Sunday, January 16, 2011

golden flip

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo LIV) was picked by Josh Cole of the Cocktail Assembly blog. Josh chose the theme of Flips that he more poetically phrased as "See You on the Flipside." His description was as follows, "There's never a bad time or temperature to enjoy the frothy glory that is the flip... When it's cold and the icy chill is tearing its way through to our bones, the heated flip opens its arms and embraces us like a warm blanket. When it's hot, the cool flip lowers the heat and can bring back that spring day memory of a creamy shake enjoyed on a front porch."

Hearing that the theme was Flips made me rather giddy at first since I love these drinks but also a little worried for we had worked our way through most of the interesting ones that we have found in our drink books. One option that was suggested to me was to take a classic drink and convert it into Flip format. This can be an intriguing experiment for sharp flavors are often smoothed over by the egg element, and a delightfully muted beverage is the end result. I was about to do that, but I decided to give our cocktail book library a last perusal.

Lo and behold, in George J. Kappeler's 1895 Modern American Drinks, I spotted one that I had not only never had before but never have spotted in another drink book -- the Golden Flip! I was a bit concerned that I had not observed this recipe in other books for recipes are often plagiarized in later publications. Was this drink that bad that it deserved to be forgotten? The zany dessertness of it grabbed me and we decided to give it a whirl. The drink had five ingredients -- two spirits, sugar, an egg, and a nutmeg garnish. The last three are standards for the style, but a Flip containing solely two liqueurs was a bit strange -- especially with those two being Maraschino and Yellow Chartreuse! For some reason, Kappeler felt the need to add even more sugar to these already sweet spirits.
Golden Flip
• 1 oz Maraschino (Luxardo)
• 1 oz Yellow Chartreuse
• 1/2 tsp Sugar
• 1 Egg
Dissolve sugar in a splash of water. Add spirits and egg. Shake once without ice and once with, and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
I kept the recipe intact but modernized the technique. There was no doubt about the naming convention -- it surely was golden!
The nose was mostly from the nutmeg with a hint of the Maraschino poking through. As for the taste, the sip was smooth but a bit non-distinctive; however, the swallow really packed a flavor punch with the Maraschino and Yellow Chartreuse shining through including the funkiness of the former and the mint-like note of the latter. Andrea described the flavor as "marzipan-like" and declared that it made for a good dessert cocktail. Surprisingly, the drink was not painfully sweet as the egg hid a lot of the sweetness, although I am still not sure that it needed the extra sugar. On the other hand, as the drink warmed up, it became a bit sweeter. Therefore, the egg and the cold must have been teaming up to mask the sugar content.

While Kappeler might have been writing about modern American drinks 116 years ago, I felt that the drink needed something to bring it into this decade. I felt that the drink could prosper from an aged spirit, like rye or Cognac, for it lacks a harsh note. With a base spirit, it might approach the wonders of the Widow's Kiss, one of Kappeler's other drinks in the book -- so perhaps not modernized at all, but adapted in his style. When I discussed the matter with Rendezvous' bartender Scott Holliday, he was intrigued by the recipe and how it could be improved. He opted for spiking it with overproof rye to cut down on the sweetness factor and to give it some backbone.
Golden Rye Flip
• 1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
• 3/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino
• 3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
• 1 Egg
Shake once without ice and once with, and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
The rye definitely added to the drink including donating a malty nose. I expected to be bludgeoned by the whiskey; instead, it was the Maraschino that dominated. The recipe change did decrease the Yellow Chartreuse notes, but the Luxardo Maraschino was immutable. Perhaps a less domineering Maraschino like Maraska or Stock would have worked better. While the addition of rye and the removal of the sugar did make the drink less of a dessert cocktail, it was still rather sweet. Perhaps switching the recipe to 2:1/2:1/2 might have helped. Instead of rye, I could see a nice peaty Scotch working wonders here.
Cheers to Josh for hosting and picking this month's egg-cellent theme and to farmer Paul Clarke for managing the MxMo chicken coop!

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