Thursday, December 24, 2020

Clockwork Orange #2 (Difford's Guide)

I'm on the lookout for more innovative akvavit recipes lately, and I've turned to Difford's Guide for help finding them. This coffee and orange rocks drink is strong on spirits and bitterness. It is the kind of thing that is really "in" right now, but you usually find bourbon in the bitter cocktails, not akvavit.

And that is where this cocktail jumps off from the traditional thinking. Akvavit is usually consumed chilled and chased with pilsner-style beer. There are few bartenders who know enough about akvavit to mix with it; Difford's guide with its thousands of recipes only displays seven akvavit cocktails. That is why this one is so special. 

I've made a few alterations, using local spirits and omitting chilled coffee to replace it with a shot of MurLarkey coffee whiskey. This whiskey has all the kick of cold brew coffee without the grounds, and without watering down your drink. The akvavit I'm using is my own infusion with MurLarkey Justice white whiskey and vodka. And I like the idea of subbing in a local aperitivo like Don Ciccio & Figili's Ambrosia for the better known Aperol.

I do not have chocolate bitters, and I can see what the chocolate would lend. Often chocolate bitters also contain cinnamon, the point being that your taste buds register the chocolate flavor as chocolate chip cookies or sweet baked goods. So my closest substitute is Hella orange bitters, which is less orange and more of a baking spice bitters anyway.

This stiff cocktail was worth the effort and deserves a quiet half-hour to sip and enjoy uninterrupted.

  • 1 oz. akvavit (homemade used)
  • 1 oz. Aperol or Italian aperitivo (Don Cicco & Figili Ambrosia used)
  • 1 oz. chilled French Pressed coffee (1 oz. MurLarkey coffee whiskey used)
  • 1/4 oz. sugar syrup
  • dash chocolate bitters (Hella orange bitters used)
  • orange zest (flamed)

Combine liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass with fresh ice cubes (large format preferable). Flame the orange zest by squeezing it into a flame held over the glass and drop it in. 

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