Wednesday, August 4, 2010

bowery sour

2 oz New Amsterdam Gin
2 Strawberries
1/2 oz Lime Juice
2 barspoon Sugar (3/8 oz Simple Syrup)
2 leaf Basil
1 pinch Curry Powder (pea-sized pinch)

Muddle fruit, juice, sugar, and curry. Add gin and ice, shake, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a strawberry and a basil leaf.
On Sunday morning after the Bartenders' Breakfast followed by a 4 hour breakdown of the Mixo House bar, I got a little sleep and somehow made it to breakfast and then the New Amsterdam Next GINeration Cocktail Challenge at 10:30am on Sunday morning. I was working on 3 hours of sleep (about 10 hours over the last three nights) so I started downing coffee to mentally wake up for the event. By the middle of my third mug, I was good and rambling (I know there is video of this and I sure hope it never airs...). I had some pre-gaming strategy with Jackson Cannon the week before Tales who gave the helpful hint that New Amsterdam pairs rather well with berries. Once I surveyed the ingredients table, this tip was quite helpful. There was nothing to play with other than fruits, herbs, spices, juices, and sweeteners; the only spirit was the gin so all of my ideas with vermouth and the like were out. When the contest started, we had 10 minutes to make up our drink. The logistical nightmare of 16 contestants all running toward the ingredients table (pushed against the wall to block one side of entry) would have been horrific had I not known what I had wanted and was able to grab it over people's shoulders. With 5 minutes left, I had everything ready, including garnish, except for the ice and shaking (no sense in doing this until the last minute) and a name. I walked over to Andrea and asked for help. I knew I wanted the word "Sour" in the title but my mind had blanked. Brand Ambassador Alex Ott's talking about the Manhattan-New Amsterdam connection triggered the name "Bowery Sour" which seemed to have a good ring to it.
The Bowery Sour was slightly tart which would have made it a great pre-prandial drink; upping the sugar to 3 barspoons or using a 1/2 oz of simple syrup would have made for a better balance but I did not have the time to adjust the sweetness. The strawberry flavors paired rather well with the gin as well as the basil, and the hint of curry added some accents that accentuated the gin's botanicals. Keeping the ingredients list simple was my goal, and the simplicity allowed each flavor to shine through without getting muddled. Overall, the judges apparently liked my drink and were impressed that I had garnished both the main cocktail glass and the tasting glasses. In retrospect, my drink would have done better had I stuck to a New Orleans theme and called it something like the "Decatur Street Sour." Sleep deprivation made me focus more on the flavor than satisfying everything about the contest. My neighbor, Payman Bahmani from Umamimart, won the judges nod and the grand prize; however, I did not leave empty handed for I received a glorious Yarai mixing glass for my efforts.

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