Thursday, August 21, 2014

What’s Your Call to Action?

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

As we move headlong into the late summer months the reflection of dark liquors across our palates make a stunning resurgence.  But we call out for new flavors with the waning days of the month and these flavors signify change.  Cooler nights signify the shortening of daylight, a traditional trigger point for my palate to move over to darker liquors.  One such liquor that I really have been enjoying as of late is Templeton Rye.  Said to have been the favorite of a renowned gangster during Prohibition, this recreation of “the good stuff” is perfectly delicious when mixed.  Templeton is a high rye whiskey.  It’s well over the required 51% rye grain so the flavor is quite peppery from the rye.  It is said that you can plant a field of rye with what fits in your pocket.  (Unless your pocket has a hole in it!)

That is why rye was so popular in the early days of our nation.  It is easy to transport and even easier to distill with very basic resources available.  The heartier flavor of rye, especially Templeton Rye makes for a robust drink with the zippy and spicy cinnamon notes along with pain grille and wet stones. 

This may not appeal to everyone, just like not everyone enjoys rye bread.  The same holds true for rye whiskey. 

Templeton Rye works so well with assertive ingredients like freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice.  There really is no excuse not to use the best ingredients possible at all times.  For anyone who has ever suffered and barely tolerated themselves through a screwdriver made with orange juice from concentrate would attest, fresh makes much more interest.  Using fresh juices will keep your friends coming back for more. 

Not a bad thing to have happen!

I recently used the Templeton Rye in a twist on the Whiskey Punch with both freshly squeezed orange and lemon juices.

Through research for another article, I was able to source out some handmade shrub syrups from different producers around the country.  One of these, a vividly flavored strawberry, black pepper and balsamic shrub handmade by “Shrub Drinks” in Texas, added some unexpected nerve to my traditional punch recipe.  Something marvelous happens when you mix sumptuously textured fruits and sugar with balsamic vinegar and a healthy dose of freshly cracked black pepper.   Shrub Drinks also makes other concoctions like the tomatillo and lime and serrano shrub that just screams out for Mezcal.  I haven’t tasted my way through their line, but the strawberry, balsamic and black pepper is just otherworldly in the presence of fresh juices and the Templeton Rye whiskey. 

I suppose that a sizzling hot sandwich is in order as well.  Make mine a Rueben.  Make it on rye with plenty of freshly sliced pastrami and spicy mustard along with the Russian dressing and crunchy sauerkraut.  This is the kind of food that screams out for Templeton Rye whiskey!

Punch is a most misunderstood beast.  You have to make drinks that go into a punch bowl with balance.  No single ingredient can overtake another.  They need to work together in harmony.  That’s why shrubs are so important in the punch bowl.  The discovery of the product, Shrub Drinks makes my life really easy!

You really don’t have to try to hard to make professional quality drinks at home with the best ingredients possible. 

First of all squeeze your citrus juices just before you use them.  Then keep them cool, but not cold- don’t
add ice to them, but you can sit them on ice.  I find it a best practice to add the spirits in last, and then only ½ as much as you think you are going to use, tasting the punch and adding more as needed.  You cannot subtract from the beginning forward or add more fruit juices if you have none left.  That is why it’s essential to add the spirits slowly and taste often for balance.  I always start with the juices and the syrups first, get their flavors right- and then add the spirits.  It’s just how I do it.  Ice is also a going concern for a well-crafted punch.  You may find it helpful to go to a restaurant supply house and buy a stainless steel insert.  Ask, they’ll know what you’re talking about.  An insert fits in a cold-line table.  They are roughly 6 inches by 9 inches and at least 10 inches deep.  This is the best way that I know to make blocks of ice in your freezer.  The stainless steel will not taste like everything in the freezer, nor will it give off any bad flavors like plastic does.  So use stainless steel!

A twist on the term plain ice would be to add some Bitter Truth Creole Bitters to the ice, for flavor and for color as the ice melts.  Adding flavor and color is a fun idea to add a bit of spark to the final equation.

Since this is a rye whiskey based punch-style drink, just multiply the final number of ingredients by the number of people you are serving.  This recipe is for two persons.  You don’t have to make so much ice, but it’s nice to know how to if needed so you won’t have to go out and buy supermarket ice. 

What’s Your Call to Action?
Ingredients:
4 oz. Templeton Rye Whiskey
3 oz. Shrub Drinks: Strawberry, Balsamic and Black Pepper Shrub
2 oz. Freshly squeezed Orange Juice
1 oz. Freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
2 oz. (in each glass) Seltzer Water
2 Shakes (in each glass) Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
Long Orange Twist
Mint Sprig for spark!

Preparation:
To a Boston Shaker filled ¾ with ice
Add the Templeton Rye
Add the citrus juices
Cap and Shake hard for 10 seconds

Strain into a Collins Glass with a few cubes of ice
Add some Seltzer over the top
Dot with the Lemon Bitters
Garnish with a long orange twist and mint sprig

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Article by Warren Bobrow, a nationally published food and spirits columnist who writes for Williams-Sonoma, Foodista and the Beekman Boys. His first book, Apothecary Cocktails has been nominated for a Spirited Award at the 2014 Tales of the Cocktail!  Warren’s forthcoming second book, Whiskey Cocktails is now in pre-sell from Fair Winds Press. His third book, named Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails will be released in Spring 2015. 

1 comment:

  1. and please add the shrub along with the juices... my bad.

    ReplyDelete

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