Sunday, September 18, 2016

the sun

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo CXI) was picked by Rebecca of the Shrubbery blog. The theme she chose was "Drink Nerdy," and she elaborated on the choice with her description of, "The thing that unites everyone who participates in MxMo is our love of cocktails. We love the history, the alchemy, the artistry, and of course the drinking. Loads of us go to conventions, collect memorabilia, read books about all manner of boozy subjects, and tour distilleries like they're sacred places. One might say, we're nerds. I say, what else are you nerdy for? For the purposes of this challenge I'm going to define a nerdy pursuit as: anything from or related to science, science fiction, fantasy, video games, role playing games/characters, or comics. Come up with a cocktail that celebrates or is inspired by a nerdy thing you love. A Cosmo variation for Neil deGrasse Tyson? The perfect sip for Sarah and her Goblin King to share? A beer based cocktail for that barbarian you played in your college D&D game? Star Trek? Anything you are enthusiastic about."

As I pondered the topic over the last week or so, I thought about my nerdy pursuits, past and present. While an avid collector of Star Wars figurines from Episode 4 through 6 (really, they are episodes 1-3 to me since I skipped watching the rest and perhaps I was not collecting by the time the last of the trilogy rolled out), I figured that Star Wars had been done quite a bit especially with the yearly "May the 4th" celebrations across the world. So I considered one of my nerdy pursuits back in high school which was astronomy. One of the high schools in town was lucky enough to have a planetarium and observatory that I got my introduction to as an elementary school student via a yearly visit. Once enrolled into that high school, I was able to take the astronomy course as well as spend my study hall periods helping to grind reflecting mirrors and assist during elementary school visits to the planetarium. I even had my own reflecting telescope as well as subscription to Astronomy Magazine.
With my discovery of Combier's Liqueur de Rose as a close enough substitute for crème de rose, my mind immediately turned to a drink in William Schmidt's 1891 The Flowing Bowl that had previously mocked me (due to the lack of rose cordial) called The Sun. Schmidt was rumored to have created a drink each day as well as many impromptu drinks, and he was quite known for his showmanship as well as his lack of fear of multi-ingredient and complicated drinks (see the Queen of Sheba, for example). The Sun is absurd and is one that Schmidt scholars have spoken about. Not only does the build require the rose liqueur, two other liqueurs, two spirits, two juices, and sugar, it requires the acquisition of snow which makes it a bit seasonal. Luckily, Schmidt provided the option for the other 3 seasons of the year to use stiffly beaten sweetened egg whites in place of the snow. The pièce de résistance is to write the word "The Sun" with grated nutmeg on the snow or egg white and then decorate with fruit. How can this be done? Via a stencil? Slowly tapping pre-grated nutmeg from a folded sheet of paper to craft each letter? Tweezers? I obviously lacked the magic and finesse of The Only William and had to make a few adjustments.
The Sun
The juice of half an orange (1 oz) and half a lime (1/2 oz) in the bottom of a large, thin glass; add and dissolve a spoonful of powdered sugar with a dash of mineral water (omit sugar and mineral water).
• 1 pony of fine brandy (1 oz Camus VS Cognac)
• 1/2 pony of Jamaican rum (1/2 oz Rum Fire)
• 1 dash Benedictine (1/3 oz)
• 1 dash Curaçao (1/3 oz Senior Curaçao)
• 1 dash crème de rose (1/3 oz Combier Liqueur de Rose)
Mix this thoroughly (shake with ice briefly and strain into the glass), fill your glass with fine ice (crushed ice via Lewis Bag); stir well; ornament with frozen snow in the centre, and the brim with fruits (omit fruits); write on the top of the snow "The Sun," with nutmeg (write "Sun" with drops of Angostura Bitters and grate nutmeg over the rest of the snow). Should you have no real snow, beat up the white of an egg with a little fine sugar (1 egg white, 1/2 tsp cane crystal sugar).
Okay, just the recipe alone is pure nerdom in the cocktail sense without even needing a theme like astronomy to tie it back to this Mixology Monday. I listed my ingredient choices, substitutions, and omissions to get this drink done to the best of my technical and inventory capabilities. Once prepared, The Sun shared a nutmeg aroma that was joined with allspice and other notes from the bitters. Next, the sip through a straw was mellow from the orange juice and curaçao with some crispness from the lime. Finally, the swallow offered brandy and Jamaican rum funk flavors that concluded with a floral and herbal finish.

So thank you to Rebecca of the Shrubbery blog for getting us to reveal something nerdy about ourselves and to celebrate the occasion with cocktails! And thank you to the rest of the participants and readers for keeping this event going to see the 111th iteration of this online cocktail party!

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