Tuesday, August 9, 2016

This Week in Home Cocktailing August 7, 2016 Part I

This week's cocktails had a bit of a different flavor palate though the base spirits used are somewhat similar. I used white rum for the cocktail named after 1930's blonde bombshell Jean Harlow while I used Cachaça in the Confederados and the Brazilian national cocktail The Caipirinha. The Confederados cocktail also marked the first time I've ever used a shrub in a cocktail so this one took a little extra prep time to make. Now that I've laid the groundwork, let's get to drinking.

I came across the recipe for the Confederados Cocktail from the Imbibe Magazine website. The recipe comes courtesy of Julian Goglia of The Pinewood Tippling Room in Decatur, Georgia. Before I go into the recipe for the cocktail, I wanted to shed some light on one of the ingredients: The Watermelon Shrub.

Up to now, I've yet to make a cocktail with a shrub. The only experience I've ever had with drinking a cocktail with a shrub was way back during April 2013 when I had a cocktail named The Maiden's Mayhem which was served to me at the Library at the Public with a Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub. In that post, I described what shrubs were and since its been a while since that last post, I think it would serve to inform those unfamiliar with what shrub are if I reposted what I came across.

According to the May 26, 2012 article What's shaking in the cocktail scene? Shrubs by Jessica Gelt from the Los Angeles Times website, she describes shrubs as being:
Tart, acidic and weirdly, wonderfully refreshing, drinking vinegars known as "shrubs" are finding a savory home on a growing number of Los Angeles drink menus. Sometimes they're added to soda water as an alternative to mainstream sodas, and sometimes they're mixed with booze as a mouth-pleasing alternative to predictable acids such as lemons and limes. 
In terms of their origins:
Shrubs, which are generally one part juice or fruit macerated with sugar and boiled with vinegar, were mixed with water in 18th century America for refreshment. Vinegar was also used as a preservative and for its supposed medicinal benefits. It was only a matter of time before alcohol made the grade, but shrub cocktails never achieved a full liftoff.
Based on that description, here is the recipe for the Watermelon Shrub portion of the Confederados cocktail:
Watermelon Shrub: Combine 1 cup fresh watermelon purée, 1 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar in a large glass jar. Cover and shake to combine. Let sit overnight, then fine-strain. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
So I did that, with the exception of using granulated Splenda. While that sat blending its flavors together, I decided to work on the Jean Harlow cocktail.

I came across the recipe for this cocktail on page 61 of the book Under the Table: A Dorothy Parker Cocktail Guide by Kevin C. Fitzpatrick.

The cocktail was named after famed actress of the 1930's Jean Harlowe, and it is said that it was one of her favorite cocktails. It really is a simple cocktail to make being equal parts of white rum and Vermouth Rosso. It intrigued me since I don't believe that I have ever made a cocktail with white rum and Vermouth Rosso. Here it is:

I found the cocktail to be very interesting. While the Vermouth Rosso seemed to dominate the cocktail, you could taste the Real McCoy 3-year rum just chilling around in the background. The color to this cocktail is amazing. Two things stood out to me a few days after having the Jean Harlow.

First, I think I need to remake this with a fresher bottle of Vermouth Rosso. Its been a while since I had a new bottle. I don't think that it was bad, but to get a proper tasting of the cocktail, I should have a Vermouth Rosso in optimal condition. Secondly, I think a rum with a stronger flavor profile like a black strap or an aged rum might give a different taste to this cocktail. I'll get back to the drawing board once I get a new bottle of Vermouth Rosso. For now, here is the video I recorded for the Jean Harlow cocktail:

That's it for Part I of this post folks. The second part will contain the finished Watermelon Shrub and the Confederados cocktail and a bonus Caipirinha which I made while watching the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Until Then Happy Drinking,