Friday, June 14, 2013

The Silverado Squatter Cocktail

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

Greenhook Ginsmiths Beach Plum Gin Liqueur has got me twisted up in circles. First, their gin component itself is so beguiling that I find myself tongue-tied trying to explain my passion for this potent elixir. First I must describe what this drink reminds me of and that would be the perfect summer weekend in Martha's Vineyard. There would be preserves, freshly stewed with cane sugar. Those tiny beach plums that burst from the ground for a scant time before the birds pluck them from the low bushes are sweet and tangy all at the same time. They are found on islands off New England along the New York and the New Jersey coastlines. Greenhook Ginsmiths have attempted and succeeded in making a very American Sloe Gin using the Beach Plum.

I love the expressive nature of the Beach Plum and get a whiff of something quite beguiling whenever I open my bottle. There is saline in there, plus the tangy aromatics and mouth-feel of the plum itself. This liqueur rolls in at 60 Proof, but it tastes like 80 Proof from the ever-present juniper nose and warming finish. This is a dry liqueur, in no way to be confused with sticky sweet cordials or flavored vodka. This is serious stuff worthy of your cocktail glass, enjoyed on the rocks and finished with a good splash of what I consider one of the best sparkling waters on the planet, the Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral water in Pink Grapefruit essence. The combination of flavors in a simple glass of the Beach Plum liqueur and the grapefruit sparkling water are just charming when enjoyed in the hot sun.

The Greenhook Ginsmiths have succeeded where others have failed!

As you, my readers know, all is not so simple when mixing flavor-driven beverages. I'm bound to twist things up a bit. Shake up convention and make interesting flavor combinations. This changing of the norm sets me apart from my peers, many of whom have never worked behind the stick or washed dishes in a restaurant. I like to work with flavor and emotion. That is why I write!

The first time I made this cocktail the 17-year cicadas were just emerging from the ground. It was relatively quiet. Now, just a few weeks later cacophony of cicada calls evokes thunder throughout the forest. Their frantic calls bring scant hours of peace and quiet. They rule this place and only a good strong drink will bring a bit of peace to the environment once again.

The "Silverado Squatter" cocktail was named for the female cicadas that inhabit the deep woods surrounding my home. They don't have long to get what they want, a few short days perhaps, before they molt and crawl off to desiccate.

I think this drink will do the trick to making the sound level drop in my brain just a bit.

It's a simple little drink. Meant to be served in a short rocks glass with one large chunk of ice. In keeping with the theme of summer I've added a portion of grilled pineapple juice mixed with some fresh lime juice. Making this is as easy as buying a pineapple, cutting it into thick rounds, grilling them, letting them cool, then juicing. You mix a bit of the Beach Plum Liqueur and then a healthy portion of the clove-laced Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters from The Bitter Truth. This drink is so mesmeric.

You cannot forget it!

If you don't have a charcoal grill, you can sear the pineapple on a non-reactive pan until charred, let cool, and then muddle with the Greenhook Ginsmiths Beach Plum Liqueur. A bit of ice goes into a Boston shaker, then you shake it up to chill with a couple other ingredients, all seemingly delicious...

I pour the mixture over one large ice cube made from my Mavea "Inspired Water" pitcher (it freezes almost crystal clear) and serve this luscious concoction in a rocks glass.

The Bitter Truth Bitters go in at the end with a sprig of mint and a good splash of the Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water in Pink Grapefruit essence. I like to add a chunk of the grilled pineapple for color at the very end.

The Silverado Squatter Cocktail
(with sincere apologies to Robert Louis Stevenson for appropriating the name from the book by the same name)

Cocktail recipe serves two easily.

• 3 oz. Greenhook Ginsmiths Beach Plum Liqueur
• 3 oz. Grilled pineapple juice and a couple 1 inch chunks of grilled pineapple for muddling
• 1 oz. Freshly squeezed lime juice
• 1 oz. Agave syrup
• 2-3 dashes Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters
• 1 large ice cube made from filtered water in your Mavea "Inspired Water" pitcher
• Spearmint

1. Grill your pineapple and cool.
2. Juice a portion, enough for 3 oz. or so of the grilled pineapple and cut up the rest into 1 inch chunks.
3. Muddle a couple of the grilled pineapple chunks with a few leaves of spearmint in a Boston shaker.
4. Add the agave syrup.
5. Add the fresh lime juice.
6. Add the Greenhook Ginsmiths Beach Plum Liqueur.
7. Add a couple handfuls of bar ice to the shaker.
8. Shake like crazy for 15 seconds.
9. Strain over a single cube of Mavea filtered ice.
10. Finish with 1 oz. Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water (Pink Grapefruit) and a couple dashes of the Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters.
11. Garnish with a nice mint sprig and a chunk of the grilled pineapple.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Article by Warren Bobrow, a nationally published food and spirits columnist who writes for Williams-Sonoma, Foodista and the Beekman Boys.

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