Wednesday, December 3, 2008
The Sveinn Cocktail
Right about now, I'm supposed to be over at Clarklewis for a dinner with Toby Maloney of the Violet Hour in Chicago, sponsored by Bulleit bourbon. I'm not usually one to turn down a free meal, and I was really looking forward to attending this event, but other things have interceded, so its Thanksgiving leftovers on the couch tonight instead.
That said, an unexpected night free allows me to dig this cocktail out and share it with you. Originally, I was going to submit this for the last Mixology Monday, a cocktail bloggers event that I participate in sporadically, but I missed the deadline.
I've been interested for some time now in using asian ingredients in western style cocktails. The Sveinn cocktail is an example of this. Several months ago, I prepared some Chinese apothecary bitters and then promptly (intentionally) forgot them in the basement to let the flavors marry. Early in November, I strained everything off and tasted the bitters. Very bitter, with a medicinal flavor that isn't unpleasant, but is distinctively asian. You aren't going to mistake these bitters for Angostura kids, I really like these but its a very asian flavor profile.
I've been playing around with the Seelbach cocktail quite a bit recently. The Seelbach is essentially sparkling wine with a touch of triple sec and bourbon but what stands out to me about this drink is the amazing amount of bitters used in its preparation (at 50 Plates, I use 6 dashes of Peychauds and 6 of Angostura to rinse the inside of our champagne flutes. Zane, one of the very talented bartenders at Vessel in Seattle also made me a cocktail with 3/4 oz Angostura, orgeat, lime and pisco that was a revelation to my palate. What both of these cocktails have in common is the use of much larger amounts than normal of bitters. I hope you can see where I'm going with this one. I tasted the apothecary bitters and really wanted to find a way to let their unique flavor shine. I settled on basing this cocktail around the frame of the French 75 (roughly).
I took 1/2 oz of the apothecary bitters, 1/2 oz of fresh lemon juice, added it to a champagne flute and topped it off with some Zipang sparkling sake. For the record, I really like Zipang, its an interesting product, very well made and perfect for mixing.
I garnished it with the seahorse left over from making the bitter (yes, there is seahorse in the bitters) to give it a slightly more avant-garde look and voila! The Sveinn cocktail. This is a nice, dry cocktail. Not really a ladies drink but perhaps a good alternative for the men at a party featuring sparkling wine cocktails. Cheers!