Brandy Crusta

Brandy Crusta

Brandy Crusta

Brandy Crusta

If it seems like a while since we posted a bevvy from Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails it has been. Summer caught us off-guard and we have allowed ourselves the distraction of side-projects and travels. But never fear, we will conquer all the recipes in this book, it is a marathon not a sprint.

The Brandy Crusta is a cocktail we have enjoyed before so we knew we were in for a treat. However the recipe caused some degree of uncertainty. Haigh calls for ½ teaspoon of fresh lemon juice but it is unclear whether it is only to aid in creating the sugar rim or whether the juice should be added to the mix. We researched other Crusta recipes and decided on including the lemon juice.

The mixed concoction is an attractive drink, visually and on the palate. It is balanced and strong but diluted enough by the crushed ice not to burn.

Brandy Crusta Cognac

Brandy Crusta Cognac

The curacao is in the background, offering pleasant hints of orange, while the lemon from the zest and juice takes the lead. The sugar rim keeps the drink from being too tart while allowing a degree of personalization as regards the sweetness level.

D, who likes his drinks on the strong side, would not add the ice cube to the strained drink in the future. For my part I felt the slowly melting ice made this bold drink more approachable with each sip. Both of us agreed that it would be fun to try a variation using an orange twist in place of the lemon to highlight the curacao.

Haigh notes that the Crusta, dating from 1862, is patriarch of the Sidecar and Margarita family. The recipe seems to reflect its heritage, it is simple without being simplistic and austere yet still pleasant. I look forward to recreating this cocktail mid-winter while sitting in front of a roaring fire and watching snow (or in our case rain) fall from the sky. This is the kind of drink that warms your from the inside.

Brandy Crusta

  • 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • sugar
  • 2 ounces cognac
  • 1 teaspoon orange curacao
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Start by rimming a glass with sugar by first dipping the lip in lemon juice and then sugar. Next, using a vegetable peeler remove a large swath of zest from the lemon. Line the interior of the glass with the zest. Add remaining ingredients to a shaker of crushed ice and shake until frosty. Strain into your prepared glass. If desired add one small cube of ice to the completed drink.

Brandy Crusta Ingredients

Brandy Crusta Ingredients

Two Delightful Swizzles

Two Delightful Swizzles

Having recently made orgeat and falernum for a Mai Tai night we were motivated to try out a couple of recipes using our leftover syrups. This was also an excuse to acquire a swizzle. Not to be confused with plastic swizzle sticks, a swizzle is a small branch with a long handle and a head looking much like a jack from the children’s game of the same name.

Swizzle Stir Stick

Our Swizzle

The swizzle head is inserted into a beverage built over ice and twisted until the outside of the glass becomes frosty. It is hardly a necessary bar tool but it is fun and historical and a great conversation starter.

We settled on two swizzle recipes, one using orgeat and the other falernum. The Kona Swizzle, which contains spiced rum, orgeat, lime, mint, and bitters, is an elegant, invigorating beverage. The mint is prominent, as are the spicy notes of the bitters. With the gently creamy texture afforded by the orgeat I was reminded of a mild and quenching chilled chai.

 

The second swizzle recipe decided upon, The Chartreuse Swizzle, has been on my “must make” list ever since I came across it in Jason Wilson’s Boozehound. Of all the drinks we have attempted with orgeat or falernum this was the star. A bright, spicy, sophisticated beverage that offers new flavors with each sip, this drink is a revelation. I have always been a fan of multifaceted Chartreuse and the falernum and pineapple actually intensify its complexity. We served this drink to guests and all were in agreement that it was magnificent. Most likely you will not have all the ingredients for this drink on hand but it is well worth the effort to seek them out. After one taste it has soared onto my all-time favorites list.

As for the swizzle, it was a fun party trick, with our guests taking turns frosting their own beverages. Just because we are old enough to drink doesn’t mean we don’t like to play!

Kona Swizzle:

  • 2 ounces spiced rum (we used Sailor Jerry’s but next time we would make our own)
  • .75 ounces orgeat
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  • 4 sprigs mint
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Build in a Collins glass, gently muddling the mint with a swizzle. Top with crushed ice and swizzle until the outside of the glass is frosty. Garnish with mint and a lime wheel.

(source: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/kona-swizzle)

Chartreuse Swizzle:

Chartreuse Swizzle

Chartreuse Swizzle

  • 1.25 ounces green Chartreuse
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice (fresh is best if you have a juicer!)
  • .75 ounce fresh lime juice
  • .5 ounce falernum

Build the ingredients in a Collins glass. Add crushed ice and swizzle until frosty. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Source: Boozehound by Jason Wilson