Thursday, March 12, 2015

Cocktail: Spring Peeper

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

During the mid - 80’s, just after I graduated from college, it seemed that the best thing to drink (at least at the time) were clear drinks.  Clear, as in over-proof rum or clear like vodka and soda… It was never gin because gin was just bathtub rock-gut during the 80’s served as simply as possible because the whole mixology movement was still decades off.  

Being a bartender and making drinks at this time was not meant to be entertainment, people wanted to get lubricated and fast!

Most of these mixed drinks during the 80’s were pretty much flavorless stuff comprised of really cheap ingredients and never/ever freshly squeezed juices.  They were sheer intoxication over flavor in the cocktail arena. 

Meanwhile, down in exciting and vivacious Peru, Pisco, the indigenous liquor this country, was the elixir of choice to the nation.  Pisco is the national identity-via liquor of course-to Peruvians. 

During the mid-80s there were an entire subset of wealthy and influential young Peruvians who came to New York to populate the all night parties and the dance clubs of this era. (I worked at the night club in NYC named Danceteria during the 80’s.) The way I remember, (what little I do remember!), is that these denizens of the night enjoyed their national drink…a new product at that time for beer and a shot NYC.

Pisco was served in nightclubs and bars with nothing more than a glass made simple syrup made with muddled lime and extra fine bar sugar- finished with splash of soda-gun 7Up… It was a quick and potent drunk made with much less than high quality ingredients in dive bars and nightclubs.  Those early brands that made their way to New York City could be quite memorable one in the wrong hands.  Because of the combination of sweet and sour with fizzy, these drinks went down all too quickly, yielding results best left to history. 

This early craft cocktail, the Pisco Sour was refreshing and electrifying when compared to the mundane cocktails that people were ordering during this era of dancing from late until after dawn. 

But first, what is Pisco Porton?  It certainly bears no resemblance to the Pisco of an uncertain provenance during the 80’s in NYC. 

Pisco Porton is an ultra-high end, super-premium product that possesses what few spirits in the world possess.  That’s a DOC. The term DOC means that the product is made in a time-honored and specific way, in a specific place according to closely followed rules that are set into law.  Some of the world’s best wines are awarded DOC’s.  So are indigenous foods made using certain ingredients, crafted in a very personal way.  It’s a great honor to be awarded a DOC in the world of food/wine/spirits. 
To the layperson, a DOC governs quality and purity of a specific product.

Pisco Porton has this DOC because it is truly the best Pisco on the market. 

The grapes that comprise the elegantly styled, Pisco Porton are both aromatic and non-aromatic varieties:  Quebranta, Negra Corriente, Mollar, Italia, Muscat, Albilla, Torontel and Uvina.  All venerable wine grapes are used.  Most importantly, the spirit is distilled in small copper pot stills to proof, water is never added to dilute the final spirit.  This is different than most spirits in that what is in the bottle may not be what is originally distilled.

They’ve been making Pisco Porton since 1684, certainly longer than any distillery in this hemisphere. 

I’d like to re-image that early drink of muddled lime and bar sugar with 7Up mixed together with more modern ingredients.  In this case Pisco Porton is woven with grilled grapefruit juice and a splash of tangy lime juice and a hit of simple syrup.  It is then shaken and finished with Bitter Truth Creole bitters.  It’s marvelous to sip in a snifter, or shoot down and then finished with an icy lager beer. 

I’d like to call it:

Spring Peeper
2 oz. Pisco Porton
1 oz. Broiled Grapefruit juice (recipe follows below)
½ oz. Freshly squeezed lime juice
2 oz. Lager Beer of your choice
Wide orange zest (cut with a paring knife NEVER a peeler)
5 shakes Bitter Truth Creole Bitters

Heat your broiler to medium
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over 4 grapefruit halves
Broil until caramelized and bubbly

Let grapefruit cool
Juice to yield the sweet/tangy juice
Fill a Boston Shaker 3/4 with ice
Add the Pisco Porton
Add the broiled grapefruit juice
Cap and shake
Pour into a coupe
Top with the lager beer

Flame an orange over the top
Finish with a float of the Creole Bitters

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Author of: Apothecary Cocktails-Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today- Fair Winds Press- Beverly, Massachusetts. Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award, 2014 Tales of the Cocktail.  His forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released October 14.  Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails follow with publication in spring ’15.  Warren is a master mixologist for several craft liquor companies.

Warren consults about mixology and spirits, travel, organic wine and food.  He’s written for web-blogs and magazines like: Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods: Dark Rye, Distiller, Total Food Service Magazine, Beverage Media Group, DrinkUpNY, Edible Publications, Foodista, Serious Eats, Mechanics of Style and Beekman1802.  He was in the Saveur-100 in 2010.

Warren is a former, mostly self, trained cook from the pot sink on up.  J&W and ACF were thrown in for good luck.  Warren was the former owner/co-founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in South Carolina: *Dissolved his business after Hurricane Hugo in 1989* - to a career in private banking, (nearly 20 years; “a very grand mistake”) to this reinvention in 2009 as the Warren he's finally become.

Warren is available to do highly personalized, interactive mixology events, local, national and international.
PS: Warren's second book, Whiskey Cocktails is on the market now!

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