A lovely Spring Cocktail should entice the imbiber towards the more herbaceous flavors of the season. As a young man, I remember making tinctures of the aromatic leaves of the eucalyptus tree and preserving them in gin or vodka for use during times of stress or duress. Simple sugar syrup would be added to this tincture of and some black peppercorns would be added to the mix. Then the syrup would rest in the dark recesses of the refrigerator for weeks on end until the syrup/gin mixture became a thing of rare beauty. Bursting with aromatics of the earth and the grassy haunting passion of that thing called Eucalyptus, this aromatic ingredient is just marvelous in a cocktail. It tastes exotic. Klaus is fond of the exotic and the sublime. He is just waiting for spring to arrive in his cocktails. Or will the cocktails just come to him? I’m not sure. But one thing is for certain. Klaus is thirsty, which means I’m thirsty. And a thirsty writer is a thing of interest to Klaus.
I think simplicity is what is called in cocktails for the early spring. The flavors are just starting to burst out of the soil so they need clarity. Pure flavors- carefully prepared with love make a Eucalyptus syrup so perfect. It’s also an old ingredient. Eucalyptus dates back to early 19th century and the flavors of this oil are most persuasive. The color is also magical; a hint of salmon is what I see in the bottle. My friend Humberto Saraiva Marques has created a couple of syrups that speak clearly of the past satisfying our craving for nostalgia in every sip. Klaus is awfully interested in nostalgia since he came out of the soil over 100 years ago. That means Klaus is nostalgia incarnate! Maybe that’s why he’s so fond of historic cocktails? He’s certainly fond of Apothecary Cocktails.
I would know.
It’s snowing again. Large fluffy flakes this time. The frigid air is saturated with humidity. The temperature is hovering around 40, yet the snow flakes drops from the clouds in soft, pillowy bursts.
Humberto’s syrups are in front of me in their bold glass bottles, their packaging with a old fashioned flip top closure. His old fashioned flavors are Eucalyptus and Mimosa. Opening the Mimosa, I’m greeted with a burst of pure Mimosa flowers. The color is a pale golden yellow in hue. This isn’t like the bastardized cocktail by the same name comprised of reconstituted orange juice and a sparkling wine of an uncertain provenance. The Mimosa syrup is floral and happy bursting with the aromatics of the Mimosa flower. Yes, happy. Tasting the Mimosa syrup is like walking into a garden surrounded by aromatic Mimosa flowers. They work their way through your subconscious. The Eucalyptus Syrup is deeply mysterious and it takes your senses on a journey to the past.
Klaus says enough with the tasting notes already. Take me to the good stuff already!
Two cocktails grace the gartending column this time. The first named Marrakesh Sour is a bit of sweet, a bit of tart and all delightful. The key to this cocktail is to use the best ingredients at your disposal, if at all possible. If you cannot find the original ingredients you certainly will have to rework the drink, impossible-maybe. Contact me for details.
I suggest doing what you can to find the correct ingredients.
Marrakesh Sour Cocktail
2 oz. Hendrick’s Gin
1 oz. Mimosa Syrup from The Bartist
1 cucumber round (peeled)
sprig of garden fresh mint (it’s out there if you look hard)
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 egg white
½ oz. Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water (lemon flavor)
Hand cut ice made from Mavea “inspired” filtered water frozen with lemon zests (see note below)
3 drops- Bitter End Thai Bitters
Hand cut your lemon zest infused ice and place in an Old Fashioned glass to cool the glass
Into a Boston Shaker dry shake the lemon juice and egg white with 1 oz. Mimosa Syrup
Fill Boston Shaker with bar-ice
Shake for 15 seconds and strain over the hand cut ice into the Old Fashioned glass
Garnish with cucumber wheel and 3 drops of the Bitter End Thai Bitters and a sprig of mint
Note for ice: Filter your water and zest a few lemons into your ice tray, then freeze overnight. Hand cut the ice to your desired shape for your cocktail
Night train to Alcatraz Cocktail
2 oz. Templeton Rye Whiskey
1 oz. Eucalyptus Syrup
.25 oz. Sorel (Jack from Brooklyn)
.25 oz. Carpano Antica
.50 Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur
.25 Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
4 drops Bitter End Thai Bitters
Pre-cool a Collins glass with hand-cut ice
To a Boston Shaker, add:
“Bartist” Eucalyptus Syrup
Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
Barrow’s Intense Ginger liqueur
Fill ¾ with bar ice
Shake for 15 seconds
Strain into the Collins Glass dot with 4 drops of the exceptionally savory Bitter End Thai Bitters and finish with a pinwheel of lime
Do a jig for Klaus!