Thursday, September 15, 2011

vandaag gin cocktail

2 oz Bols Genever
1/8 oz Reduced Saison Ale Syrup (1 barspoon)
1 dash Kirschwasser and Absinthe mix
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters
1 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with 3 fresh ice cubes. Garnish with a grapefruit twist and add straws. The Kirschwasser and absinthe might have been used as a rinse in the glass.

On Wednesday last week, I traveled down to New York for my brother's book launch party; the event was in honor of his oral history of grunge entitled Everybody Loves Our Town. In between the time I arrived in Manhattan and the event, I was able to squeeze in lunch and two bar stops. Unfortunately many of the city's cocktail bars are not open that early, but luckily a few were! My first stop was Vandaag in the East Village; I was lured there for I enjoyed the Dutch Flip that Katie Stipe, one of their bartenders, created. Vandaag has an interesting concept in that their bar menu (and presumably their food) is northern European inspired with a focus on Denmark and Holland -- namely aquavit and Genever. I was greeted by bartender Alex who doubled as their barista; hearing him compare and contrast the bartending and barista mindsets was rather interesting.
While perusing the menu, I figured that the namesake Vandaag Gin Cocktail was a good place to start. Moreover, it had the form of an Improved Gin Cocktail that had been modernized since the days of Jerry Thomas. Some of the changes were a swap of the classic's gomme syrup for a reduced beer one, Maraschino liqueur for Kirsch, and Boker's Bitters for Peychaud's and chocolate ones. Instead of the lemon twist in the Improved Gin Cocktail, the drink's grapefruit one worked rather well over the aroma of the malty Bols Genever. The malt continued on in the sip where it was accented by the Kirsch's cherry notes. Next, the Genever appeared on the swallow especially its wormwood-like bitter note which paired well with the hint of absinthe at the end. Moreover, the beer syrup seemed to lend a smooth finish to the drink for the Genever was not as sharp as I anticipated; this was not too different from my experiences with the gum arabic in the classic's gomme syrup.

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