Wednesday, April 27, 2011

[french derby]

3 oz Citadelle Gin
1/4 oz Matilde Pear Liqueur
2 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters
2 sprig Mint

Muddle mint in other ingredients and let mascerate for a few minutes. Remove mint, add ice, stir, and strain into a rocks glass.

Two Tuesdays ago, I met Andrea at Rendezvous for dinner. For my first drink, bartender Scott Holliday said that he had been playing around with the mint and gin-based Derby cocktail (for a historical overview of the classic, see Doug Ford's post) and asked if I would like to try it. His modifications took the drink in a French direction for he used Citadelle gin from the Pierre Ferrand distillery in Cognac and he switched the peach bitters to pear liqueur from Anjou. The French actually do have a derby called the Prix du Jockey Club that is run every year in early June, although I am not sure what their official drink is.
This Derby variation provided a glorious mint bouquet. The sip was sweet with a hint of pear and was followed by mint, gin, and spice on the swallow. The liqueur, beside adding a bit of sugar to the drink, donated some body as well. Overall, the drink made for a refreshing but potent crushed ice-free Julep.

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