It's funny, to me, when a Mixology Monday sneaks up on you like this one seemed to do. It's doubly funny when I'm stuck as flat-footed as I was in terms of "what to make." And I wasn't certain what to make. Anna, host of it this month from Morsels & Musings, defined it as:
Definition of fruit liqueurs?Well - heck. Calvados ain't sweet, but it is made from fruit - would black cherry Smirnoff count? I don't know, so I won't do the cherry lime rickey thingamabob I've worked on, though I had been thinking of putting in Cherry Heering into it, so that definitely would've counted. And Cointreau is curacao, so that helps...
Well this is what I’m going for: a sweet alcoholic beverage infused with fruits or fruit flavours.
The only drinks I won’t accept are ones made with fruit only, rather than using a fruity alcohol of some kind.
Need inspiration? How about . . . .
Crème de Cassis
La Grande Passion
But screw it. Marshall might be Mr. "I'm going to invent new drinks", but I had some ideas for the same contest he's entering, and I've got this too.
I came up with one idea. I tried it out, liked it - even Cathy liked it, and she's notorious for what she doesn't like in drinks more than anything else - but I couldn't get excited about it. Given, as Marshall said, this is the Scofflaw's Den, I'll throw in the recipe at the end. But I wanted something that said "FRUIT" and also kind of said "spring or summer".
(A random aside: I'm having to write this whole thing in a constant battle against my cat The RZA, the little gray one in my icon picture. She wants me to go to bed. Bed! Me! Now! It's too early, I've had two cigars tonight, it ain't happening until I finish my post. But she keeps trying to take the battle to my nice glass of Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale and that just ain't cool.)
(And no, we didn't know she was a girl cat when we named her that. Her brother is Master Shake, given that he was declared by the vet yesterday to be "neurotic" it's even more appropriate.)
There are two books that I think any aspiring mixologist must have. The first is Gary Regan's The Joy of Mixology, for reasons I've detailed before, but in short: it's the darn most useful book that any mixologist can ever own. The second is David Wondrich's Imbibe!, which is more historical than necessarily day-to-day like JoM, but has some interesting and delicious recipes in the back of it.
One of the recipes is for what's called a Cherry Smash. I've made more than a couple of them, but never for me - to be honest, I've never made one for myself. I don't even think I've sipped one! But the people I've made them for have thoroughly enjoyed them, and hey, that's the sign of a great drink.
I was going to use that as my MxMo drink, but you know what - I don't think I have any brandied cherries! Maybe some of my dried tart cherries were, that's what I'd used before, but I'm fairly certain I'd dumped those. Oops.
I've had, as of recently, a refreshing interest in blackberries again. Horton Vineyards, probably my favorite Virginia winery, has a blackberry wine I love, and I found fresh blackberries at my local Harris Teeter and bought some. While at Ace Beverage recently, I also picked up a bottle of a blackberry liqueur that is exquisite called G.E. Massenez Creme de Mure.
Taking the recipe for the Cherry Smash as an inspiration, I reworked it to do two things: one, kill that stupid 375 mL bottle of Cointreau that had been weeble-wobbling through my bar's life, continually refilled by minis (yes, I'm stupid, and only today replaced it with a might 1 L bottle of Cointreau), and two, work with blackberries instead of cherries.
I didn't want to call it just a "Blackberry Smash", however. Given the sometimes Beaker-esque plot twists my mind can go through occasionally (a reference that only a few of you out there will get, and honestly, sure, whatever, I don't care), I went through some variants and ended up with what I'm calling a "Summer Crash".
Note: I suck at naming things. I consider that my biggest failing as a writer, also because I'm incredibly egotistical about my writing.
1 1/2 ounces apple brandy
3/4 ounce Cointreau
3/4 ounce G.E. Massenez Creme de Mure
1/2 ounce lemon juice
Lightly muddle a handful of blackberries in the bottom of a bar glass. Add the ingredients on top. Top with ice and shake like crazy. When it's so cold that your hands ache and the blackberries have been pulverized, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Drop in a blackberry or two - they'll sink - and put a large sprig of mint to float on top.
Now, you're going to think: won't that be gritty with bits of blackberry in it? Well, there are bits - but it's not gritty. At least, not as far as I found. I found it delicious, with the mint providing a nice balance to the taste. If you're familiar with the original recipe, you'll note that I replaced the cognac with apple brandy - you could use Calvados, I would assume, but I wanted something more USofA - and the lemon juice was reduced while the fruit liqueur was increased (to balance flavors more).
Honestly, I'm really quite very happy with how this drink came out.
My other drink (and, again, like Marshall, I have no pictures of this one) was good, I was just less enthused about.
The Today Stuff (what did I tell you about me naming things?!)
1 1/2 ounces Hendricks gin
1 ounce G.E. Massenez creme de mure
1/2 ounce lemon juice
Shake over ice, strain into a low ball or chimney glass, top with Fever Tree ginger ale or a mild ginger beer. Give a light stir - garnish with what you feel is appropriate (I'd suggest blackberries and mint, but as you might be able to tell, I kind of like those things).
Anyways, I hope you enjoy. If you make these, let me know, and tell me what you think. I'm always excited about how my creations do "in the real world", as it were. And if you're looking for the G.E. Massenez creme de mure in the DC area, I'd suggest Ace Beverage in NW DC. That's where I got mine.
(And if you know who does the MxMo icons, let me know as well so I can prepare for June!)