Wednesday, February 23, 2011

bitter end

1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Egg White (1/2 Egg White)
1 oz Kübler Absinthe
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Rich Simple Syrup (2:1)

Shake citrus and egg white without ice. Add rest of ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Carefully pour 1/4 oz Campari down the sides of the glass (I used an eyedropper to gently layer the Campari on the bottom), and garnish with a star anise pod.

Two Tuesdays ago, I reached for my new copy of A Taste of Absinthe and searched for a drink to make. While the book came out about the same time that Absinthe Cocktails did, I was a bit surprised at the degree of overlap between the two books. Classics I would expect (*), but each asked a similar group of bartenders for recipes and they proffered the same drinks to both. Still, there were enough novel recipes to make the second book (regardless of the purchase order) worthwhile. The drink I selected was the Bitter End from Josh Harris of Bon Vivants in San Francisco. Unlike the drink with the same name that I made last month, the bitter element here was sank to the bottom of an egg white Sour as opposed to floated on top of a Swizzle (given that it was drank with a straw it all ended similarly though).
The Campari on the bottom of the Bitter End looked like a jewel underneath the opaque yellow beverage and helped to make this a very attractive drink. On the top of the drink, the smell of the absinthe's fennel perhaps supplemented by the aroma of the star anise garnish greeted my nose. The sip was a smooth one that came across as more orange than lemon, while the swallow had more notes of the lemon, including its tartness, than the orange. The swallow also packed the absinthe's anise flavors that were smoothed out by the egg white. Toward the last half ounce or so, the drink started to change as the Campari began entering the sip. Indeed, the bitter liqueur dried out the balance with its sharp notes; however, the Campari flavor was not as intense as I anticipated since the sip was a mingling of the Sour and the liqueur.

(*) Interestingly, many of the classic recipes in A Taste of Absinthe are directly attributed to the submitter which can be confusing. But we all know that people like John Gertsen can time travel to create the great drinks of lore.

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