Saturday, January 21, 2017

negative space

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo CXV) was picked by Katie of the Garnish blog. The theme she chose was "Chocolate," and she elaborated on the choice with her description of, "I'm sorry to sabotage your well-intentioned New Year's resolutions to cut back on the booze and eat fewer sweets, but this month’s theme is... chocolate. When I think of chocolate and cocktails together, my mind still automatically conjures the image of a chocolate martini with a syrupy drizzle and a dollop of whipped cream, plucked right from the photo-laden menu of a classy establishment like Chili's or The Cheesecake Factory... My tastes have since evolved, and so has the role of chocolate in cocktails. Instead of creamy sugar bombs, bars are serving up crème de cacao classics like the 20th Century and Brandy Alexander, Boulevardiers made with cacao-nib infused Campari, and Oaxaca Old Fashioneds with mole bitters. Chocolate has found its way into serious cocktails, and I couldn't be happier about it. So this month, give in to your sweet tooth (or not) and see what you can do with a little chocolate! Chocolate liqueur, crème de cacao, chocolate bitters, cacao nibs, cocoa powder, cocoa tea... if it comes from the cacao plant, it's fair game."
I started looking around for a chocolate recipe for a few days, but I did not realize that I had one picked out. In the latest issue of Imbibe, there was a chocolate by way of crème de cacao drink from Maks Pazuniak of Brooklyn's Jupiter Disco. When I read the recipe, I shelved it without much thought until I bought a new bottle of sparkling wine. When I returned home from the liquor store with my bottle of blanc de blancs, I re-read the ingredients and realized that Maks' recipe would be perfect. I will always remember Maks as the one who made my first drink in New Orleans; that drink was the Art of Choke at the Cure. I also bought my copy of Rogue Cocktails from him, and after that got sued out existence and I acquired the two editions of Beta Cocktails from him in successive years. I was also pleased that he united with Al Sotack to open their own place in Brooklyn. I also met Al in New Orleans, but in the following room at the Art in the Age tasting room where he served me the Appalachian Flip. Enough with this trip down memory lane and on with the cocktail:
Negative Space
• 1/2 oz Suze Gentian Liqueur (Salers)
• 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
• 1/2 oz Crème de Cacao (Tempus Fugit)
• 1/4 oz Absinthe Blanc (Obsello)
• 1 drop Orange Blossom Water
Shake with ice and strain into a flute glass. Top with 3 oz prosecco (2 1/2 oz Willm Blanc de Blancs).
The Negative Space's nose first greeted me with anise aromas before I sank into the earthy chocolate ones. Next, the carbonated lemon and wine sip gave way to earthy-bitter gentian, chocolate, and herbal flavors on the swallow. Surprisingly, the absinthe here was rather gentle either due to the drink's recipe or my choice of absinthe. Also, the orange blossom water was a bit subtle at one drop, and increasing it to two did not help much. Overall, Andrea commented that this drink would be a perfect Valentine's Day cocktail! And definitely the gentian liqueur paired quite well with chocolate as it had in the Copper Canyon and the Zig Zag Wanderer.

Thank you to Katie for picking such an excellent theme as well as doing all the work to host this month! And thank you to all the participants, past and present, who have made this event a pleasure to be a part of. Cheers!

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