Remember the Sidecar from a couple weeks back? The White Lady is a lot like that. Except it has gin instead of brandy. Oh, and it has an egg white in it! A real Sidecar might have egg white in it as well, I don’t know. When I’m doing research on these drinks before picking which one to make the ‘egg white’ on the list of ingredients is always listed as optional. So, until now I’ve never put one in. Tonight was the night though. The White Lady seemed too simple, too plain, of a drink to omit the egg white and so I dove right in with only a few reservations! (If you are feeling queasy about using egg whites in your cocktails I found this post useful.)
2 oz. gin
1 oz. triple sec
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1 egg white
Combine all ingredients in shaker. Shake. Add cracked ice to shaker and shake well. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Lemon wheel garnish is optional.
Some bartenders strain twice when using egg white. Do what ever you are comfortable with.
Oh, oh, oh! So silky, so smooth! I wish I had not treated the egg whites as optional before! I don’t know if I’d have anything to say about the White Lady if I had skipped the egg white. I have Tanqueray gin right now and it has a more robust flavor profile than Beefeater and despite the sour of the lemon juice and the sweetness of triple sec I can still taste the gin. It’s the only thing disturbing my palate as this drink goes down. It’s the only hiccup in what is a soothingly smooth cocktail.
This week continues the trend of popular pre-Prohibition cocktails with the Aviation. This cocktail is a a mix of gin, Maraschino, and lemon juice. The original recipe calls for creme de violette, but that’s a hard, and expensive, liquor to find and doesn’t add much more than a purplish-blue hue to the drink. Many bartenders skip it, as I have.
1 1/2 oz. gin
3/4 oz. maraschino liquor
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
Add ingredients to an ice filled shaker. Shake well until thoroughly chilled. Pour into cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry. (Please use an actual cherry not one of those disturbingly highlighter red “maraschino cherries.”)
The Aviation is a tricky cocktail. I made a number of them and the balance between the liquids is very important. A little too much lemon juice and its too sour, too much gin and you can’t taste anything else. Even the maraschino liquor can throw the whole drink off. I found that being a light on the gin and a little heavy on the lemon juice made for an ideal drink.
The Aviation isn’t a popular cocktail. I don’t think I’ve ever heard one ordered at a bar. I know why too. It doesn’t take much to mess it up and even when you have a perfectly made one it isn’t going to “wow” you. Maraschino liquor might also be a turn off for people. It’s an interesting liquor that starts sweet but leaves a herbal, acidic, minerally aftertaste that takes some time to get used to. I ended up with a version of the drink I’m happy with but I don’t see myself making, or ordering, it that often…
It seems we’re finally moving into Autumn here in Northern California. The temperature during the day day isn’t rising into the 90s or 100s and the nights are cooling down into the 60s. (Edit: Of course as soon as I write this up the temperature shoots up into the 90s again…) With the move into Fall you can expect the cocktails to be less fruity and a little warmer. To welcome in the season I picked up some cognac and made that most classic of cocktails, the Sidecar.
3/4 oz. triple sec
3/4 oz. lemon juice
1 1/2 oz. cognac
Pour ingredients into a shaker with cracked ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
The rim of the glass may be sugar coated and a lemon twist may be used as a garnish
The Sidecar is first mentioned in a book around 1907. It’s current form is believed to have taken shape around the end of the First World War in either London or Paris. I’m most reminded of a sour when drinking a Sidecar, the lemon juice providing most of the flavor with the cognac and triple sec mellowing out and sweetening the drink. Some of called the Sidecar the only good thing to come out of Prohibition. Which is a silly thing to say because the drink came out of Europe… The cocktail is a beautiful, glowing strawberry-straw color and it’s taste is a wonderful blend of citrus and brandy. Don’t be afraid to tweak with the amounts until you find the blend you find most please. Just be careful! So smooth is this drink that it can sneak up on. Two or three go by before you know it!
Ice cream floats were fun but after three weeks of experimenting ice cream, soda, and liquor I’m feeling a little bloated. A little heavy. Time to go back to the simple pleasure of cocktails. This week’s is a delicious mix of sweet, bitter, savory, and spicy: Trouble in Paradise.
Trouble in Paradise
1 oz. bourbon
1 oz. Campari
3/4 oz. grapefruit juice
3/4 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. honey syrup
2 basil sprigs
Combine one basil spring, bourbon, Campari, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, honey syrup and pepper in shaker. Fill shaker with ice. Shake. Strain into rocks glass filled w ice. Granish with remaining basil sprig
When I saw this cocktail I was naturally apprehensive. Campari is not a liquor with trifle with. While the liquor has hints of cherry and citrus with an edge of spice the predominate taste is bitterness. The liquor is usually served as an aperitif with the herbal bitterness being used to prep the palate for the meal. The black pepper intrigued me though and lemon and grapefruit juice pack plenty of their own punch. So, I went ahead and tried it. I’m glad I did. Between the grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and honey syrup there’s plenty to counteract the bitterness of the Campari. The ground pepper? It adds a little kick and texture. This is a complex little cocktail that rewards slow sipping to capture all the subtleties and depths in this one!