Time for another Mixology Monday! This time our host is also the “keeper of the flame” Fred Yarm of Cocktail
Virgin Slut. Thanks again from keeping things going Fred. Let’s get right to our theme “Flip Flop”:
I thought of the theme for this month’s Mixology Monday shortly after making the Black Rene, an obscure drink from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933. The combination of brandy, amber rum, lemon, and Maraschino was tasty, but I felt that the recipe could be improved if I swapped in different ingredients. Taking a page from Max Toste of Deep Ellum who converted the Black Devil into the White Devil, I flipped around the ingredients to be pisco, white rum, lime, and Maraschino instead. With this combination that I called the White Rene, the drink really sang but it was still recognizable as being an alteration of the original recipe. Others have done similar swaps with grand effect including the Bluegrass Mai Tai that changes the two rums to two whiskeys and swaps lime for lemon from the classic while holding everything else the same.
Find a recipe, either new or old, and switch around at least two of the ingredients to sister or cousin ingredients but holding the proportions and some of the ingredients the same. The new recipe should be recognizable as a morph of the old one when viewed side by side.
This theme was a fun one for us to play with, as we were already doing some experimenting with tweaks to classics. So we decided to use the Manhattan as our foundation. Ever since we tried the excellent Ile St. Honorat from the Liquid Culture Project, an aged rum Manhattan variant, we have worked on our own version. Now we decided to do a fully “flipped” Manhattan using aged rum instead of whiskey, amaro in place of vermouth, and Amargo Chuncho (Peruvian) bitters for Angostura (we kept the orange twist we like to use with our Manhattans). We pretty much went for the “full flip”, just like that
idiot guy from Manhattan Anthony Weiner sometimes fully “flips” into his alter ego, Carlos Danger. (Sorry, not much of a segue, but it’s what we had- and we couldn’t resist the name.)
Since we had the orange twist and the herbal, coffee-ish notes of the Amargo Chuncho bitters, the big question was the choice of aged rum and amaro. We wanted a mild, slightly woody sipping rum, and after trying a few bottles settled on the Matusalem Gran Reserva, a 15-year-old rum with well-integrated floral and burnt sugar flavors. The Matusalem is an easy sipper, and a good fit for this kind of spirit-forward cocktail. As for the Amaro, we tried a bunch. Maria a Monte was good but a bit too minty and boozy (worth revisiting, good stuff), Cynar didn’t quite fit and Averna was too sweet. We settled on Amaro Montenegro with its less bitter, light herbal and orange peel notes.
So how does the Carlos Danger taste? It has light floral, orange and coffee notes up front with a bit of kick from the booze in the middle (it’s a strong drink, no question). But the cocktail closes with a soft, dry vanilla note from the rum and amaro that is simply delightful. We tried the Carlos Danger up and on the rocks and it works both ways. So if you want to try something new, try a Carlos Danger cocktail
and leave that cell phone alone.
- 2 oz. aged rum (Matusalem Gran Reserva)
- 3/4 oz. Amaro Montenegro
- 1 dash Amargo Chuncho bitters
- 1 orange twist
- Place the liquid ingredients in a cocktail glass and stir until well-chilled. Stain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupé. Or strain into a lowball glass with a large ice-cube. Garnish with the orange twist. Serve.
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