Tuesday, October 18, 2011

bitter maita'i

1 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1 oz Campari
3/4 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Bols Triple Sec
1 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with an orange slice and add a straw.
Two Mondays ago after my DJ gig, Andrea and I traveled over to Eastern Standard for a late dinner. For my first drink, I asked bartender Carrie Cole for the Bitter Maita'i which recently appeared on the cocktail menu. The Eastern Standard recipe is a slight variation of the one created by Jeremy Oertel at Brooklyn's Dram whereby the rum was increased and the Campari was diminished. The drink began with an orange, Campari, and rum aroma. The citrus notes and the orgeat filled the sip, and the swallow showcased the Campari, lime crispness, and Smith & Cross funk notes. As the ice melted, the Campari's bitter flavors took a more prominent role. Victoria Moore in How to Drink explained this phenomenon:
If the bitterness makes you wince, there is a surprising way to reduce its impact. The mistake most people make when they're being tentative about Campari is to overdilute it, thinking that this will give it a gentler taste. It doesn't. Our perception of bitterness is very acute and is barely affected by increasing the dilution. What does change, though, is our perception of the sugar concentration, which you will notice decreasing with more dilution; and without the sugar to balance the bitterness, it will make you flinch even more.
Not that the bitterness bothered me, but it was definitely noticeable how the drink shifted over time. Andrea was not bothered by the Campari either, but she felt that the Smith & Cross gave the drink a bit of a rocket fuel note (an aspect that does dilute well with ice melt).

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