WCYC earlier this week. It was a fun night! Lot's of energy and excitement, and some really great cocktails from nine East Bay bartenders. I was really proud to have my Jardin au Verre cocktail take 2nd place, and to see all of the creativity and passion on display from the other bartenders in attendance.
Jardin au Verre (Garden to Glass)
- 1 small Friar plum, cut into smaller slices, pit removed*
- 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
- Muddle very well in bottom of mixing glass
- 1 oz. Rye Whiskey
- 1.5 oz. Grand Marnier
- Dash of Angostura bitters (Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters and Baked Apple Bitters work nicely too, so feel free to substitute one of those)
- Shake very well with ice
- Fine-strain into a chilled cocktail glass
- Garnish with a fresh sage leaf placed in center of the drink for aromatic effect, and a plum wedge cut into the shape of a triangle & attached to the rim of the glass (to enjoy after finishing the cocktail)
Sip, savor, and enjoy the flavors of fresh, local plum and Grand Marnier orange liqueur, with a little help from spicy rye whiskey and aromatic bitters. The plum and fresh lemon juice make for a tart yet balanced cocktail that incorporates ingredients from the local summer garden (which then ends up directly in your cocktail glass).
* I used locally grown Friar plums. They have a very firm, black skin and a pale, yellowish flesh on the inside. They create a crisp, balanced cocktail with a orange hue. Local, organic black plums work too. I've learned how difficult it can be to get the Friar plums from our produce guy on a regular basis, so we're now making this cocktail with a different varietal of black plum. It's not quite the same, but it works. The size of the plums we've been getting have varied greatly as well. The recipe calls for one small plum. If the plums are on the larger side, use a smaller amount. Stay away from Santa Rosa and other "red" plum varietals. While delicious on their own, these plums have a soft red skin, bright purple flesh, and lend a much different, unwanted flavor component to the completed drink.
This is a tart, tart cocktail, especially if the plums are not super ripe. If you'd like to sweeten the drink, you have a few options: a small dash of good 'ol simple syrup, local honey syrup, or even a bar spoon of Apricot Liqueur work quite well.