Sunday, May 18, 2014

frog splash

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo LXXXV) was picked by Elana of the Stir and Strain blog. The theme she chose was "Aw, Nuts!" which seemed perfect for the season as it spans the seasons for me of cold weather nocino-laden drinks and warm weather orgeat-containing ones. Elana elaborated on the concept by describing, "Nuts? Yes! A few months back I tried, and was wowed by, a peanut-y take on an Old Fashioned at a bar here in L.A. They had infused peanuts in bourbon and with a touch of honey had made magic. Nuts of all sorts make it into cocktails now. Some black walnut bitters here, the sweet almond flavor of orgeat there... Your challenge is to utilize nuts (and since we're NOT adhering to the strict rules of what are nuts, peanuts and walnuts both count) in any way you see fit to create a cocktail. Infusions, bitters, almond tinctures are all game. Amaretto, homemade nocino, Frangelico too. Go nuts!"

My first thought was to pay tribute to my favorite nut drink, Angus Winchester's Peanut Malt Flip. It was my go-to nightcap at Green Street Grill a few years back, and I remember only having to say the letters "PMF" to let bartender Derric Crother know that it was time. However, I have already written about that and done riffs on it. While I do enjoy my walnut liqueurs but I have never splurged on a bottle, so I opted for what was available on my shelves at home already and selected orgeat. For a recipe, I remember spotting a curious one on ShakeStir that utilized gentian liqueur as a base spirit. The recipe, the Frog Splash, was crafted by Morgan Schick, manager of Trick Dog in San Francisco and creative director for the Bon Vivants, and his inspiration for the recipe was the Mai Tai.
Frog Splash
• 1 1/2 oz Avèze Gentian Liqueur (Salers)
• 1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
• 1 oz Small Hands Orgeat (BG Reynolds)
• 1 oz Lime Juice
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a mint sprig.
While the recipe was submitted to an Avèze competition, I opted for the Salers that I had available at home. I was also keen on the recipe for my herb garden's mint had just recently come back and I was dying to put it to use. Once mixed, that mint garnish paid dividends for it complemented the aroma of the gentian liqueur. A rich lime sip had a lot of body from the orgeat, and the swallow was nutty, rum, and gentian. Overall, the Frog Splash was rather harmonious; I originally feared that the bitter herbal notes from the Salers would dominate and that Smith & Cross would be rather surly here, but neither was the case. The orgeat-smoothed herbal feel did make me think of the Momisette albeit with a different herbal element.
So thank you to Elana of Stir and Strain for picking the theme and for once again running this month's show, and thanks to the rest of the Mixology Monday participants for keeping the shakers shaking and the spirit of the event alive!

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