Sunday, March 12, 2017

rum switchel (or haymaker's punch)

2 oz Privateer Amber Rum
1/2 oz Fermented Molasses (*)
1/2 oz Russet Apple Cider Vinegar (**)
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a 10 oz cider glass with 3 oz ginger beer. Top with ice, garnish with a lemon twist, and add a straw.
(*) 2 parts molasses to 1 part water; covered with cheesecloth to allow wild microbes to inoculate the mix.
(**) Perhaps softer than store-bought apple cider vinegar
For drink of the day at Loyal Nine two Sunday nights ago, I decided to go with our restaurant's historical theme and find inspiration in Steven Grasse's Colonial Spirits book. My chef had mentioned that he had some house fermented molasses that I ought to play with, and that led me to plot out a switchel. Switchels have some similarity to shrubs in that there is a vinegar component to make it refreshing, but it is a mix of the vinegar, ginger, sweetener, and water; often, that sweetener was molasses but honey, maple, and various sugars have been utilized. The drink's origins began in the Caribbean, but it traveled up to New England where it took hold in the late 17th century. It was also dubbed the Haymaker's Punch for it was very popular with New England farmers especially on hot days. The recipe in the book included a ginger-molasses syrup that was combined with an equal part of apple cider vinegar and diluted with four parts of water. When I asked my chef about vinegars, he offered me a bottle of Russet apple vinegar he crafted this past harvest season. Instead of assembling a ginger-molasses syrup, I combined the fermented molasses, demerara syrup, and our housemade fermented ginger beer to create the flavor combination. To keep it Colonial, I opted for rum, and the combination could be dubbed "the Colonial Dark & Stormy." Moreover, to hide the vinegar aroma, I utilized the oils from a lemon twist to good effect. Overall, the response was rather positive for the drink was crisp and flavorful with a hint of funky complexity from the molasses.

No comments: