Saturday, February 16, 2013

brandy champerelle

mixology monday inverted cocktailThe theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo LXX) was picked by Stewart Putney of the Putney Farm blog. The theme he chose was "Inverted" based off of his enjoyment of Julia Child's upside-down or inverted Martini that goes very heavy on the vermouth. Stewart began to ponder the term, and he wrote, "What does 'inverted' really mean? Well, here is the definition, 'To turn inside out or upside down; to reverse the position, order, or condition of.' Hmm... it appears that the definition is pretty broad. It seems that 'inverted' really just means something 'flipped on its head.' And that can mean almost anything, and leaves plenty of room for creativity... You can invert the ratios of spirits, liqueurs or bitters in a cocktail, but we suggest you go beyond that and 'invert' whatever you want. Spirits, name, ingredients, proof, color, geography, garnish and glassware are all fair game... The only thing we expect is the unexpected. Have fun."
brandy champerelle jerry thomas
Having just come down from a burst of creativity from the menu items I crafted for the Women of the Wild West night that I bartended at the Blue Room earlier in the week, I decided to see what recipes were already in the historical literature. Actually, it was my wife who was looking through 1869 Cooling Cups & Dainty Drinks, and one of us spotted the Brandy Champerelle. With equal parts of brandy, curaçao, and bitters, it seemed pretty inverted to me. The Brandy Champerelle appears in Jerry Thomas' 1862 The Bartender's Guide: How To Mix Drinks in a very similar format save for the measurements being "1/3 small glass" each and calling for specifically for Bogart's Bitters. It gives very little in the way of instruction which is why some books have it as a stirred drink and others have it as a layered drink à la Pousse-café such as in Harry Johnson's 1888 Bartender's Manual. The Cooling Cups & Dainty Drinks version was a stirred one, and that format held more interest to me in terms of flavor and the theme. Moreover, I had already made a layered Champerelle a few years ago from Boothby's World Drinks and How to Mix Them.
Brandy Champerelle
• 1 wineglass Brandy (3/4 oz Foret)
• 1 wineglass Curaçao (3/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry)
• 1 wineglass Bitters (3/4 oz Angostura)
Stir with ice and strain into a glass.
Essentially, this recipe was an inverted Fancy Brandy Cocktail with the otherwise minor orange liqueur and bitters ingredients given the same volumetric weight. The only regret is that I had run out of lemons, for a lemon twist seems like it could set up the drink rather elegantly. Without a twist, the aroma was orange and spice. The sip began rather orange when the drink was cold, but as it warmed up, it became more cherry from the Angostura Bitters. Finally, the swallow offered the brandy and the bitters' allspice and clove. Overall, it was surprisingly refreshing, and the balance of orange liqueur to bitters reminded me of the Dragon's Mouth that I had at Beaker & Flask in Portland. Moreover, the combination made me think of the Genever-based Red Light from Beta Cocktails.

So thank you to Stewart for not only hosting this month's Mixology Monday but picking such an interesting and abstract-yet-approachable theme. Cheers!


Anonymous said...

Just made this, very good. A little like a digestif but less you said, somewhat "refreshing".

Thanks for posting and for having us host MXMO..

Anonymous said...

This looks great. I'm a sucker for the liberal use of bitters. I can't wait to give it a try.