I’ve recently become obsessed with a cocktail they make at Drink called a Trinidad Sour (so named because Angostura bitters are from Trinidad). The recipe I use is
* 1 part Angostura bitters
* 1 part lemon juice
* 1 part rye. I’ve been looking around for 100-proof Rittenhouse Rye, but what I have on hand is 90-proof Russell’s Reserve and 80-proof Old Overholt; I think higher-proof ones wouldn’t hide so easily under the rest of the ingredients.
* 1 part orgeat. I use a brand called Ferrara, which sells it as ‘orzata’. Around these parts it’s available at Capone Foods (at least at the Cambridge location near Davis Square).
The recipe I started with used 3 parts orgeat, 3 parts bitters, 2 parts lemon juice and 1 part rye. Another variant used 2:2:2:1. I found that 1:1:1:1 suits me best; it’s a bit more astringent than the other recipes. Not that the Trinidad Sour is actually sweet; it’s really quite tart. It’s some bizarre magic trick whereby a full ounce or more of bitters lands in a cocktail that is … not bitter. One night I forgot to put in the orgeat; *that* was bitter. So the orgeat is the thing, I guess.
Last night Drink constructed for me a variant on the Trinidad Sour called Don’s Little Bitter, or DLB; it apparently originates at a pretentious bar I’ve been to in New York City called Please Don’t Tell, or PDT. Its recipe is
* 1 part Peychaud’s bitters
* 1 part Angostura orange bitters (available around here at The Boston Shaker, along with the Peychaud’s)
* 2 parts Angostura bitters
* 2 parts lemon juice
* 2 parts Fernet
* 2 parts simple syrup
* 4 parts Barbancourt 8-year rum
It’s like a Trinidad Sour, but you can taste the bitters much more decisively — still not overwhelmingly, but they peek out over the top just a bit. If I had more of them, or had mulled more over the one I had last night, I might be able to tell you more about it. Fernet, for instance, has a distinctive taste, and I imagine I should be able to spot its effects more.
(My buddy Jon and I have a longstanding, lighthearted debate going over whether Fernet is, as the kids say, “narst.” In my queue is a novel called [book: Cooking with Fernet Branca], which I gather is based around the absurdity of trying to cook with something which [newspaper: The New York Times] describes as “bottled bile.” Anyway, I really enjoy the stuff. After-dinner bitters are great for the stomach. Trust me on this. Or go buy a bottle.)
The idea of using more than a splash of bitters — of, in fact, making bitters central to the drink — is novel and awesome. I approve.