Monday, March 15, 2010

whiskey crusta

1/2 oz Orchard Syrup (* see below)
1-2 dash Boker's Bitters
1 dash Lemon Juice (1 tsp)
2 dash Maraschino Liqueur (1 tsp Luxardo)
1 1/2 oz Whiskey (Jim Beam Rye)

Wet outer edge of a wine glass with a slice of lemon and coat with sugar. Add a long wide lemon peel to a wine glass, and fill with crushed or finely shaved ice. Shake rest of ingredients separately with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with fruit.

On Friday, I read about one of Erik Ellestad's Sazerac variants which intrigued me not for its use of pig-infused whiskey but for its use of "orchard syrup" as a sweetener. Orchard syrup was a cocktail ingredient in the late 1800's and I had just spotted a few recipes in my copy of Harry Johnson's Bartenders' Manual a few days earlier. After two instances in a week, I decided that I needed to make my own (see recipe below). At the scale I made mine at, it took about 90 minutes to boil down the apple cider to a quarter of its original volume. At that point, the sweetened and spiced cider took on a honey-like consistency when cooled.
For an orchard syrup recipe, I went with the Whiskey Crusta since apples and whiskey seemed like a good pairing (see Stone Fence) and I have not made a crusta at home in quite a while. The drink started with a sharp, hot rye flavor, and this was tempered somewhat by the fruity sweetness of the apple syrup and Maraschino liqueur. The sugar on the rim helped to mitigated the various sour, rough, and bitter notes in the drink by providing a sweet respite when needed through rotating the glass to a fresh part of the rim. While most Whiskey Crusta recipes lack apple syrup, the drink definitely benefited from the richness of flavors from its inclusion.
Orchard Syrup
• 6 cups Apple Cider
• 1 tbsp (1/2 oz) Lemon Juice
• 1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice Powder
• 1/2 cup Sugar
Pour ingredients into a pot. Heat to reduce ingredients down to 1/4 original volume (around 1 1/2 cup) while stirring every 10 minutes or so. Easiest way to determine the end point is to mark the initial liquid depth on a wood skewer and then measure what 1/4 the height would be with a second mark. Should be lightly adherent to a spoon when done (and still hot) and honey-like when cold (easier to measure out when warm or at least room temperature). Recipe modified from here with spice suggestion from Jennifer Colliau of Small Hand Bartender.


SPS said...

Nice pic! Did you, by any chance, read this article ( and get some tips?

By the way, you offered me some Boston bar recommendations a few weeks ago and I had a great time at both Drink and Green Street. Also, on a visit to Boston Shaker, I met your wife. Such lovely people, you Bostonians.

frederic said...

I've read Pegu Doug's article before but my camera is not fancy enough to take great photos -- I have a point and shoot which is really handy on the road. It's macro function is good, but way below a SLR digital camera.

Glad you had a good time at Green Street and hope the rest of your trip went well!