This is a shockingly irresponsible theme, and therefore warrants in response the most shockingly irresponsible drink masquerading as a respectable "cocktail" I know. One of the strongest recipes published, at least that I've seen, has to be the Savoy's Earthquake Cocktail
(a.k.a., for some reason, the Bunny Hug
1/3 whisky (no real specification beyond that)
Shake and strain. No garnish specified; I suppose the louche from the diluted absinthe provides its own visual impact, and really what after-the-fact addition could possibly compete with those ingredients?
Oi! That's a lot of booze, and on paper one cannot see where any sort of balance comes from -- if indeed any was ever intended to exist. Hard to tell, honestly, given Savoy's commentary: "So-called because if there should happen to be an earthquake on when you are drinking it, it won't matter. This is a cocktail whose potency is not to be taken too lightly, or, for that matter, too frequently". Uh, yeah -- copy that.
Is this just a drink purpose-made for inducing drunkenness as quickly and efficiently as possible? Or is there a more serious mixological goal at work? I suppose it's all in how you make it. For better or worse, here's how I tend to on the exceedingly rare occasions when I dare:
1.5 oz blended scotch (typically Johnnie Walker Black or Famous Grouse 12-year)
1.5 oz Cadenhead's Old Raj "Blue Label" gin
1.5 oz Jade Edouard absinthe
Stir until the absinthe has turned the whole mess pearly-opaque, strain into a frozen (not merely "chilled") cocktail glass. Garnish with a designated driver and/or an understanding spouse. Or at least a large ice cube.
For those keeping score at home, that's 1.5 oz each of 80, 110 and 144 proof spirits, respectively -- and nothing else
apart from whatever small amount of water can force itself into the mix during construction. Since the pre-dilution concoction is 4.5 ounces of straight alcohol that must be well above 100 proof on average, my guess is that the finished product is probably the functional equivalent of drinking 5-6 ounces of 80-proof spirits neat
So, what's the answer to the dichotomy posited above? I'm drinking one literally as I post this so I do feel qualified to say that it accomplishes the first objective (quick and efficient drunkenness) very well indeed; a few sips are all that's all needed for that. Personally I find that I rarely finish one, and won't tonight.
But perhaps it's not a dichotomy after all, because I do think there's something more going on here. Built right with the hightest quality booze available there is a certain balance to this drink, fragile though it may be. Despite the inordinately high-octane nature of the ingredients -- even after dilution -- most spirits and cocktails enthusiasts would be hard pressed to say that the drink "burns" like one would expect. To the contrary, it's surprisingly smooth as it beats you like a rented mule. Moreover, there seems to be something about the interaction between the scotch and the absinthe that polishes off the rougher edges of both, rather like noise-cancelling headphones in coach when the inevitable screaming infant is seated right next to you. What the hell the gin is going there, however, is anyone's guess. Filler? Not with Cadenhead's; amazingly its strength and saffron-tinged botanicals manage to punch right through and duke it out with the bitter anise of the absinthe as the dominant top note. Overall, the flavors work astonishingly well...at least as long as the thing is very, very cold.
In all events, this "limit one" is a 9.0 killer. It bears no resemblance whatever to either bunnies or hugs, and it's not to be taken lightly. Be careful out there.
MikeEdit: Spelling and clarity.
Edited by Mike S., 16 March 2008 - 06:42 PM.