Yes, it’s Tuesday. But it was Mixology Monday, and we did make a cocktail. Let’s hope Nick at the Straight Up blog (worth a regular visit, btw) will show some Christmas spirit and let us in late. As it is, here is the summary for this month’s theme, Anise:
While I had a few ideas I’ve been kicking around for this months theme, including some more holidayesque thoughts, I ultimately decided on one of my favorite flavors: anise. Although great any time of year, there is something about colder weather and the holidays that really sets my anise fetish into overdrive. While past MxMos have seen a few specific sources of anise, such as pastis and absinthe, I wanted to open things up to anything anise flavored, the more unique the better. Most folks have something with anise notes laying around, whether it’s absinthe or pastis, ouzo, Genepe, even Green Chartreuse, Peychaud’s, Raki, etc. Maybe get creative and make something tasty with some star anise, like a syrup, infusion or tincture. Show us that riff on a Sazerac or Improved Holland Gin Cocktail that you love, or create something entirely new.
Cool theme, and one we were quite happy to play with. As it turns out, there are plenty of ways to use anise flavor in cocktails. As a lead element, anise means licorice and herbal flavors. But as many home bartenders know, an extra dash of anise flavor is often used to supply that “I know not what” of extra complexity and depth to many famous drinks. From pre-prohibition cocktails to tiki drinks, you will find anise (usually in the form of absinthe or pastis) in dozens of drinks where you might not expect it.
We started this MxMo with the intent of experimenting and putting anise in the lead of a new cocktail. And we did have a nice gin, lime, fennel, tarragon, Chartreuse, absinthe and sugar thing going. That drink will eventually make the blog, but we got sidetracked.
As it is the holidays, we ended up with a bottle of champagne that was open, but hardly drunk. Well, there was no way we were letting that go to waste- so we looked to making a sparkler. Normally we enjoy champagne cocktails with a dash of brandy, or the bitters-heavy Seelbach. But since we needed anise, we looked to Peychaud’s bitters (cherry and anise flavors) and immediately thought of the Sazerac. A sparking version wasn’t far behind.
Normally a sparkling Sazerac would be called a “Sazerac Royale”, but we made a few changes to spruce things up and call it the Royal Sazerac. We added 4 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters and 2 dashes of Angostura (using two bitters is a nod to the Seelbach). We also added a bit more Absinthe, and less rye than one might expect. What you get is a delightful mix of the champagne with the spice notes of the rye and Angostura and then the fruit and anise of the Peychaud’s and absinthe. Topped with a lemon twist, this drink looks, smells and tastes great. Lots of flavors, but all in harmony. So while the anise is a support element, it does make the drink.
So thanks to Nick for hosting and to Fred at Cocktail
Virgin Slut for keeping the party rolling. Merry Christmas.
- 1 cube (or 1/2 teaspoon) Demerara sugar
- 3/4 oz. rye whiskey
- 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 3 dashes absinthe (or pastis)
- 5 oz. champagne
- Lemon twist, for garnish
- Add the sugar, rye, bitters and absinthe to a mixing glass. Muddle until the sugar mostly dissolves. Add ice, stir until cold and then strain into a chilled flute.
- Slowly pour the champagne into the glass until full. Add the lemon twist. Serve.
- Anise in Wonderland (shakestrainandsip.com)
- From A to B (drinkstraightup.com)
- Mixology Monday: Anise (drinkstraightup.com)
- A Nise One (drinkstraightup.com)
- MxMo Anise: The Peg Leg Punch (tartinestotikis.wordpress.com)
- Mixology Monday LXXIX Cocktail: Silver And Green (putneyfarm.com)
- MIXOLOGY: Chai Honey Old Fashioned (theartfuldesperado.com)