Derailer Cocktail

derailerCredit for this drink goes directly to Podnah’s Pit where it was created and where I and the Hop Boxer found it.

First of the basic recipe.

1.5 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 oz Creme de Cassis
0.5 oz Lime Juice
4 oz Ginger Beer

As presented you want to put your lime, jameson and cassis in your shaker, strain into your highball or collins glass and then top with ginger beer.

Not terribly complicated, it follows the standard 2/1/1 format for most “classic” cocktails.

This drink comes into the category of Buck Cocktails or Mules which are really just spirit + citrus + ginger beer.

I’ve gone over some Options for what to use as your ginger beer selection.

There are any number of fine bottled options, find one that has the amount of bite you enjoy and stick with it.  I’m fine with Cock n’ Bull but if Bundaberg is around in the store I’ll snag a 4 pack of that as it’s a nice midpoint between Cock n’ Bull and Reeds.

If you want to use Ginger Syrup I have found that a dilution of about 4 to 1 is pretty standard so 1 oz syrup to 4 oz club soda.  You can play with that if you want but it comes out pretty strong otherwise and you don’t really want the sugar in the syrup to overshadow the cassis.

Some notes about the drink itself:

I don’t personally think that the brand of whiskey involved makes much of a difference here but I think type plays a role.  Jameson is an Irish Whiskey which is going to be very different in flavor profile than say a Bourbon or a Tennessee Whiskey like Jack Daniels.  Scotch is wasted in this drink so don’t bother with anything there.  I think part of the draw on Jameson is that it lacks many of the smokey characteristics of some other whiskey and is smooth enough to work well in the drink.   Additionally it’s one of the few Irish whiskey’s you’re likely to find in a smaller bar.

For those not familiar with Creme de Cassis it is a liqueur flavored with black currants.  This is a fruit not many people have any experience with as they haven’t been actively cultivated in the US for several decades.  Their commercial cultivation was banned in the 1900’s and that ban has only slowly been lifted by a few US states, Oregon among them.  So the liqueur is a bit more common in Europe and is generally imported.  Locally Clear Creek makes a very lovely Cassis Liqueur which runs about $22.50 for a 375ml.  I’ve seen them in a number of liquor stores around the area so they aren’t hard to find they’re just not always in the same spot as the Creme de Cassis which you can generally find in fifths for $9-13.  The major differences in the two are usually sweetness and tartness.  The price on clear creek’s Cassis is higher but it is worth it for having a non-artificial taste and a very natural tartness.

One last deviation from the norm, I concocted a version I call the light-railer which swaps the Jameson and Cassis for Eastside Distilling Marionberry Whiskey.  It loses a bit of the tartness but the flavor profile of Eastside’s whiskey stands up a bit better in the cocktail and you get a much clearer whiskey flavor without a lot of extra oak barrel getting into the drink.

Boot Strap Buck

 

Boot Strap Buck

The dark interior of Kask does not lend itself to photography as can be seen in the poor quality of the photo I took that night.  I blame the light and not the 8 or 9 drinks I put away.  The first drink I had that night was a rum concoction called the Boot Strap Buck.

It is perhaps a measure of how good a drink is when you can’t substitute any of the ingredients.  If each thing is selected because it fits exactly into the slot it needs to in order to make the drink taste exactly the way it should.

In this case we start with Blackstrap rum.  I haven’t yet had a chance to really sit down a work out all the differences in the various kinds of rum, but in general most rum is made from molasses.  Blackstrap molasses is what you get after you boil sugar cane juice three times.

The Cruzan is a wonderful dark rum full of flavor and character.

Demerara sugar or turbinado sugar are whole sugar crystals that come from evaporating sugar cane juice before you boil the sugar out of the molasses.  The result is something a bit like brown sugar but with more flavor and vanilla characters.  It’s fun stuff to play with as it really gets you the best of the sugar cane flavor.

Ginger Beer is a new personal favorite, a good ginger beer has a sharp flavor and can be tasted in cocktails where gingerale falls flat.

The nutmeg is the wildcard here, it’s partly for scent, and partly for adjusting the flavor.

The whole thing is an experience that hits you on a number of different levels.  Ginger, spice, rum, lime and citrus all coming at you like a spider monkey.  Go get one, you’ll thank me later.

Bootstrapbuck tag

Basic Drinking: Moscow Mule

moscow muleFollowing up on my post about Core Drinks.

This evening we present the Moscow Mule.  A drink with a fine pedigree and a well known history.  The president and owners of Cock ‘n Bull Ginger Beer and  G.F. Heublein Brothers, Inc.

Heublein may not sound like a name to remember now but in the 40’s they were famous as the company that brought vodka to the american palate when they acquired all rights to the Smirnoff brand.  They are also responsible for the US distribution of other noteworthy brands like Don Q, Jose Cuervo and Guinness Stout.

In 1941 when Jack Morgan shipped his first train load of Cock ‘n Bull ginger beer to the east coast he celebrated in the bar at the Chatham Hotel.  Alongside him were John G. Martin of Heublein and Rudolph Kunett president of Smirnoff.

We can only credit divine providence (and a large quantity of Kunett’s product) with the resulting cocktail.

1.5 oz vodka
0.5 oz lime juice (half a lime)
8 oz Ginger Beer

Pour into glass, give a shot stir so as not to release all the bubbles and drop the spent half lime into the glass.

For some reason these are traditionally served in a small, handled copper mug.  The reasons for this are unclear and lacking this unique barware I’m forced to rely on my Working Glass for such a large drink.

Flavor wise I think you’re going to see a lot of difference based on the kind of Ginger beer you choose.  Cock n’ Bull, the original brand that started the drink is very much alive.  It’s cloudy, rich and spicy.  You can find it in grocery stores, liquor stores and even online.  You might also want to try Fever Tree or Reeds which comes in an Original and and Extra Ginger version.  Reeds is generally around.  I’ve seen it in a number of grocery stores. Fever tree tends to be a bit more select and while I’ve seen some of their products in stores you can’t count on the full line.

I made this one with a cock n bull and I have to say that it has some serious bite.  It’s not sharp like fresh ginger but it does have the burn and the spice of the true root.  The recipe on the side of the bottle is the one I’ve given above, but as I said this takes a larger glass seeing as you’ve got about 10 oz of drink there compared to the 6-8 you normally have in most cocktails.

Some of the versions of this have the ratio a bit closer to even.  2 parts vodka to 3 parts ginger beer.  Given that mix you’d get.

1 oz vodka
0.5 oz lime juice
1.5 oz ginger beer.

A bit short but if you’re using a smaller mug then a 3-4 oz drink goes a bit quicker and you can refill a bit more often.

Mr. Bartender gives a recipe of:

2 oz Vodka
2 oz Lime Juice
8 oz Ginger beer

I think in this case they’re simply upping the lime juice to compensate for the excess of ginger beer. It’s a similar ratio as above you’re just putting 4 times as much ginger beer and lime.  A much lighter drink that you might otherwise want.

This is not a drink that goes quickly.  The volume of flavor between ginger and lime is enough to give you time to pause between sips.  They don’t mesh but they do blend pretty well and being as a good vodka will disappear once it hits any sort of mixer you’re not tasting anything alcohol related on this one.