Thursday, May 1, 2014

Galician Rendezvous Cocktail

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

The Galician Rendezvous is not what you’re thinking, although the circumstances for this decision to write about a cocktail did take many turns.  The Rendezvous in this case is the rye whiskey from High West and I just cannot wait for the next time to meet up with a glass of this really authentic whiskey.  

Rendezvous in flavor profile is not for the meek.  If you drink Maker’s Mark, you are not going to like this, but maybe you should drink it just for your edification.  High West Rendezvous is not wimpy whiskey.  This is not for beginners, unless you are of the school of thought involving nostalgia and authenticity.

High West Rendezvous will put some bristle in your throat and that’s not from swallowing this gorgeous elixir, it’s from the aromatics. I would compare High West Rendezvous Rye Whiskey with enjoying a Ruben Sandwich made on really good rye bread. 

You see, rye bread is not for everyone.  If everyone liked rye bread, there would be no diversity in flavor.  Everything would taste the same.  The same holds true for rye whiskey.  I think through having a culinary background, that whiskey and food brings people together at the table.  Yeah, I know that drinking is a highly personal thing, and I’d never tell you that you have to do anything you don’t want to do. 

All that I’m saying is that Rendezvous rye is a trip to the Old West, without the saddle sores.   This is how whiskey used to be made before it got all merlot-like with sweet vanilla this and opulent, juicy notes of salted caramels and port wine barrel, that…  I like my whiskey to be robust in the glass, yet kind.  Does that make sense?

You could say I like rye whiskey as a genre and you’d be correct.  But I must stress, rye is just not for everyone.

With that said I could free up my pen and get down to the next ingredient in this drink, the Galician Rendezvous gets Atsby Vermouth for the base.  I could have chosen Carpano Antica Vermouth– and you still can should you only have that venerable brand in the house.  But for this illustration and for my palate, I chose the Armadillo Cake version made in New York State.  I LOVE the Armadillo Cake for what it is not.  It is not from Italy.  It is not made from Muscat and it doesn’t overpower a cocktail like many other Euro-centric types of vermouth from across the Atlantic Ocean.  The Armadillo Cake is stylish, like an Armani suit on a handsome gentleman. 

Armadillo Cake is made with only the best ingredients.  The best local honey, apple brandy from New York State and the best Chardonnay wine from an undisclosed source on Long Island.  I know everything that goes into Armadillo Cake must be the very best, because I know who makes it.  And this person likes only the best, so when you crack open a bottle of Atsby, it’s not just marketing that makes it delicious!  This is delectable stuff.  It’s got a rich texture that reminds me of European models that cost twice as much.  The Armadillo Cake is a dream to drink on its own with just a twist of lemon and a splash of seltzer water. 

Just like the High West Rendezvous Rye- the Atsby Armadillo Cake is a most memorable slurp of history.  This is a history that reinvents itself every time you pour some into your favorite glass. 

Treat these liquors with reverence and they will reward you. 

Taking all of what I’ve told you into account, I’ve concocted a drink served in an old fashioned glass that is most beguiling.  It involves a Rendezvous of sorts.  On a train in Spain, surrounded … Of course.

Did you know that the Spaghetti Westerns were shot in Spain? 

Hmmmm.  What does that have to do with rye whiskey?  Probably nothing, but the name of the cocktail does have a region of Spain in the title, right?

It’s a stretch but the Galician Rendezvous is a most elegant beast and you must use the Rendezvous rye to make it.  Otherwise it just won’t be the same.

I also must stress that you always used freshly squeezed juices.  It is essential and your drinks know it.  In fact your friends know it too, so if you have been using bottled juices- they’re just being nice to you.  So please, don’t do it!

Get on an ice program as well.  If you are using high end spirits, why ruin your perfectly good drink by using that ice that tastes like last week’s garlic pasta, or that salmon filet that went south a few days ago.  Doesn’t it make sense to treat your ice like the basis of your cocktail?  I think so and you should too!

Not enough is said about the quality of the ice in a drink.  That is too bad because the more I drink out, the more I see that just isn’t pretty.  There is nothing exemplary about making a drink with quarter cube ice.  I’m not impressed. 

Get yourself a silicone ice tray. Skip the ones that feature ducks or lobsters- although up in Maine, this could be fun. You’ll need one that makes 2-inch squares or 1-inch squares.  The large ones seem to work the best and dilute your drink the slowest.  Double boil some spring water or better yet, distilled water.

Freeze overnight.  Sure you can infuse your ice with bitters.  I do it.  I also make ice from coconut water and distilled water.  It’s a bit cloudy, but the flavor with Rhum Agricole is something to be relished.   But that’s another recipe for another day.

And make yourself a Reuben sandwich to go with your High West Rendezvous Rye.  If you are in the NY/Metro area, get yourself down to Hobby’s in Newark and let them know I sent you.  

This is not a candy sweet cocktail.  It requires careful examination.  I suggest for you to have at least two. 

The Galician Rendezvous Cocktail
1 ½ oz. High West Rendezvous Rye Whiskey
¾ oz. Atsby Armadillo Cake Vermouth
¼ oz. Freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ oz. Freshly squeezed orange juice
3 drops Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters
1 large cube of handmade ice

On a bamboo pick, place and green olive (stuffed with an anchovy) and a ½ round of orange (like they do in Spain!)

Fill a Boston Shaker ¾ with ice
Pour over the High West Rendezvous Rye Whiskey
And the Atsby Armadillo Cake Vermouth
The Juices and cap… Shake hard for 20 seconds
Place large ice in an old-fashioned glass

Strain into an old-fashioned glass
Dot with the Jerry Thomas Bitters
Garnish of the ½ orange round and anchovy stuffed olive on top 

Yum.. Spain meets New York in the High West… Just like a Spaghetti Western!

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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