Tuesday, August 10, 2010

[blood and nog]

1 1/2 oz Kilkerran Scotch
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 dash Fee's Peach Bitters
1 Egg Yolk

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with grated nutmeg and straws.

For my second drink at Eastern Standard a week and a half ago (part of my birthday bar crawl), I challenged bartender Hugh Fiore to come up with a drink that paired Scotch with egg yolk. The idea came from a soundbite I overheard at Tales of the Cocktail about how umami can influence the flavor of Scotch; however, I did not hear the rest of how that Scotch-yolk pairing would work, so I decided to try it first hand. While egg yolk drinks are more traditionally associated with the winter, my curiosity knows no season.
Hugh described how one of Chicago's Violet Hour's drinks influenced him; that drink, the Golden Age, was a combination of rum, egg yolk, lemon juice, Cherry Heering, and lemon bitters. Hugh's drink lacked the citrus component of the Golden Age and instead seemed to have a Blood and Sand directionality to it. The drink started with a nutmeg-spiced nose. A light cherry flavor on the sip played with the complex Punt e Mes notes, while the Scotch came out the most on the swallow. The egg yolk contributed greatly and mellowed out the drink with a bounty of creamy notes. As the ice melted, the Scotch became rather prominent in the flavor profile.

Midway through my drink, bar manager Jackson Cannon came by to talk. When he asked what I was drinking, Jackson responded to my mention that Hugh's drink was "a Blood and Sand all nogged out" by commenting on how the egg yolk and orange juice would be playing similar roles here and in the Blood and Sand, respectively. Orange juice, unlike most citrus, is good for taming rougher flavors. A good example would be during Prohibition when rather horrid bathtub gin was common, and bartenders of the day developed drinks like the Orange Blossom (the original Gin'n'Juice) or called upon pre-Prohibition ones like the Bronx to mitigate the poor quality of the spirit. Of course, to one up the orange juice's effect in the Bronx, there is the orange juice and egg yolk-containing Bronx Golden that Green Street proudly keeps on their A-to-Z cocktail menu.

I am not sure what the punchline to the Scotch and egg yolk soundbite was, but perhaps it did not matter. Overall, I was quite pleased by the drink, although I would probably recommend a try more in the colder months to come. For my last drink at Eastern Standard that afternoon, I asked Hugh Fiore if they had Old Tom Gin at the bar and then requested his best Martinez to round out this portion of my afternoon.

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