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Snark

Drink Deconstruction & Reconstruction

9 posts in this topic

"Longtime lurker, first-time poster."

My wife and I were at The Gage in Chicago on Saturday night, and I ordered a drink they've dubbed, "Greely's Feast" -- after Adolphus Greely. The menu lists Laird's Applejack (no proof specified), Punt e Mes, Luxardo Amaro Abano, and chocolate bitters as the ingredients. No proportions included, of course, and though I suppose I could ask for what they use, that's sort of beside the point, because:

It seems (to me, at least) as if this should be a good drink, but it was... flat. Not out of balance, precisely, just not very interesting. Which surprised me, because I'd expected it to be more than ho-hum. I'm still training my palate and learning how different ingredients work together, and I thought I'd reach out to the brilliant folks here for thoughts on how to deconstruct and reconstruct this drink. Any ideas?

(It also occurred to me that maybe other people here would have similar questions about other drinks, and this thread might be a useful place to raise them -- though if there's already a thread dedicated to this sort of thing, please let me know; I didn't find one after a bit of searching, though there are at least a couple similar threads that seem dedicated to recreating drinks from The Violet Hour.)

Cheers!





Edited by Snark (log)

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This reads like a Laird's-based riff on the Left Hand, subbing Luxardo for the Campari.

If you're looking to recreate, I'd start with 2:1:1 (as in the Left Hand) and tweak to taste. There is only one Laird's product that is suitable as the backbone of a cocktail, and it is the Bonded.

If you're looking to improve--well, you'd be better off listening to almost anyone else here--but I'd probably start by substituting the Luxardo with Cynar or Campari.

Of course, I've yet to encounter a Left Hand variant that is anywhere near as good as the Black Hand (Cruzan Blackstrap in place of Whiskey)


Edited by turkoftheplains (log)

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Definitely on the Laird's - it needs to be the bonded. Do you know which chocolate bitters were being used?

Sorry, no. Should've asked.

This reads like a Laird's-based riff on the Left Hand, subbing Luxardo for the Campari.

If you're looking to recreate, I'd start with 2:1:1 (as in the Left Hand) and tweak to taste. There is only one Laird's product that is suitable as the backbone of a cocktail, and it is the Bonded.

If you're looking to improve--well, you'd be better off listening to almost anyone else here--but I'd probably start by substituting the Luxardo with Cynar or Campari.

Of course, I've yet to encounter a Left Hand variant that is anywhere near as good as the Black Hand (Cruzan Blackstrap in place of Whiskey)

Great call on the Left Hand. I'm wondering if they weren't using the bonded -- that would certainly explain why the spirit didn't shine through at all.

Something else interesting, coming off the Left Hand remark: they served it over ice, in a collins glass (no garnish).

The Black Hand sounds delicious; I need to try that. I definitely don't want to simply recreate, as the Greely's Feast wasn't anything special in the glass (even though it appealed on the page). I have both Cynar and Campari, so maybe I'll play with some things and report back...


Edited by Snark (log)

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That Luxardo Amaro Abano is tough to substitute for - it's strongly black peppery. I think the change of Laird's Bonded for their applejack (which is IIRC 65% GNS) would be the best way to make that drink not flat. More proof + bitter sweet vermouth + punchy bitter + chocolate bitters (the Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters would be nice here) ought to work well.

Thanks,

Zachary

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Definitely on the Laird's - it needs to be the bonded. Do you know which chocolate bitters were being used?

Sorry, no. Should've asked.

>This reads like a Laird's-based riff on the Left Hand, subbing Luxardo for the Campari.

If you're looking to recreate, I'd start with 2:1:1 (as in the Left Hand) and tweak to taste. There is only one Laird's product that is suitable as the backbone of a cocktail, and it is the Bonded.

If you're looking to improve--well, you'd be better off listening to almost anyone else here--but I'd probably start by substituting the Luxardo with Cynar or Campari.

Of course, I've yet to encounter a Left Hand variant that is anywhere near as good as the Black Hand (Cruzan Blackstrap in place of Whiskey)

Great call on the Left Hand. I'm wondering if they weren't using the bonded -- that would certainly explain why the spirit didn't shine through at all.

Something else interesting, coming off the Left Hand remark: they served it over ice, in a collins glass (no garnish).

The Black Hand sounds delicious; I need to try that. I definitely don't want to simply recreate, as the Greely's Feast wasn't anything special in the glass (even though it appealed on the page). I have both Cynar and Campari, so maybe I'll play with some things and report back...

The thing about Laird's bonded, as fabulous as it is (and still a great buy), is that, to me at least, it softens the overall flavor of a drink if there are other strong flavors present, and the apple notes are easily lost. That very nature, however, makes it oh so blendable with almost any other brown spirit. If you're into experimentation, you might try half Laird's and half rye, for instance, or even try it 50/50 with the blackstrap rum, which has the opposite issue of being so strongly molasses flavored (not that that's a bad thing in many cases) that it can make drinks somewhat one-dimensional. We're all looking for that alchemical synergy among disparate ingredients!


"The thirst for water is a primitive one. Thirst for wine means culture, and thirst for a cocktail is its highest expression."

Pepe Carvalho, The Buenos Aires Quintet by Manuel Vazquez Montalban

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The thing about Laird's bonded, as fabulous as it is (and still a great buy), is that, to me at least, it softens the overall flavor of a drink if there are other strong flavors present, and the apple notes are easily lost. That very nature, however, makes it oh so blendable with almost any other brown spirit. If you're into experimentation, you might try half Laird's and half rye, for instance, or even try it 50/50 with the blackstrap rum, which has the opposite issue of being so strongly molasses flavored (not that that's a bad thing in many cases) that it can make drinks somewhat one-dimensional. We're all looking for that alchemical synergy among disparate ingredients!

Agreed, Laird's bonded (like rum in general, and Blackstrap in particular) makes for great multiple-base drinks. I've had luck blending it with pretty much every single base spirit, other than gin, which is probably more a failure of my imagination than the Laird's. I imagine it would be perfect with genever, but I don't have any on hand (thanks, PA liquor control board!) The closest product on hand is white whiskey, and as an equal-parts or 1:2 mixed base with Laird's works very nicely indeed.

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Try the Laird's Bonded with a bit of Batavia Arrack von Oosten, which has an affinity for fruity flavors, and a touch of Maraschino for a funky spin on a Jack Rose. I call it a George Clinton (Clinton was born in an outhouse in North Carolina but grew up a Jersey boy).


Edited by Rafa (log)

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