Monday, November 18, 2013

An evergreen, bittersweet.

It's time once again for Mixology Monday. I skipped last month because Im terrible. This month its being hosting by Booze nerds, a blog near and dear to my heart. These guys are so serious! They geek out on subtle and weird ingredients, and are really into making lots of versions of similiar things and comparing which is best and if its worth doing the subtle variations. I really think they are awesome and you should check them out. I've seen their stuff on Liquor as well as their own site.

The theme that these nerds chose for this month was resin. Check out all the entries here: It stressed me out a little but I like it. It's fairly limited but there is quite a few directions to go within that thematic parameter. My main thought was for resinous herbs, as I grow and love perennial fall favorite herbs like rosemary and sage. Loosely defined, resinous herbs generally have woodier stems, slowly release their flavors and have an almost musky taste compared to the lively, fresh taste of more tender herbs like basil, parsley or cilantro that you might add at the end of a dish.

So, for the past 2 weeks, I have been making old fashioneds and Oaxacan old fashioneds with different quantities of rosemary and sage; muddling, garnishing and making herb tea ice cubes, all to no particularly good effect. I felt like it was very difficult to find a proper balance where these strong flavored herbs were noticeable without being overpowering.

I was drinking one of these on my stoop with my dog yesterday because it is suddenly unseasonably warm in Philadelphia. I wondered if I would post a blog about my lackluster drink and explain my efforts and subsequent disappointments, just to have a voice in the conversation. Then I invited my neighbor to join my for some warm weather whiskey drinkin on the stoop. He came over with  a beer and I explained my situation; that I have blog, and I had cocktail homework. He is a food scientist of sorts and he was really into this.

We began talking about what pairs well with rosemary and how much he liked Victory's new beer, Dirtwolf. Its a whole hop imperial ipa and its really good. That got me thinking about beer cocktails and maybe using hops as the resin ingredient rather than rosemary. After about 6 cocktails, we tweaked out our recipe to something we both really enjoyed that included 4 resinous ingredients!! (maple, rosemary, mezcal{agave}, hops) It was truly a collaborative effort, with us arguing, tasting ingredients and remaking different versions of the cocktail until it was just right.

an evergreen, bitterwseet
mixology monday resin

10 fresh rosemary needles
1/2 oz maple syrup (grade b)

1 oz rye whiskey (bulleit)
1/4 oz mezcal (fedencio)
1 oz lemon juice
dash chocolate bitters (fee bros)

3 oz ipa (Victory Dirtwolf double ipa)

Muddle rosemary and maple syrup in a shaker. Add next four ingredients. Shake with ice, then pour into a collins glass with fresh ice. Top with beer and stir gently. Go easy on the rosemary or it can turn out real gross. The beer is crucial, you want a big citrusy hop flavor to bring it all together. We also made with Founders centennial ipa when we ran out of the victory jawn. It was different and still good but not as good.

I think this combo sounds a little strange on paper but it really is delicious and I urge you to try it. The maple is subtle enough to add sweetness but not be cloying. The rosemary is subtle enough to be herbaceous without tasting like hippy dish soap. The mezcal is super subtle and adds a hint of smokiness without overpowering. The lemon juice is fairly strong  but supports the fruity citrusy hops of this ipa perfectly. And the chocolate bitters still sounds weird to me but chocolate and lemon play well together and it was the clear winner after trying the 6 different bitters in my cabinet. It's the cherry on top, the final accent that brings it all together.

Please let me know what you think if you make one!

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