Monday, October 24, 2011

beneficio de cafe

1 1/2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1 oz Averna
1/4 oz Dark Muscovado Syrup (here Maple Syrup) (*)
1/4 oz Benedictine Liqueur
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with freshly grated dark roast coffee bean.
(*) Maple syrup was used here as the proper sweetener was not available. My notes are a little illegible here, but I believe the proper sugar should be dark muscovado which is close to panela and jaggery. See text.

Last Monday, I paid a visit to Drink and found a seat in front of bartender Misty Kalkofen. When I inquired what new drinks she had in the works, Misty replied that she was gearing up for her mezcal talk for Portland Cocktail Week and had a few new drinks to showcase. The one that appealed most was the Beneficio de Café which roughly translates to the coffee processing plant; there, the refining aspect is the washing and soaking of the beans to remove the red skins followed by drying. Misty was a little discouraged at first for she lacked the proper sugar to make this drink. Originally, she created the drink with dark moscovado, a high molasses-containing, unrefined, sticky, brown sugar. She likened it to panela, and sugar descriptions I have read have compared it to jaggery. In a pinch, Misty opted for maple syrup but insisted that I was only being served a variation of Beneficio de Café.
The drink began with dark and rich aromas of the coffee bean garnish over vegetal agave ones (not the smokiness of the mezcal). The sip contained a full-flavored caramel and maple syrup notes that lead into a swallow containing complex bitter flavors followed by the smoky mezcal at the end. While not the intended combination, the maple and Benedictine flavors paired rather well here.

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