Posts Tagged ‘Creme de Mure’

Week Twenty One: Blackberry

June 7, 2009

If David Embury is to be believed, mixed drinks fall roughly into two categories – cocktails of the sour type, and those of the aromatic type. The former covers drinks that include – surprise! – a sour element like lemon or lime juice while the latter comprises recipes with some kind of aromatized or fortified wine component, such as vermouth. But I don’t think that these two categories have to be mutually exclusive.

I don’t mean drinks that contain both aromatic elements and sour elements – there are some, most notably the Corpse Reviver – more I think that it is often possible to present both a sour version and an aromatic version of the same drink. There will be differences in the two versions of the drink, but the overall flavor profile will pretty much the same.

I’m going to use a Bramble to illustrate the point. It’s a gin-based drink invented by Dick Bradsell in London in the early part of the 1980s.

45ml gin
25ml lemon juice
10ml gomme syrup
15ml Creme de Mure
Stir the first three ingredients with crushed ice in an old-fashioned glass. Float the Creme de Mure and garnish with a lemon wedge and a couple of blackberries.

The thing with sour drinks is that they’re not actually sour. It’s all about that balance between sweet and sour, finding that spot between zingy and refreshing, and avoiding gum-sucking acidity. The immediate hit is something that is going to be lost in the aromatic version, but that doesn’t mean that we’re going to lose the citrus notes entirely.

50ml gin
15ml dry vermouth
10ml Limoncello
4 kaffir lime leaves
15ml Creme de Mure
Stir the first three ingredients with cubed ice in an old-fashioned glass. Float the Creme de Mure and garnish with a blackberry and a lime leaf.

And there we go – complementary sour and aromatic cocktails based on a single flavour profile.


Week Nineteen: Brandyberry Julep

May 15, 2009

There are three stories to tell, in two loose categories. Two are about products, two are about things I wouldn’t think about that often.

Yes, the math doesn’t quite add up.

The first story, in which I’m going to have come clean. There’s a reason I’ve been using a lot of Creme de Mure in recent recipes – Edmond Briottet. According to Oh Gosh!, Briottet liqueurs have been produced in Dijon, France since 1936 but aren’t that well known outside of France. I picked up a bottle of their Creme de Mure to use for the Highland Bramble I made for February’s Mixology Monday and was totally blown away. It’s at least as good as any other brand I’ve come across in bars across Scotland, and a good deal better than most. As ever, when you fall in love with a product, it figures large in anything you come up with. It helps that blackberry goes with light spirits as well as dark spirits.

Act two – the other side of the coin. Just as there are the things you always go to, there’s always a shelf full of products that you don’t really use. For me, the biggest categories I tend to ignore are bourbon and Cognac. Bourbon tends to lose out to Scotch in my thinking because, being honest, I’m in Scotland; it seem foolish to ignore the massive variation within that category when it’s so readily available, but there’s no particular reason for me not to consider Cognac. Having cashed in a few weeks of change, I decided to invest in a decent bottle of Cognac (Courvoisier Exclusif, as it turned out) with the intention of improving my opinion of that. The recipe that follows is step on that road, I guess.

The final story is one from work. One of the bar staff asked me to speak to a customer who was complaining about their drink – he was holding an Old-fashioned. I remembered another bartender asking me how to make one a little earlier in the evening, for a drinks check. I took him through, and we made a great tasting drink – which was back at the bar in the hands of a less-than-happy customer. So, I took a breath and walked over, introduced myself and asked if there was a problem with his drink.

“I asked for a mint julep.”

This might not strike anyone as surprising or unlikely, but I’ve been working full-time at my current bar for over three years and that was the first time that anyone has ever ordered a mint julep. I apologised and explained that as we didn’t get asked for juleps that often, it was possible that the staff were unfamiliar with the drink. We got the correct drink put together and sent out, and everyone went home happy.

There are some drinks that make it and some drinks that don’t. The mint julep had completely fallen off my radar, while the mojito is currently the UK’s most popular cocktail.

This week’s drink is pretty simple, based on those three things – one ingredient I use a lot, one I don’t, all combined in a style of drink I haven’t thought of in forever.


Photo © 2009, Hugh Beauchamp

Brandyberry Julep
45ml Courvoisier Exclusif
15ml Edmond Briottet Creme de Mure
10ml gomme syrup (2:1 ratio of sugar to water)
6-8 mint leaves
Build in a highball glass with crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.

One more thing: spot that lovely picture? It was taken by the wonderful Hugh Beauchamp – check him out on Flickr and Twitter.

MxMo: hard drinks for hard times

February 16, 2009

This month’s Mixology Monday is worried. It worries about its job, its mortgage and, above all, it worries about its future. It’s not easy being the internet’s premier monthly mixological get-together, but this month’s theme proposed by Matt at Rowley’s Whiskey Forge could give it a few tips for getting through the crunch.

Drinking has seen of tough times before, of course. If outright prohibition couldn’t kill hard spirits, then lacking a bit of cash won’t either. However, to my mind, when money gets tight it’s the fancy imported stuff that ends up first in the firing line and you aim to make do with what’s local. Luckily, this means I get to play with Scotch whisky.

(Whisky Galore! by foxypar4, licenced under Creative Commons.)

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