Monday, April 18, 2016

sinking ship swizzle

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo CVIII) was picked by myself, Frederic Yarm of the CocktailVirgin blog. The theme I chose was "Swizzles," and I elaborated on the concept with my description of, "So what is a Swizzle? And what is a swizzle stick? The literary references to Swizzles seem to begin around the mid-18th century with the written definition growing in the early parts of the 20th century. Swizzles began as a Caribbean style of mixing drinks perhaps stemming in Barbados -- mostly cold although there are certainly hot swizzles out there. Unlike say the Martini which is chilled in a mixing glass by gently stirring cubed ice with a spoon and straining into a cocktail glass, most cold Swizzles are built in the glass, topped with crushed ice, and agitated with a rapidly spinning natural swizzle stick (or facsimile) to mix and chill... The Swizzle has had a resurgence starting around 2008 or 2009 as various cocktail supply stores have procured Caribbean sources for these Bois Lélé mixing instruments... Plenty of recipes for these drinks reside in mid-century Trader Vic books and other Tiki-leaning tomes; moreover, modern drinks books have begun to embrace the style as well including the Death & Co. Cocktail Book where their house Swizzle formula was exposed to me a few years before via the Company Swizzle."
I thought about the three Swizzles that I had made earlier in the week, and I decided that the softness of including an aromatized wine of the Puerto Rican Rum Swizzle (and seen in the Death & Co. Swizzle formula) was something that I wanted to incorporate and that the garnish elegance of the Pinwheel Swizzle was something that I wanted to include (as opposed to the starkness of the Martinique Swizzle that began this series). I did like the combination of rhum agricole and absinthe in the Martinique Swizzle though, but how to combine these concepts? One idea that popped into my head was to take the Corpse Reviver #2 and convert it into a r(h)um one akin to the Palliative Potion for Pomona. With the change to rhum agricole as the spirit, I also swapped the lemon for lime, and instead of equal parts, I changed it closer to the one I used in the Corpse Reviver Fizz that best fits the Death & Co. ratios. I then added falernum to round out the Swizzle and make it more tropical in feel; the addition of falernum to orange liqueur brought the combination close to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club as well. And finally, to add some garnish panache, I modified the boat I used in the Viking Fog Cutter by trimming a lemon wedge and similarly making sails. Since the boat would be sitting on the crushed ice, it did not need to be as water tight as the previous boats were. And to add a surface effect (perhaps a sea of floating blood?), I dashed Peychaud's Bitters on top akin to the Angostura Bitters utilized in my Don't Fight It Swizzle over the summer. When I let one of the Loyal Nine owners try the drink, he noted that he loved how the ship sank in the glass as the liquid level dropped; thus, the Sinking Ship Swizzle name was determined.
Sinking Ship Swizzle
• 1 oz JM Rhum Agricole Blanc
• 1 oz Lillet Blanc
• 1/2 oz Creole Shrubb Orange Liqueur
• 1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
• 1/2 oz Lime Juice
• 1 dash (~12 drops) St. George Absinthe
Build in a Collins glass, and fill with crushed ice. Swizzle to mix and chill, and garnish with 3-4 dashes Peychaud's Bitters and a floated pirate ship made out of citrus peels.
Initially, I utilized the 3/4 oz of lime juice to match the Death & Co. model but this proved too dry with the agricole-style rum, and the amount was dropped to a 1/2 oz. I also repeated the drink for a guest who asked what I had been enjoying lately but otherwise wanted the Dose; therefore, I made him a mezcal variation of this same drink.

So for the 8th time, I get to that awkward point and try to thank the host for running the monthly shindig and I realize that I cannot really thank myself. So all of my gratitude this month goes to the participants of Mixology Monday who swizzle, shake, and stir their way into making the event into a success and for the readership who keeps the energy level high (and frequently finds themself participating one day down the line). And hopefully, the questions of why anyone would want to Swizzle a drink instead of shaking it and topping with crushed ice have been answered, for this glorious technique is one part history and one part fun showmanship. Moreover, it can promote rethinking classic drinks like how the Negroni was transformed into the Red Duster Swizzle.

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