Johnny Cocktail has been VERY busy!

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Too Many Apricots and Too Little Time?

In a Shot:  With lots of extra apricot nectar, limoncello & cherry infused bourbon lying around, I decided to reinvent classic cocktails while showcasing that utilizing home made, seasonal products while letting things take their time, really pay off!

I have always been passionate about taking time to create unique and fantastic cocktails.  Before speaking on this month's subject matter let me quickly talk about what else to do with that homemade Limoncello from February's spectacular "A Secret-ad-MEYER-er" cocktail.  A very popular cocktail today, the Lemon Drop, can be upgraded if you simply use these fresh ingredients.  Start by making a great lemonade.  Make a simple syrup by first boiling equal parts water to sugar, cool and set aside.  Mix 3:2 parts water to freshly squeezed lemon juice then add 2 parts simple syrup and stir.  For the cocktail, take 1 & 1/4 oz Citron Vodka of choice, a 1/4 oz Cointreau or high grade Triple Sec with 1/2 oz home made limoncello.   Then add 2 OZ of the homemade Lemonade mixture.  Shake those ingredients in an ice filled cocktail shaker, take a chilled martini glass and run and orange peel around it's rim then dip it in a non iodized sugar and dip a lemon wedge into sugar on both sides and garnish martini glass after straining shaker contents into the glass.  Why have a lemon drop martini when you can enjoy a homemade Lemoncello Drop?????

NOW, upon creating this month's cocktail, the "Stone Fruit Sangria" which utilizes a healthy dosage of homemade Apricot Nectar, I had much left over with many curious as to what else could be done with the hazy copper orange elixir.  The answer is beautiful. 
In my field, there truly is nothing new under the sun and to come up with something spectacular it's best to always refer to the legendary classics.  During Pre-Prohibition, Apricot Sours were a very popular thing and the famous liqueur Southern Comfort is based on utilizing stone fruits with Bourbon so several concepts came to me instantly when approached by one of our restaurants investors as to what else could I do besides the Sangria (Which show cases French Rose as a base, however, she was never a fan of no matter how many tastings she went to, no matter how much praise it received, no matter how hard she tried.) 
In a restaurant setting, time is of the essence and many of today's bartenders write off those who do not know already what they want.  I sharply considered those classic cordials and cocktails and said told her it would be just a minute but I would bring her a few cocktails that would suite her fancy.  The first thing that came to mind was the old Apricot Sours.  But I wanted to accent the citrus sweet flavor that apricots posses without adding further to the very sugary and tart aspects of my sangria's Apricot Nectar (Specifically for my sangria, after pulverising boiled/blanched apricots in the kitchen I puree them to virtually liquid state via a high powered blender and then cut it in almost equal parts water and homemade simple syrup, otherwise I'd recommend a little less water and a lot less sugar and I'd add any form of acid, preferably lemon juice to make a great daily drinking nectar.)  The original apricot sours called for apricot brandy.  Here, I already had the great apricot component so instead of using an apricot brandy I used the nectar in connection with a VSOP Cognac.  To bring out some more of the sweet rather than the tart I also added a VSOP Calvados (Dry French Apple Brandy) to the mixture and then reamed nearly an entire lemon into the concoction.  Garnished with a local farmer's pitted cherry I came up with a wonderful update on an otherwise store bought premix.

The next cocktail was inspired by Southern Comfort, a cordial made using peaches, bourbon and other spices to create what many may perceive as a cough syrupy mess, but when made fresh, a masterpiece.  There is something truly amazing about stone fruits and summer time BBQ friendly corn/rye/wheat based bourbon I can explain in detail but would rather just focus on the fact that bourbon is traditionally strong, sweet/tart and backed with vanilla and caramel flavors that is only going to evolve in flavor with fresh and sweet/tart stone fruits.  I proved that last year by infusing Maker's Mark with fresh sour cherries and here we are a year later with a fantastic cherry bourbon.

I combined this cherry bourbon with my homemade apricot nectar and merely added the reamed juice of one good sized and fragrant lemon thus coming up with a miraculously near perfect cocktail.  It is a drink that should be offered every summer in any household or establishment.  Smooth, creamy, delightfully tart with cherry, apricot and bourbon sweetness balanced by a precise tartness while maintaining a complexity in a time driven simplicity.  I am truly excited about this simple cocktail turned slice of heaven and highly recommend to anybody to pit and cut up some cherries, toss them in their favorite bottle of bourbon then mixing it with their favorite stone fruit based nectar with a little lemon juice, lime juice or vinegar and just IMAGINE the grand possibilities!

(And again, thank you to all who support my creativity and passion for great cocktails!)


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