Monday 19 March 2012

Maraschino March: "Cherry Bob-omb" from Veneto

We head north again for the next two original cocktails, both of which use a lot more Maraschino than you'd expect, or probably have ever seen. First, is the "Cherry Bob-omb" (which I'm told is a Scott Pilgrim reference) from Simon Ogden at Veneto in Victoria. (You can see my review here).
Simon, head bartender at Veneto, is also a founding member and writer for the Lyric Stage Project (a collective of artists involved in theatre), spends much of his time not behind the bar on or around a theatre stage, and contributes as well to local publications and websites discussing drink in B.C. (such as Urban Diner). You can check out his personal blog here.
His influence is felt here in Vancouver as well, where you can go to the Clough Club (one of my favourite new cocktail bars) and order both his creation from Veneto "The Wax Poetic" (with bourbon, grapefruit, agave, lemon, Peychaud's, egg white, and flamed grapefruit peel), and "The Ogden" (bourbon, maple syrup, absinthe, menthe pastille, and flamed orange). The latter was created by Jay Jones, a director on the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association, and recently named the 2012 Canadian Bartender of the Year (you can find him at Market in the Shangri-la Hotel in downtown Vancouver).
Simon is one of many reasons why Veneto is such a great place, and to reiterate my review, I encourage anyone in Victoria to head down there as soon as possible if you enjoy well-crafted cocktails and delicious food.

Simon has created a cocktail specifically for this series that is "built to showcase the Maraschino specifically, and even with the light Tequila at the base, everything frames it nicely." It looks really interesting, and I'm excited to see how everything balances, but this is not one most of us will be able to make at home due to the addition of Guignolet, a cherry liqueur from Angers in France (from the same place and in part the same people who make Cointreau). The solution is simple - get to Veneto and have Simon make you one.

Cherry Bob-omb

1.5 oz El Jimador Blanco Tequila
1 oz Maraschino (I used Luxardo)
1 oz Giffard Guignolet D'Angers
1 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
2 dashes Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters

Stir together ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a flamed grapefruit zest.

A point of interest here as well is the "stir" word showing up in a juice cocktail. I often say "shake anything with juice, cream, or egg - stir everything else," but this is a general rule and is thereby probably meant to be broken (much like shaking a Martini, which is fairly common). 
Simon says: 
"I personally stir most drinks with citrus juice. I think the notion that all citrus drinks should be shaken is a fallacy - citric acid blends just fine with alcohol on its own. It depends a lot on the size of the ice you're using and the other products. For example, syrup and egg white drinks should be shaken, but that's more of a function of aeration rather than dilution. It's my contention that the vast majority of cocktails being served on the planet right now are being served too cold, to the detriment of the component flavours. The shaker is a uniquely effective tool for doing what it's designed to do; it's a sledgehammer, if you will, while a barspoon is a screwdriver. The spoon offers much more control."

A couple thoughts on this. First, he hits the nail (or screws the screw?) on the head by saying that shaking is a function of aeration, as most drinks that are shaken have a particular look and consistency to uphold and thereby should be shaken. Is it actually necessary to shake these drinks? Well, no, I guess not. (But please, PLEASE don't take this too far and stir your egg whites). Secondly, on the subject of drink temperature, this has been the subject of much debate in the past, namely in deciding whether it is "better" to shake or stir a Martini. There were even double-blind tests done, which basically revealed that people prefer colder Martini's, and therefore the better way to make one is to shake it. However, then you lose the pristine look of a stirred one, and some don't like that, etc, etc. I am, however, with Simon one this one (though not in all cases, as this has to be on a drink-to-drink basis as always) in a way because the colder your drink the less aromatic it will be, and in many cases, the less flavour you will get from it. That's why Scotch, or high-end Tequila and whiskey is enjoyed neat, at room temperature - so you can get the most out of the flavour and aroma. Drinking a $100 bottle of Scotch on the rocks is a bit of a waste because you won't be enjoying it to its full potential. However, we're talking about cocktails, not neat spirits, and therefore the goal is to ensure that the flavours mix and balance through chilling and diluting the ingredients, and a warm cocktail is a very different experience than a cold one (though now Russell Davis has got me very intrigued - check this out).
Either way, this is a debate for another post, so I will continue it there. 
Stirring is how Simon designed the cocktail, so that's how it should be made, damn it! 

Russell Davis from Rickhouse mixed his drink without even using ice, Simon stirs his cocktail with juice while using a full ounce of Maraschino, and next post we'll see Graham Racich from The Refinery use a full ounce and a half (!) of Maraschino by making it the base for his cocktail. 

Thanks to Simon and Veneto for this contribution!

[[ if you're interested in drink-temperature science, check this out ]]

[[ see "Oden's Muse" from Tavern Law here ]]
[[ see "The Hemingway Solution" from Vessel here ]]
[[ see the Maraschino March introduction here ]]
[[ see "The Division Bell" from Mayahuel here ]]
[[ see "The Shibuya Crusta" from L'Abattoir here ]]
[[ see "The Unforgiven" from Russell Davis at Rickhouse here ]]
[[ see "Primer Beso" from The Refinery here ]]
[[ see "The Rubicon" from Jamie Boudreau at Canon here ]]

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