Time for another Mixology Monday! (We know it’s Friday, we like to be early.) This month’s online cocktail party theme is “Garnish Grandiloquence” and our host is Joseph at Measure + Stir, one of the most innovative cocktail blogs out there (and one of our favorites). Here are the details:
I’m always shocked by the way that an orange peel or a lemon peel can transform the experience of drinking a mixed drink from something mundane to something magical. In a similar vein, eating the olive in a martini will totally transform the imbiber’s perception of the drink. So this Mixology Monday, let’s really make a study of art of the garnish, by mixing up drinks where the garnish plays a central role in the experience of the drink. Of course, you don’t have to make a latticework out of orange peels, a pirate ship out of citrus, or a ferris wheel out of pineapple and squash, but it sure would warm my heart. This type of garnish is traditionally in the realm of tiki, but you could mix anything, so long as the garnish is the star of the show.
Very cool, but a bit of a challenge, as we tend to keep our garnishes simple. But part of the reason we blog is to constantly improve our skills, so we got to work. Happily, we had an easy subject to work with, the San Francisco Giants’ second world series win in the last three years. As die-hard fans there was no question we would create a cocktail to celebrate. And our friend Sonja even gave us Giants cocktail umbrellas. Well, now we had one garnish, but motivated by Joseph’s Gourd Vibrations we decided to make the “glass” a garnish as well. And since the Giants are all about orange and black, we decided to use a hollowed orange with the SF logo and include a black (or very dark brown) cocktail. And after going through a bunch of oranges, we got our cocktail and named it after McCovey Cove, the body of water outside the Giant’s ballpark (knick-named after Giants’ Hall of Fame player Willie McCovey). Buster Posey was just named MVP, so we almost named the cocktail after him, but he doesn’t seem like the drinking type….
As for the actual cocktail, the McCovey Cove is our adaptation of a Port Antonio, a tiki drink with gold and dark rum, lime juice, coffee liqueur and falernum. The Port Antonio is a good tiki drink that uses the coffee to add some aroma and slight bitter notes to cut through the sweetness of the rum and falernum, a “grown-up” tiki drink. We wanted to go even more “coffee-forward” and developed the McCovey Cove. The McCovey Cove has aged Jamaican rum, high-proof coffee liqueur, Cherry Heering, lemon juice, allspice liqueur and a big orange twist (or hollowed orange) as a garnish. The McCovey Cove features a full orange oil and spice aroma followed by strong coffee and vanilla flavors backed up by the fruit of the Heering and the spice notes of the allspice liqueur. The lemon juice provides a backbone of citrus and acidity to keep the overall flavors bright and refreshing.
A few notes on ingredients. We use Kahlua Especial, a 70-proof version of Kahlua in this recipe, we prefer the flavor and extra spirits. Most high-proof coffee liqueurs should work, but they vary in coffee flavor, so be ready to tune the recipe. As for the allspice liqueur (also known as pimento dram), it is a useful tiki ingredient featuring a full blast of holiday spices that are a great foil for sweet rum and citrus. St. Elizabeth makes a commercial version, but Alicia at Boozed and Infused has an excellent DIY recipe here. In a pinch, you can sub tiki bitters or Angostura for the allspice liqueur. Finally, Cherry Heering is one of the best cherry liqueurs and a worthy addition to any bar. Heering works equally well with gin, whiskeys and rum- go get some!
Our thanks to Joseph for hosting this month’s MXMO and Fred Yarm at Cocktail
Virgin Slut for managing the whole enterprise. It was great fun, as always. And we managed to slaughter only a “few” oranges making the McCovey Cove…but we think their “sacrifice” was worth it!
The McCovey Cove:
- 1 oz. Aged Jamaican rum (Appleton 12 year-old)
- 3/4 oz. Coffee liqueur (Kahlua Especial)
- 3/4 oz. Cherry Heering
- 1/3 oz. Fresh lemon juice
- 2 Dashes allspice liqueur (St. Elizabeth’s allspice dram)
- 1 Large navel orange (or a big orange twist)
- Cocktail umbrellas
- Carve a design into the orange using a channel or paring knife, if you like. Position the carving on the bottom two-thirds of the orange.
- To hollow the orange, cut off just enough of the bottom rind of the orange to create a stable base, but don’t pierce the inner flesh. Then cut off the top third of the orange and carefully cut or scoop out the orange flesh (reserve for juice). A grapefruit knife is a helpful tool. Set aside.
- Combine the rum, coffee liqueur, Heering, lemon juice and allspice liqueur in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until very cold and strain into the hollowed orange filled with fresh ice. Garnish with cocktail umbrellas and add a straw. Serve.
- Mixology Monday Announcement: Garnish Grandiloquence (measureandstir.com)
- Cocktail DIY: Stocking Your Bar At Home (putneyfarm.com)
- Mixology Monday: Bein’ Green Cocktails (putneyfarm.com)
- Mixology Monday: The House of Bourbon Sour (theliquidcultureproject.com)
- The Temperate Zone Cocktail (theliquidcultureproject.com)