Tuesday, September 4, 2018

lemon drop crusta

2 oz Vodka (Ketel One)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/8 oz Orange Liqueur (Cointreau)
3/8 oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Citrus Bitters (1 dash Regan's Orange, 1 dash Berg & Hauck's Lemon)

Shake with ice, strain into a narrow-diameter glass rimmed with sugar, and garnish with a long, wide lemon swath wrapped around the interior diameter of the glass.

On Saturday night two weeks ago, I was working the front bar at River Bar with my coworker Peaches when a ticket came in for a trio of Lemon Drops. I enthusiastically demanded to do the ticket that Peaches had pulled which amused one of our industry guests. Peaches was already familiar with my joy in making this drink despite my general hating to rim glasses with salt or sugar save for Crustas and Sidecars; however, our bar guest found it quite entertaining. I explained the circumstances of my first Lemon Drop: I went with my friend to go hangout with his girlfriend at the bar around the corner from her house, namely the B-Side Lounge circa 1999, before continuing on to a party nearby. The B-Side has been cited as the birthplace of the Boston cocktail renaissance and my visit was within the first year or so of it being open. At the time, I rarely drank cocktails save for club drinks like the Mind Eraser and Red Death and the occasional Manhattan when I needed to be a bit more business like. Therefore, when my friend's girlfriend ordered a Lemon Drop from the waitress, I panicked and said that I would have one too. And it was good -- with fresh lemon juice and a fancy sugared rim, it was a step up from the drink culture around town. Though I cannot recall having another in the next nearly two decades, I have made plenty for guests at various establishments.
My industry bar guest after taking a photo of me and posting it with the hashtag #fredloveslemondrops suggested that I ought to write up the drink on the blog. At first I thought about non-ironically revisiting the Lemon Drop; however, it seemed a touch out of place even if I could explain it as a vodka Chelsea Sidecar (or a Vodka Sour). So I got to thinking, and it dawned on me that the drink already has a sugared rim like the Crusta, so why not add some bitters and a wide citrus swath garnish? That way I could take the infamous 1970s neo-classic crafted at Henry Africa's Bar in San Francisco and give it some dignity by crossing it with the 1852 Crusta. Once prepared, the Lemon Drop Crusta sang out with lemon oil aromas to the nose. Next, lemon with hints of orange filled the sip, and the swallow continued on with the lemony flavors along with spiritous notes from the vodka. Like my first Lemon Drop, this was still rather good. While I cannot say complex or dynamic, it had a solid structure that I also witnessed in the Casper Sour that utilized a quality rice wine vinegar as the acid source.

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