Saturday, July 27, 2013

cocktail a la salle

This month's Mixology Monday theme, "Flip Flop!" (MxMo LXXV), was picked by um, well... me. I described this month's challenge as, "I thought of the theme for this month's Mixology Monday shortly after making the Black Rene, an obscure drink from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933. The combination of brandy, amber rum, lemon, and Maraschino was tasty, but I felt that the recipe could be improved if I swapped in different ingredients. Taking a page from Max Toste of Deep Ellum who converted the Black Devil into the White Devil, I flipped around the ingredients to be pisco, white rum, lime, and Maraschino instead. With this combination that I called the White Rene, the drink really sang but it was still recognizable as being an alteration of the original recipe... [So] find a recipe, either new or old, and switch around at least two of the ingredients to sister or cousin ingredients but holding the proportions and some of the ingredients the same. The new recipe should be recognizable as a morph of the old one when viewed side by side."

Initially, I thought of the Vieux Carré as a good starting point for it has worked well for Scott Holliday with the Piazza Vecchia and Central Carré. However, I have already tinkered with it in the Hasta Manzana and Marigny Cocktail. Therefore, I looked towards a lesser appreciated New Orleans classic, the Cocktail à la Louisiane, that I was introduced to by Misty Kalkofen back at Green Street cerca 2007. It takes the flavor profile of the Vieux Carré and intensifies it by increasing the Benedictine, dropping the Cognac, and swapping absinthe in place of the Angostura Bitters.
To change up the drink, I originally thought of flipping the rye whiskey to mezcal, but when I finally got around to making the drink last night, I reached for reposado tequila. Since agave spirits pair so elegantly with sherry (a trick taught to us by Misty herself), I used that fortified wine in place of the sweet vermouth. I kept everything else in line with the classic.
Cocktail à La Salle
• 1 oz Reposado Tequila (Espolón)
• 1 oz Dry Sherry (Lustau Oloroso)
• 1 oz Benedictine
• 3 dash Peychaud's Bitters
• 3 dash Absinthe (>1 bsp La Muse Verte)
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
For a name, I wanted to keep the "Cocktail à la" part and thought of La Salle -- a figure that plays into both New Orleans and Mexican history. Robert de La Salle (a/k/a René-Robert Cavelier) was a 17th century French explorer who ventured into the Gulf of Mexico and then up the Mississippi river through what is now New Orleans. Once this tribute drink was mixed, it offered an anise and herbal aroma. The sherry's grape filled the sip, and the swallow began with tequila followed by herbal and absinthe flavors. Finally, the swallow ended with a nutty sherry finish that offered Benedictine's chocolate and mint notes.

Usually I thank the host and I used to thank ring leader Paul Clarke, but since the host is me and I feel the need to thank someone, I'll give a big tip of the hat to Paul for starting this online cocktail party which now is celebrating its 75th iteration! Cheers to Paul and all of the participants who keep this event alive!

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