Monday, January 14, 2008

Mixology Monday: Brandy


So So Cocktail

¾ oz. gin
¾ oz sweet vermouth
½ oz. Calvados
½ oz. grenadine

Stir with ice in mixing glass and strain into cocktail glass.


I have to admit that brandy is my least favorite of the base spirits. It’s not that I hate the stuff, it’s just that whenever I make a cocktail recipe containing brandy, the brandy is always the flavor I end up liking the least.

So when I saw that this month's MxMo theme ingredient was brandy, I had an idea…why not use Calvados? I like applejack, so I figured I’d be in safe territory with its cousin Calvados. (Are they cousins? Brothers? I need some brandy gurus out there to gimme a hand with this one).

Anyway, this time around I decided to give my modest collection of bar guides a breather and turn to the Internet Cocktail Database for options. I bookmarked about a half-dozen recipes containing Calvados, selected four of those to try, and decided one was blogworthy: the So So Cocktail.

I couldn’t dig up much info as to it’s origins…which is unfortunate, because it’s a really decent drink. It’s a beautiful reddish hue with orange tones (The Bamboo Babe, who moonlights as a jewelry designer tells me this color is “peach garnet”, so I’ll defer to her expertise). Also, the So So smells wonderful, and has a dry, fruity aroma that reminds me somewhat of Maraschino liqueur.

Taste-wise, it’s a great combo of ingredients. The gin gives a characteristic crispness, the vermouth softens, and the grenadine is right at the top of the heap with a hefty dose of fruity sweetness. The Calvados sneaks around in the background, both stiffening everything up and gilding the flavors. Making it even more appealing is that it seems to be a great year-round, multi-occasion drink- It’s got a chameleon-like quality that has me stumped for a situation where it would be an odd choice to serve.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do any ingredient comparisons, since the one decent store near me only carried a single Calvados: Christian Drouin. If anyone out there can recommend other worthwhile brands, let me know…I’d love to try variations of this recipe.

And even if brandy isn't your thing, head on over to SLOSHED! and marinate in all the other goodies that the lovely and talented Marleigh has on display.


Kaiser Penguin said...

I expected this to be a lot sweeter than it is! I'd give it a bit better than a So So.

The calvados I'm wielding is Grand Solage Boulard. The PALCB web site (linked) tells me it's a regular item, so you should be able to get it. Though it's a touch pricey.

I would wager homemade grenadine is 100% key in this recipe.

Dr. Bamboo said...

Rick, thanks for the heads-up...I'll see if I can find it locally.

I haven't yet taken a stab at homemade grenadine (30 lashes with a wet noodle for me!), but I think this recipe will be the one that gets me to do it.

Kaiser Penguin said...

You must! It's so pathetically simple. Buy POM, dissolve with equal amount of sugar. Done.