Friday, January 18, 2013

The James aka The St. James

I'm often asked to make drinks for customers that either they create on their own or their friends create for them. This one comes with a bit of an international slant. Allow me to elaborate.

Last Monday night the Bleecker Street Theater at 45 Bleecker Street hosted a concert by prominent Zimbabwean guitarist and songwriter Oliver Mtukudzi aka Tuku. So how does that factor in for us at the Bleecker Street Bar? Well, apparently the Bleecker Street Theater does not serve any alcohol so we got a large group of thirsty Zimbabweans come through our door eager to drink post-concert. I was curious about something. Perhaps this is something about drinking in Zimbabwe. There were three basic beers ordered by the group: Stella Artois, Heineken and Amstel Light. Could this be due to do the global reach of the three brands? But I'm digressing here. Back to the drink at hand.

One particular gentleman, whose name was James, piqued my attention with his order. At first I found it somewhat peculiar since the ingredients didn't seem to go together. Here is what he ordered.
The James aka The St. James
1.5oz Makers Mark Bourbon
1oz Triple Sec
Pineapple Juice to top

Build over ice and give two quick shakes. Serve with lemon and lime wedges.
Now I asked James if this was a concoction of his own creation. He told me his friends made it up and that it can be seen as being a cross between a Manhattan and a Sidecar. It its extreme form, you can replace the Triple Sec for Grand Marnier but that he wasn't going to do so since it was a "school night". Ok, so before I go any further, let's look at both the Manhattan and the Sidecar.

The Manhattan typically consists of Rye Whiskey or Bourbon, Sweet Vermouth, Bitters and cherry juice (personal personal preference here folks). A Sidecar consists of either Brandy or Cognac (which are basically one in the same. Naming has to do where it is made), an orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier (or any other triple sec) and lemon juice.

I kind of see where he says that it is a cross between a Manhattan and a Sidecar though there really isn't a bitter/sour component to the drink as is found with the Bitters in the Manhattan and the Lemon juice in the Sidecar. I personally wouldn't say that it was a cross between the Manhattan and a Sidecar but allow me to continue.

I took a little taste of one of the many I made him and found the cocktail to be too sweet for my palate. The triple sec and pineapple juice seem to mask the Makers Mark with its sweetness while I find the Makers to be rather sweet on its own. It definitely needed a sour portion to the drink to balance the sweetness. I would say that the cocktail is definitely an acquired taste.

Oh, on a side note. As you see about the drink is "aka'd" as the St. James. Why? Well James told me since the drink is named after just him and if I wanted to make it a bit fancier that I should add the "St." to the name though he isn't a saint in any way, shape or form. Aren't we all James. Aren't we all.

Let me know what you gals and guys think of the James aka the St. James.

Until Then, Happy Drinking
Sisco Vanilla