Sunday, March 20, 2016

ankle breaker

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo CVII) was picked by Dagreb of the Nihil Utopia blog. The theme he chose for his third time hosting was "Burden of Proof," and he elaborated on the choice with his description of, "My theme this time is overproof. Or rather how you utilize overproofs. Do you sub them into your standards? Save them for accents in particular recipes? Pour them into ceramic volcanoes and set them on fire? Reserve them only for making liqueurs? Whatever it be I'm looking for your recipes that use overproofs as a base or as modifier in a noticeable -WAIT- "What's an overproof," you ask? "Well, uh, yeah..." First let's decide what is proof. It's my party so I say 50% abv is proof. Above that is overproof. You disagree? Host your own party! (No really host a MxMo, it'll be fun.) So BIB [100 proof Barreled in Bond] liquors are exempt this month but lots of bottles are fair game! Whether it boldly proclaims its strength on the label or nonchalantly lets you discover its strength for yourself use that bottle that packs a punch in a drink this month."
I originally sought out to find something overproof in the Death & Co. Cocktail Book or a recipe that called for navy strength gin, but I struggled to find anything that I had not made yet (but could make). So I turned back to my crutch for overproof -- namely, Tiki. One of the bars in town has the Ankle Breaker on their menu, but I had always written it off as a rum High Hat. But isn't everything a bit more magical with 151 proof rum? And besides, the combination was intriguing in the Campari High Hat, the Tiger Blood. The Ankle Breaker as described in Beachbum Berry's Remixed was created at the Swamp Room of the Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina, circa the 1950s, and the recipe resurfaced a decade or so later at the Lake at California's Marina Del Ray Warehouse Restaurant as the Barrel of Rum.
Ankle Breaker
• 1 oz Amber 151 Proof Rum (Don Q)
• 1 oz Cherry Heering
• 1 oz Lemon Juice
• 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
Shake with crushed ice and pour into a double old fashioned glass or a copper tankard (here, a Tiki mug with a reservoir inserted and filled with 1/4 oz more 151 proof rum that was ignited).
Once built, the drink had a cherry aroma that led into a lemon and cherry sip. Next the rum filled the sip before giving way to more cherry notes on the finish. Nothing all that exotic here but still a classic and satisfying combination of flavors. When I posted the recipe on my Instagram, a reader commented that he drops the simple to keep things from being too sweet; however, I felt that the lemon juice balanced the cherry liqueur, and the simple worked to balance the overproof rum (akin to the amount of simple to balance 2 oz of 80 proof spirits in an Old Fashioned). If the spirit were not overproof, I would definitely agree that the extra sugar was not necessary, but alcohol concentration was rather high before enough ice had melted. Besides as a potable ingredient, I utilized the overproof rum rather gratuitously to make a mini volcano flame in the surface of the drink. Originally, it was going to be in an inverted spent lemon shell half, but it tore at the nipple during the inversion process, so a 3/4x1/2 oz jigger worked rather well here. So overproof spirits factored in two ways: concentration of flavor and flammability for showmanship.

So thank you to Dagreb for hosting Mixology Monday once again and cheers to all of this month's participants and readers for keeping this event going for the 107th time!

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