Friday, July 11, 2008

37) The Laurel

1.5 oz. Right Gin
.5 oz. lime juice
1/4 oz. Rhum Clément Creole Shrubb
1 bar spoon Plymouth Sloe Gin
1 Pluot -- Pitted, and quartered
Green Chartreuse VEP

In a mixing glass, muddle the pluat with the Sloe Gin. Add the reset of the ingredients except the Chartreuse, shake with ice, then strain into a champagne coup rinsed with the Chartreuse. Garnish with a pluot wedge.

Well hell, we done gone and did it. It was one year ago today that Ed and I dipped our respective toes into the blog-o-dodecahedron. It's amazing to me how much we've learned, and how much this blog has changed. What once was just going to be a repository of a drink a week became a catch-all for my drink related babblings (babblings from Ed should be forthcoming. As soon as he figures out how to make a wireless router go). Once I realized actually making a drink every week was insane, the blogging OCD kicked in and I just had to get content up.

A huge thanks from us to all you sexy readers, and to those of you extra sexy folks who have dropped in the comments (you see that lurkers? The folks who comment are extra sexy). Without knowing you're out there, somewhere, the tedium that is often times blogging would have killed this thing ages ago.

For our anniversary cocktail, Ed and I decided to really dig in, and see if we couldn't get something extra special. Our experimenting stretched over several days, and we went through a fair number of variations. From different Gins, to various ingredients in then out (the first iteration, for example, had Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters). From the get go we were centered around the Gin (cause we loves it), and the pluots (a hybrid between a plum and an apricot which we didn't know were pluots until a random customer told us our thinking they were plums was delusional).

Pluots, I'm here to tell you, are flat out fantastic to work with. They yielded a good amount of nicely sweet juice, and the skin has a pleasant tang to it. In tasting them I began to get ever stronger flavor connections to the jammy side of Plymouth Sloe Gin. As we quit for the day, and talked about things we might try the next, I told Ed I'd bring some in so he could try it. He was as happy with it as I have been so in it went. We only used the small amount as the idea was to ever so slightly boost the pluot flavor without overwhelming things. I didn't expect it to work as well as it did, but was happy to be surprised. If you don't have Plymouth Sloe Gin (I know how hard it is to come by) resist the temptation to substitute the faux-sloe garbage that's floating around out there. That shit has no business being anywhere near a cocktail.

The VEP was partly a nod to the fact that we were making a bit of a celebratory drink, but also because I've found that the herbal bite of Chartreuse can add a nice backbone to a drink when used judiciously. It also had the benefit of adding a touch of sweetness to balance out the citrus. What was really interesting was that while we felt the Chartreuse was working is magic very undercover, it wasn't until we tried an iteration sans the VEP that there was a subtle, but non-trivial change in the drink. Long ago, bitters taught me the "you don't always notice it, but you'd know if it wasn't there" axiom of how ingredients can behave in a drink, but tasting it in action is always cool. If you're not rolling in dough, using the non-VEP Chartreuse should be just fine.

In the end we ended up with a drink we were extremely happy with. The flavors of the fruit mingle beautifully with the botanicals of the Gin with neither taking up too much room. The Chartreuse was, as I said, pretty much hidden, but you could feel something in the drink that was giving it just a bit of a nudge. If I hadn't been drinking permutations of this drink all weekend, I would have had another in a heartbeat.

It's been a great year for us, and we have high hopes that the next will be even better. As long as nobody says anything to me about Tales of the Cocktail.

Comments always welcome or feel free to e-mail us at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.

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