Friday, November 4, 2011

Autumn Vineyard Cocktail

Here's the 2011 version of the Autumn Vineyard.  We debuted this cocktail last fall at the WCYC.  Last years version called for your typical red seedless grape found in most grocery stores, and rosemary for the herbal element.  This year we're using the larger, blue-black Glenora grapes, fresh sage, and a rinse of Absinthe for a slightly different flavor profile.

5 to 6 Glenora grapes (tastes like a cross between a blueberry and a black grape; medium sweet, slightly spiced flavor, very crisp.)
.5 oz. Local honey syrup (equal parts local honey and warm water)
3 large sage leaves
Muddle well
.75 oz. Sauvingon Blanc wine (grassy, herbaceous style)
.75 oz. fresh lemon juice
1.5 oz. London Dry Gin
Shake well with ice
Fine-strain into a chilled cocktail glass that has been rinsed with Absinthe
Garnish with a slapped sage leaf (giving herbs a good slap helps release their oils & aroma), and a skewered grape balanced on the edge of the glass

We always like to feature a few "off-menu" versions of certain original cocktails from our lists.  They usually involve steps or techniques that take a little more time to execute and could slow things down on a busy night, but they're unique variations that our bartenders and servers can verbalize to interested guests when time permits.  My current favorite is a twist on the Autumn Vineyard, and it involves fire...basically "flambeing" the grapes and sage.

Cover 5 to 6 grapes and 3 sage leaves with .5 oz. Green Chartreuse in bottom of  a mixing glass

Ignite it with a long match

Using a pressurized mister bottle filled with a mixture of Peychaud Bitters and more Green Chartreuse, scorch and flambe the grapes and sage for 20 seconds, using the mister bottle and the liquid in it to keep the flame going

To extinguish the flame, pour in .75 oz. lemon juice

Let sit for a few seconds, and then muddle well

.5 oz.  local honey syrup (Omit the Sauvingon Blanc wine in this version)

1.5 oz. London Dry Gin

Add ice

Shake and fine-strain into a chilled Coupe glass

Garnish:  Lemon Twist (cut over the top of drink so the oils from the lemon peel coats the surface of the cocktail) with a skewered grape balanced on edge of glass

This version is quite herbaceous (I love you Green Chartreuse!), with this wonderfully savory, "scorched" flavor from the flambeed sage and grapes that plays really well with the local honey, fresh lemon juice, and the botanicals in the ginAnd the really great thing?  This cocktail is really quite light.  Great way to start off a meal, and then move into some nice wine or food-friendly beer.


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