The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2010

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Page 73 of 112

DEPARTMENT HEADER create something savory, maybe with citrus, with a dry finish or with bitterness in its exquisitely balanced flavors and complex attributes. Yes, bartenders today look to the freshest seasonal fruits, exotic herbs, teas and bitters. They search out exotic juices, roots and flowers to create their magic. So what does one do who doesn’t have the resources to bring in chocolate mint, Thai basil, specialty teas and juices from fruits most of us have never heard of? The answer is right there on the shelf. It is the modifier—the secondary or even third spirit one may add to a cocktail to create just the right effect or take the drink in the desired direction. Unfortunately, with so many wonderful liqueurs on the market, many remain unfamiliar to some bartenders. Many classic cocktails utilize an Italian liqueur made from Marasca cherries and their pits; it’s called Luxardo Maraschino and it’s a wonderful ingredient when added in small amounts to a cocktail—there’s nothing quite like it. That is just the point: These modifiers get the job done in half to a quarter of an ounce and, in some cases, an eighth or even a sixteenth. Look at bitters . . . a dash will do ya! Other great liqueurs that can help you create an exotic tasting cocktail are Chartreuse (Green or Yellow), made in France by Carthusian monks who live in the Chartreuse Mountains near Grenoble. Popular since the mid-18th century, Chartreuse is a secret recipe containing over 130 herbs, spices, roots and flowers. The Green is 110 proof, and although it is quite sweet, it is abso- lutely delicious on its own or in cocktails. Search out their Green or Yellow VEP (Vieillissement Exceptionellement Prolongé), which translates to “exceptionally prolonged aging.” Aperol is an Italian bitters liqueur that is imperative in many of my recipes. Created in 1919, it combines bitter orange, rhubarb and cinchona. It pairs per- fectly with gin and tequila and works well with grapefruit juice. It is slightly sweet and has a low alcohol level of 11 percent. It is a superb aperitif. Don’t skip absinthe; its addition to cocktails is a real treat. You may want to try a “dasher” to help slow the flow and allow only a few drops to escape the bottle. True absinthe is not a liqueur because the spirit has no added sugar. There is a long list of inspirational modifiers, whether you shop by brand or simply by type. Limoncello, Galliano, Bénédictine, Campari, Amaro Montenegro, crème de mure (blackberry), orange curaçao, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, Agavero, La Pinta, sweet, dry and bianco vermouths, Lillet, Dubonnet, falernum, sherry, Plymouth sloe gin and many more help the bartender to become the consummate pro. september 2010 / the tasting panel / 73 Beefeater Summer Edition Gin, Luxardo Maraschino Liquor, ruby red Grapefruit Juice, and sparkling rose Sec, gar- nished with cucumber mint sprig and grapefruit zest with a cucumber spear.

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