the Boston Athenaeum, one of America's oldest private libraries. The name was apropos as red rot is a type of deterioration of tanned leather that occurs when the tannins (often found in books from the latter half of the 19th century) degrade to a fine red powder, and the non-potable red rot cocktail is a chemical mixture used to treat leather bindings for retarding the decay. The potable format was created by Lauren Clark of DrinkBoston and Misty Kalkofen of Drink and hopefully none of it spilled on any century old book bindings. The drink's description was written by Lauren in Charles H. Baker-ese and I have included an easier to follow recipe below it including the gin choice we used:
Red Rot Cocktail, which Rather Resembles the Noxious Liquid Medicine for Moldy Red Leather-bound Books but Nonetheless Pleases the Palate

To one jigger of London dry gin add one half ounce each of St. Germain elderflower liqueur, Cherry Heering and fresh lemon juice, and two goodly dashes of Peychaud's bitters. Shake vigorously with ice and turn into a champagne saucer.

• 1 1/2 oz Dry Gin (Berkshire Mountain Distillers' Ephemeral)
• 1/2 oz St. Germain
• 1/2 oz Cherry Heering
• 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
• 2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.
I opted for our bottle Ephemeral gin as it is a lighter, less junipery style; the Ephemeral might still appeal to people who claim not to care for gin while being complex enough to keep gin drinkers intrigued. Another fine gin choice would be Plymouth which is rather mildly flavored and is the one that Lauren used in this video on How2Heroes. The red part of the name derives from two components, the Cherry Heering liqueur and the Peychaud's bitters which impart a decently deep hue to the cocktail. The drink starts with cherry and lemon fruit aromas on the nose, and the sip yields a pleasing but not incredibly challenging level of spice. The gin is not as pronounced as it can be in many drinks, but is apparent on the swallow, and the drink falls safely in the middle of the sweetness spectrum. Furthermore, the Red Rot Cocktail's color is rather pretty but not too much so to scare off a guy. Perhaps the drink's name might not appeal to everyone, but the drink's taste sure has a good fighting chance to do so.
Cheers to Kevin for hosting this Mixology Monday and to the rest of the participants for their entries!


Unknown said...

My favorite money drink is a toronto! Deep Ellum makes a killer one, as does Kevin at ES...

frederic said...

Independent also has it on their menu now. The problem with the Toronto, which is a tasty Old Fashioned-sort of drink, is that Fernet Branca is not for everyone. Even at a 1/4 oz per Toronto...