Friday, September 17, 2010

spice trade

1 oz Kümmel (Helbing)
1 oz Herbsaint Legendre
3/4 oz Curaçao (Curaçao de Curaçao)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After getting home from the dinner at Lineage, it was time for a nightcap. The drink I picked, the Spice Trade, was one that we found in an addendum to the Rogue Beta Cocktails book. When we were at the Cure Bar in New Orleans in July, I asked if their new cocktail book was ready. It was not, but they handed me a booklet of recipes which included their last book's drinks plus five new ones. The Spice Trade seemed like an oddball especially with a beast like kümmel (especially our harsh kümmel-of-the-people) and an antagonist like Herbsaint all being balanced by Curaçao? Well, their cocktail book has yet to steer us wrong so we needed to give this drink a try.
The Spice Trade started with an orange and caraway seed aroma. Moreover, the sip was a bounty of anise, caraway, orange, and other flavors all strangely in balance. Andrea queried, "How does he [Kirk or the other bartender-authors] come up with this shit (and make it work)?" I gave that question some thought for a few days and realized that the recipe had a vague resemblance to William Schmidt's Weeper's Joy that he described in his 1892 book The Flowing Bowl (and David Wondrich included in Imbibe!):
Weeper's Joy
• 1 oz Kümmel
• 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
• 1 oz Absinthe
• 2 dash Curaçao
• 1/2 tsp Gomme Syrup
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Absinthe for Herbsaint. Sweet vermouth, gomme syrup, and a hint of Curaçao for a half jigger of Curaçao to maintain the same degree of sweetness. While not the same drink, both are delightfully complex and balanced in similar ways.

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