Monday, August 29, 2016

Connemara Clammer (Cocktail Na Mara)

Connemara is a seaside region of western Ireland known for its picturesque seascapes and rolling hills. It is a region, not a county, because it is loosely defined by geographical features and local culture. And part of that culture is clamming and eating clams.

Clam juice is a perfect addition to Irish whiskey. It's salt brine and soft watery texture match perfectly to the spicy sweetness of Irish whiskey. Besides clam juice and and whiskey, the Connemara Clammer does not have Tabasco or hot sauce. It is spicy with horseradish and black pepper, but not hot.

The recipe doesn't call for olives, but Tipsy Olives were a perfect briny match for this drink. You don't really notice the whiskey, but you enjoy the clamminess. So when I bit into an olive, it was so well paired that I swooned. It was that good. I got chills like I was taking in a beautiful seaside view and scenting the briny air.

Connemara Clammer
The first variation of this drink is the Clammer. This is a drink served neat in a large and low double Old Fashioned glass. It isn't spicy so much as briny and thick. I like how horseradish and clam juice pair with sweet whiskey.
  • 2 oz. Irish whiskey 
  • 2 oz. clam juice
  • 3 oz. tomato juice or V-8
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • several dashes Worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. horseraddish
  • several pinches of freshly ground black or white pepper
 Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Strain into a chilled double Old Fashioned glass.

Cocktail Na Mara
Connemara means "by the sea." So this drink is the "cocktail by the sea." It is served long and on the rocks (see photo above) and it has lemon juice and Tobasco sauce, unlike the Clammer version. In most respects they are pretty much the same drink, though.
  • 2 oz. Irish whiskey
  • 2 oz. clam juice
  • 4 oz. tomato juice
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • several dashes Worchestershire sauce
  • dash Tobasco sauce
  • pinch white pepper
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake. Pour into a chilled highball glass. 

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