Okay, I know I just barely made it, and if you're on the East Coast or Europe, then I missed it. The Irish (and among them I count Irish-Americans) are not necessarily known for promptness.
I did want to post an Irish-themed cocktail today, first wanted to check:
1. You didn't drink any green beer today, did you?
2. You didn't drink any of those faux-"Irish" cocktails that are made green by the addition of something like crème de menthe, did you?
If yes, then ... oh dear.
If no, then ... yay! Pour a pint of Guinness or Murphy's, or if you fancy a cocktail, try this. It's new, and an original concoction of mine.
I mulled around some ideas and decided on a Manhattan variation, using Irish whiskey and the spicy bitter liqueur from the Czech Republic called Becherovka, slightly sweet with a bitter edge and flavors of cinnamon, anise and over 30 other herbs and spices.
This drink, as all original creations should, took some tinkering to get the balance right. The general starting point was Irish whiskey, sweet vermouth and Becherovka. At first I tried using Redbreast, a 12 year old pot still whiskey, which I absolutely love on its own. It didn't work well in this drink, fighting too much with the Becherovka. I moved over to Tullamore Dew, which is my favorite Irish whiskey for mixing (John Powers and Kilbeggan work well too), and that was the way to go. I played with the proportion on the Becherovka to try to get a good balance of spice and sweetness -- I did not want it to be too sweet. The spice flavor was nice, but it wasn't integrating quite well enough for me. A single dash of Angostura helped the whiskey and liqueur embrace each other.
Now for the vermouth. I didn't want to dilute the flavor profile of the liqueur too much, and primarily wanted everything to smooth out nicely. Using our usual Cinzano seemed to leave a bit of a hole in the drink, so I tried Punt E Mes ... and that did it. The bitter edge of that vermouth leapt into the Becherovka's arms but didn't overwhelm the spice, and filled in that hole very nicely. I'm still trying to decide whether or not to back off on the Punt E Mes from 1/2 ounce to 2 teaspoons, but so far I think the former is working pretty well. After trying iteration no. 6 the other night, Wes declared that he liked it, and that's good enough to get it out of the stsarting gate.
The cocktail is named after Glen and Mar's duet/group and symbolizes a wonderful fusion of Irish and Czech (and tastes pretty feckin' good, too).
The Swell Season
2 ounces Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey. (Substitute Kilbeggan or Powers)
1/2 ounce Becherovka bitter herbal liqueur.
1/2 ounce Punt E Mes, or to taste.
1 dash Angostura Bitters.
Combine ingredients with ice and stir for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a thin lemon twist, tied with a loose knot in the center. Fall slowly into your
favorite cocktail sippin' chair.
If you have the ingredients lying around, please do give it a try and let me know what you think. Any ideas and suggestions are welcome as well, but so far I'm pretty happy with it.
Lá féile Pádraig shona dhaoibh!