Cocktails That Complete Me: The Darb,
Dulchin and Baltimore Bang
This week, I'm continuing with the apricot brandy theme that I began in my column on Wednesday. There, I'd suggested two wonderful cocktails, the Winter Daiquiri and the Darb. As it happens, the Darb is one of the 17 cocktails that I had never before tried on The List of 100 must-try cocktails. Since the Darb was so fabulous, I decided to try the other two apricot brandy cocktails that I had also missed on the list.
Sadly, I cannot say the results were as impressive. Now, I'm not surprised that I don't love every cocktail on The List. I figured as much when I started my campaign to taste those 17 elusive cocktails. But the first one I encountered that I actually, truly hated was the Paradise, a mix of equal parts gin, orange juice and apricot brandy.
The truth is, I have never been a fan of anything with gin and orange juice. I don't enjoy either the Bronx cocktail or the Orange Blossom, the classics that call for those two ingredients. So the Paradise already had that against it. And then it unfortunately added apricot brandy. So the Paradise was basically an early 20th-century version of the Fuzzy Navel, calling for gin and apricot brandy rather than vodka and peach schnapps. Terrible.
Now, when I began this quest, I pledged that when I came upon a cocktail that didn't measure up, I would either suggest a tweak or, failing that, make a substitution to the list of 100. In this case, keeping with the apricot brandy theme, I would suggest replacing the Paradise with the Baltimore Bang, which I mentioned in my column. The Baltimore Bang is a tasty mix of bourbon, apricot brandy and lemon juice: an apricot-y whiskey sour.
The other apricot brandy recipe that had previously escaped my attention is called the Dulchin, an odd mix of pisco, apricot brandy, lime juice, Grand Marnier and grenadine. Opinions on the Dulchin within The Post office varied wildly. Deputy Editor Bonnie Benwick and our tester Michael Taylor both dissed the drink; they felt the pisco overpowered. I like pisco, so it wasn't much of a problem for me. I suggested using a true apricot eau de vie like Blume Marillen Apricot, but that may be too dry and boozy for some -- in which case, you could easily replace that with lower proof apricot liqueurs.
Just as I said in my column, apricot brandy can be a confounding spirit with highs and lows. In any case, here are two more recipes to experiment with it.
This is a variation on a whiskey sour that adds apricot brandy or liqueur to the mix. The original version is served straight up in a chilled martini glass, but Spirits columnist Jason Wilson prefers Derek Brown's version, served over ice.
Adapted from Derek Brown, at the Passenger in Northwest Washington.
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce apricot brandy
1/4 ounce simple syrup (see NOTE)
Twist of orange peel, for garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add the bourbon, lemon juice, apricot brandy and simple syrup. Shake well, then strain into an ice-filled rocks or old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a twist of orange peel.
NOTE: To make simple syrup, combine 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a slow rolling boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof container and let cool to room temperature.
According to cocktail historian Dave Wondrich, this drink was created and named for a wealthy guy who couldn't drink grain spirits and was bored with rum; thus, the introduction of pisco to the mix. If you can find Blume Marillen Apricot Eau-de-Vie, this is where it shines.
Adapted from a recipe at Cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com.
2 ounces pisco
1 ounce apricot brandy, preferably Blume Marillen Apricot Eau-de-Vie
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
1/2 teaspoon grenadine
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add the pisco, apricot brandy or liqueur, lime juice, Grand Marnier and grenadine. Shake well, then strain into a chilled cocktail (martini) glass.
| January 14, 2011; 8:00 AM ET
Categories: Spirits | Tags: Cocktails That Complete Me, Jason Wilson
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