Sunday, January 26, 2014

2013 to 2014

The past year has been a blur of tasting new spirits, playing with them and designing new drinks with them. There are few things that are as engaging to me as tasting something new & exciting. My brain starts whirling with ideas of flavor combinations. Something that I've been thinking about lately is underused or poorly used spirits such as sherry & "moonshine" or rather un-aged whiskey. Recently I was hired to cook & plan a paella dinner for a group of friends that were all celebrating their birthdays. Instead of just serving wines I thought it would be really unique & special to do a cocktail using a very Spanish ingredient & a few non-Spanish ingredients. I started with a base of Gonzalez Byass Oloroso Seco made from the Palomino grape. It's nutty, spicy, earthy & very dry. Next I added Prichard's Lincoln County Lightning which is an un-aged whiskey & in my opinion one of the best on the market. It's sweet & savory all at once. It needed some rounding out with a little herbaceousness & bitterness so I chose Imbue Petal & Thorn. Imbue is the best domestic vermouth producer in my opinion. They start with a base of Oregon white wine, blend that with barrel aged Oregon pinot gris brandy & then infuse that with botanicals. The Petal & Thorn is tinted a beautiful bronze/rust/blush color with the addition of fresh beets. I love that. Next I added in a little Luxardo Limoncello & a few drops of my very own Big River Bitters. It had everything I wanted in a cocktail; savory, hint of sweet, acid, bitterness & a unique hint of that warm haunting note that sherry gives. I've named it "A Night In Jerez".

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