While driving home during a recent blizzard, I found myself perusing my shelves mentally for a toxic cure to the melodrama I had recently suffered. A turgid tapestry of fine liqueurs etched in my mind with nerr' a home nor hearth, and have sat collecting dust.
Sure, there have been a few loves of the Wild Moon Birch - a splendid pairing for a cinnamon whiskey, or a good Scotch - but the others had not yet struck a chord with me. For now, the Lavender is far too powerful a consideration to cultivate; the Cucumber doesn't sit well enough at this venture; and so I ponder on the merits of the Rose liqueur.
The last time I considered this vibrant and verbose visage was in the Spriggan Sprite exploration (Moonriver #21), and it's due for a reclamation.
A Lucky Box
Back in July, I subscribed to Bespoke Post. I admit I was seduced by one of their better ad reels where someone spoke of the bartending kit they received custom-made for them, so I jumped on board...and proceeded to cancel every package they had procured for me until I got a decent bartending kit. After that I promptly unsubscribed to their BS.
But I had what I needed. A shaker of an appropriate size, a stainless steel jigger, a bar spoon, multiple strainers, and a gigantic ice tray. I was quite pleased, and as I set the box aside, something else rolled out.
A tiny bottle of deep blue and purple, its top a simple pipette dispenser. Along its side it reads, in tiny, beautiful script. Bittercube Slow Crafted Bitters, Blackstrap.
Comprised of a few simple ingredients, this mixture brings out notes of smoked cinnamon, kola nut, and nutmeg. It smells delightful, and I long to supplement it with something, perhaps as a sophisticated alternative to the standard Fireball. Plus, the incorporation of a dropper just made my life intrinsically easier. I've been splashing my bitters around from the bottle like an idiot for ages!
The Value Of A Simple Pairing
THE BLACKSTRAP Test
1/2 oz Amaretto
1/2 oz Drambuie
1 oz Stella Rosa Black
1/4 oz Fireball
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 draw Blackstrap Bitters
+ It isn't...bad, per se.
+ It's just confused.
+ Sweet notes from the Black
+ The Fireball and Blackstrap create a fruity burst that pushes the sweet over the mountain.
+ Saccarine, to the point of achieving only the flavor of sugar incarnate.
+ The Amaretto ruins it. Just...flattens it completely.
With that tasting scrapped, round 2 post-blizzard yielded two pleasant surprises, and I am forever humbled by the core truth of good ingredients.
There is no need to overcomplicate a mix with multiple additions where only two will do. Simple pairings consistently win over complicated monstrosities.
For our first venture, we don't need much. Dewer's Scotch Whiskey, Wild Moon Rose Liqueur, and that beautiful blue bottle of Blackstrap Bitters. We'll take 1 oz each of the Scotch and Rose, and one draw from the pipette in the Blackstrap. Add 2-3 cubes of ice and enjoy. I'll call it the Soothsayer for now.
+ Bite of the Scotch smoothed beautifully by the Rose
+ Rose notes feel hidden...
+ ...until a subtle entrance at the end.
+ The Blackstrap proves a great way to infuse a smokiness to the drink.
Verdict: I am developing a love of drinks that take their time. Not one to surge down his own drinks, I am growing to enjoy ones that I can sip gently through an evening's long rest. Feel the gentle warmth of the drink, and be pleasantly surprised to discover more flavors long after it disappears down my throat. This is a drink of patience and reward; presence and thought. The best personification I can think of for my father, a firm example of what I deem to be a good man of good heart and intelligence. Someday, I'd love to serve him this drink; I'd be very curious what he thought of it. :)
For another pass at this, I ventured a dash or two in the Rye.
I still struggle with Rye's strange effect on me. The flavorless numb that always seems to coat my tongue...people actually enjoy this? And yet, there's potential here. So I'll be careful as I approach what I've called the Witchdoctor.
1/2 oz Rye Whiskey
1 oz Wild Moon Birch liqueur
1/2 oz Orgeat
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 draw of Blackstrap Bitters
*Stir and pour over 3-4 ice cubes in any glass you want (I don't care, seriously, what does it EVER matter?)
+ The Birch is the star here, not the Rye
+ Rye creates the backburn
+ Orgeat was a great choice to smooth the burn
+ Might not need the Angostura Bitters...
+ ...that finish, though.
Verdict: I'll keep this one in my back pocket for my buddies who love their Rye, but I won't reach for it.
Roses, witches, and visions of the future. Huh. Usually we save that stuff for the Absinthe posts.
See you at the table.
Professional Game Master musician, music teacher, game designer, amateur bartender, and aspiring fiction author.
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