Simply put, I’m infatuated by mixology. A perfectly made cocktail sparks my curiosity and fuels my enthusiasm more so than anything else. As I have said before, “cooking is the science of enjoyable outcomes”. So when it comes to liquor, I’m taken by the fact that one can design a cocktail with the same skill and complexity that goes into cooking any exquisite meal, but in a fraction of the time. Thankfully, as people have continued to grow their appreciation and understanding of food and drink, bars and lounges have become more creative and passionate in their cocktail making.
As you may have guessed, I’m not talking about a perfectly concocted Jack & Coke. If a bartender really nails his pour count when making vodka tonics, good for him. Baboons could be trained well enough to pour those drinks. I’m talking about cocktail making as an art. Bringing together liquors, fruits, juices, spices, bitters, infusions, syrups, vegetables, dairy, and even proteins to conceive flavors that are truly unique. Silver Rye Whiskey mixed with thyme, red grapes, freshly squeezed lemon juice and bitters, or an old bourbon with smoke infused truffle oil, sage, sugar, and star anise – you get the picture. The more bizarre you go, the more exotic you search, the more innovated you think, the more exciting an experience you can create.
Whenever I try something I like, my foot starts bouncing impatiently until the next available moment I can steal the waiter or bartenders attention. I’m completely shameless about interrogating any mixologist, probing them to reveal whats behind the flavors I’m tasting. Sometimes, to my disappointment, they regard themselves more as magicians than bartenders – not allowing me to learn their secret ways. However, more often than not, they are simply excited that someone is paying attention and actually gives two shits about what they are doing. Thanks to my skill for being a nosy little bastard at bars and restaurants, last week I discovered a new gem to add to the liquor cabinet I love so dearly.
Becherovka is a herbal liquor from the Czech Republic that sports 78 proof alcohol content and has a bitter herbal flavor. When tasting, my tongue kept finding the flavors of sweet clove, light ginger, and maybe something that resembled cinnamon. However, it’s a secret recipe blended together from a wide variety of herbs and spices. Immediately after my first sip my foot began bouncing. Soon the bartender was back over and I began the questioning. After a quick minute, the recipe was on a sticky note and in my pocket.
1.5oz fresh lemon juice
0.5oz honey syrup
Throw all ingredients in shaker, vigorously shake over ice for 10-15 seconds, pour into chilled martini glass, garnish with lemon rind – simple as that.
The next day I was on the phone with 6 local liquor stores, no one had Becherovka. I even called twice to some, hoping that I’d get another employee on the phone who didn’t respond “huh?” every time I tried pronouncing BEH-KER-ROV-KAH – but after 6 strikes I was out. The next day, I decided the search wasn’t over, and ended up finding a store in the south end of Boston that had two bottles left in stock…I bought them out.
|The Latest Edition to my Cabinet|