I don't often take requests for tasting. Not because I'm some eldritch snob who couldn't be bothered by the inquiries of his minions and seeks only to watch his endeavors execute - a diatribe of burning villages and rising tides, fallen to the wayward eclipse of many an errant and shattered heart!
...I just don't get very many.
So when a random patron brought up a singular reference, in a singular moment, I was peaked to do a little digging. What transpired was a short rabbit hole ending in a curious drink. Curious only in the sense that I had never heard of it.
The Chestnut Cup
An odd duck popularized in a little restaurant in Santa Monica. Learning of its apparent popularity, I dug up its recipe and tried it on for size.
It did not go well.
The Chestnut Cup is garbage (so I fixed it)
ORIGINAL RECIPE - The Chestnut Cup
1 oz Gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Orgeat
+ Oh, isn't that a nice fruity...
+ What IS that finish?? It's a sour cling to the back of my mouth, throat, and nose?
+ Still waiting for it to get better.
+ Tastes like rotting grapefruit.
+ Not fermented, like in the good way, just rotten.
+ Second sip: in fact, the whole drink tastes...wrong. Like there's one note that's being played as loud as possible out of tune.
So what happened?
Campari happened. No joke. Super expensive, rotten liqueur. Just to be sure, I sipped it on its own...and spat it out. The first liqueur I've ever done that with. Not kidding. Even Black Sambuca, and Uzu of all things, I swallowed to measure the finish. THIS STUFF was unbearable. And it spoiled the whole drink!
So I removed it.
Let's class this up a bit.
Yes, yes, Campari supposed to be this high class liqueur that only the snobs drink. Is this one of those real-life examples of when rich people down literal rotten food and call if caviar? Cuz that's what it feels like. Congratulations, you've arrived at my first truly CONTROVERSIAL blog post about booze. Woot.
Instead, let's consider flavor pairings.
Gin is a Vodka derivative with a citrus quality. This is why Tequila blends so well in its company. With this knowledge, I swap out the disgusting Campari for Grand Marnier (orange liqueur). The compliment is a match made in noble blood. Lemon juice and Orgeat already do a great job elevating the Gin, so I only adjusted their levels. The end result...is actually enjoyable to the mouth and does not assault the senses. Classy.
MOONRIVER VARIATION - The Chestnut Chalice
1 oz Gin
1 oz Grand Marnier
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Orgeat
4 Dashes Orange Bitters
+ Ah, what a nice citrus front!
+ Bright finish, and sweet.
+ I scaled back the Lemon, and the Gin and Grand Marnier compensate well.
+ Orgeat makes the drink feel bigger and thicker, allowing the flavors to mingle in the syrup
+ An easy sip.
Professional Game Master musician, music teacher, game designer, amateur bartender, and aspiring fiction author.
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