Cocktails, from the Mead, Uniquity

The Meursault

I broke down on New Year’s Day
and I mixed my drinks
and I lost my way
I walked past the houses
of every friend I’d ever known
and I set off on my own

Having promised a description of the Meursault (pronounced “mer-soo” or something like), I am striking while the proverbial iron is hot within my soul.  If you are not a gin drinker, then take heart and have patience; I promise I’ll get the Myers and Bulleit back out ere long.

This drink is the brainchild of my lovely friend the Mead, who once remarked to me:

we need to invent a cocktail called meursault (in honor, of course, of this band, this song in particular: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwCD8dWY6xk). it strikes me as gin-based, with not too sweet a flavoring — perhaps something along cran or other berry lines. a drink, in short, that could make you lose your way, sink you into melancholy over what you’d left behind, and yet somehow also brace you for continuing onward.

So, proceeding on that basis, I got out my gin.  Initially I had no cranberry anything around, but I did have a pomegranate, a lime, sugar, and grapefruit bitters, which were mixed as follows: a shot (1.5 oz) of Plymouth, a shot of squeezed* pomegranate juice, ½ oz lime juice, 2 teaspoons sugar, and 3 dashes of grapefruit bitters.  It was a good start, somewhat tart with an intriguing texture as well as some fun overtones from the bitters.

I added a bit more pomegranate juice and a touch more sugar the next time around, which edged it away from the tart end of the pH scale.  The third time around, we juiced some fresh cranberries (which yields a fairly bitter extract, beware!) and mixed a tablespoonful of it with a shot of gin, a shot of pom juice, ½ oz lemon juice, and a tablespoonful of sugar.

Cranberry juice on the left, pomegranate on the right. Check out how luscious it is.

The final iteration took what we’d learned from the first few rounds and fashioned it into something which, when partly prepared ahead of time, mixed up faster.  There was still a shot of gin, and still a generous shot of pomegranate juice (I carefully bottled about 7 pomegranates’ worth).  Having enjoyed both the lime flavor and the lemon flavor, I mixed and bottled equal amounts of both to use as the ½ ounce of citrus.  The sugar was necessary to offset the extreme bitterness of the juiced cranberries, but dissolving it required more shaking than I preferred, so I opted to mix it into yet another jar, this one full of cranberry juice.

The effect of all the bottling was that I could head to my boss’s house and mix up some cocktails for the office’s Christmas party with relatively little vexation.  Despite the last-minute substitution of Tanqueray for the less-piney Plymouth, even the people who “weren’t really gin drinkers” loved it.  Merry Christmas and happy New Year.**

And I hope that someone is praying for me
out there at home

*Once upon a time, one of my brothers bought a Jack LaLanne power juicer for to make himself healthy drinks.  He soon discovered that its purported “easy cleaning” was in fact rather complicated, tired of it rapidly, and handed it off to me.  I don’t use it that often, but I love juicing pomegranates with it.  POM Wonderful is one of the best pomegranate juices I’ve encountered, but it has nothing on the frothy fuchsia of freshly home-juiced pomegranate.
Which is sort of sad, I guess, for all the people who don’t have a juicer sitting about.

**But even those of us with juicers are doomed to suffer through Not Pomegranate Season, as I am right now, so POM is probably the best stopgap where I live.  If one wanted to be really low-key about it, one could mix some gin, some Ocean Spray or Northland cran-pomegranate blend, and dash in some citrus to perk it up.  Obviously it won’t give you the same texture, so be wary, as it might give you a touch more melancholy than intended.

Advertisements
from the Mead

The Irish Kiss

My friend the Mead shares a lot of things with me: Joel Stickley’s excellence, delight in the Inky Fool, all manner of Scottish and Irish music, the occasional road trip, and more often than not, new drink recipes worth trying.  Sometimes they call for ingredients beyond my pantry’s ken, but on occasion I have the necessary on hand.

Last month, she sent this:

Irish Kiss

2 ½ oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 oz lemon simple syrup
Dash of bitters
Combine in a shaker with ice.  Shake well and serve up.

Fairly simple-looking, is it not?  Indeed.  But wait.

Here’s how to make the lemon simple syrup:
Zest 2 lemons (using a microplane) into a small sauce pan.  Juice the lemons into a measuring cup.  Remove the seeds.  Note the amount of juice and add it to the pan.  Add the same amount of sugar.  Bring to a boil.  Stir and then allow to cool.

The syrup alone sent LR and me into raptures, never mind mixing it with whiskey or using it to top ice cream (which, it turns out, is a stellar plan, especially if one dashes some grapefruit bitters here and there).  The syrup is like a homemade sherbet lemon without fake coloring, or like a lemon meringue pie with no effort.  It is lemon custard with no guilt.  It is Turkish Delight without betraying your siblings or covering your clothing in confectioner’s sugar.

[Please note that as this was an experimental effort, and in order to avoid passing the point of hilarity, we split the drink in half.  Typically it would be served in a cocktail glass or perhaps a coupe.]

Mixed with Jameson and bitters?  Delicious.  We should only hope that an Irishman’s kiss would be delightful as this drink!