Thursday 26 April 2012

Amaro April: "Foolish Games" from Russell Davis

So I'm really excited about this one. We're heading back to the left coast to visit the very friendly and extremely creative Russell Davis from Rickhouse and The Ice Cream Bar. To catch up if you weren't around last month, take a look at "The Unforgiven" cocktail from Maraschino March..
When I asked Russell for an Averna cocktail his response was "I'm gonna do a Averna soda fountain style drink for you," which seriously had me itching to see what he was going to do. He didn't disappoint as this is an actual, traditional soda-fountain drink... with Averna. Unfortunately, this does mean that the majority of us won't be able to make it at home, but if you're in San Francisco, head to The Ice Cream Bar and try some actual house-made sodas, and perhaps if Russell is there, the possibility of getting this drink might exist. (I'll be looking into this and updating the post when I get more information).
For more information on soda fountain history, you can see a little bit on my aforementioned post, but you should definitely head to Darcy O'Neil's "Art of Drink" website and furthermore get his book, "Fix The Pumps."

Looking at instructions on how to make the drink, there are a few things that are quite foreign to me, so here's a little information up front (which I am borrowing from a couple sources, but mainly Art of Drink):

Extinct Acid Phosphate - a partially neutralized solution made with calcium, magnesium, and potassium salts. "Phosphated Soda" was a very popular drink in soda bars until it disappeared in the 1950's, but now that acid phosphate has become available again, it will make tasting a lot of old, forgotten sodas possible. I have actually tasted it (at Darcy's "Science of Taste" presentation at the Art of the Cocktail festival) and it has a faint, sour flavour, and being acid makes your tongue tingle. According to O'Neil, "the tongue-tingling sensation and dry tart flavour are what make it distinct from other soda acids, like citric acid."
If you have the means to make soda, you can buy the phospate here.

Soda Fountain Syrup - a potent sugar syrup that is used to flavour soda (potent because of how much dilution occurs when using it). I am still looking into where to find the Turbinado one, or if Russell makes it himself, and will again update the post when I find out.

Fine and Coarse Stream Soda - Having a soda machine allows you to dispense soda water at a cooled temperature at two different settings - coarse, for the body or fizz of the actual drink, and fine stream, for the foam or head added at the end.

For Russell's drink, the preparation is more intensive than you may be used to, since it's not just a cocktail, and this should hopefully give you more respect for the process of making traditional soda. Averna does have some chocolate and caramel flavour to it, so mixing it with a cocoa flavour will really bring that out. Making extracts for lemon and vanilla is not difficult, but if you choose to buy one, make sure you get actual extracts and not the artificial ones at Safeway that only taste faintly like the real thing. A final note to any who don't know, star anise is an herb with a similar flavour and aroma to licorice, and you can easily pick up at most grocery stores and markets. As a garnish it adds a nice final touch to a lot of drinks, particularly hot ones during the winter.

Ready? Ok here we go...

Foolish Games

• 1 teaspoon extinct acid phosphate
• 1 oz Averna
• 1 oz Homemade Intense chocolate syrup
• Fill Soda
• Star Anise

Build in a 10-12 oz parfait or Collins glass that has been chilled in a deep freezer:
1. Fill glass 2/3 with soda (coarse stream)
2. Add acid phosphate
3. Add chocolate syrup and Averna, stir
4. Top with soda (fine stream)
5. Garnish Star Anise

Homemade Intense Chocolate Syrup 

• 750 ml Turbinado Fountain Syrup 
• 70g cocoa powder (Scharffenberger) 
• 1tsp house-made vanilla extract 
• 5 drops lemon extract 
• 1 cinnamon stick (Vietnamese)

1. Thoroughly blend Turbinado Fountain syrup and Coco powder until smooth consistency is achieved
2. Heat on stove until edges begin to boil
3. Add cinnamon
4. Continue to heat until syrup reaches a rolling boil
5. Immediately cut heat and add vanilla and lemon extracts
6. Allow to cool to room temp uncovered before placing in fridge

Once again Russell has contributed one of the most interesting concoctions of the month, and hopefully something that will inspire either preexisting soda-makers, or people to start making soda!
A big thank you to Russell for this, and to Darcy for his book and wealth of information.

[[ See my post on amaro digestivos here ]]
[[ See my post on amaro aperivos here ]]
[[ See a buying guide for amaro here ]]

[[ See "The One Hit Wonder" from L'abattoir in Vancouver here ]]
[[ See "The Penny Farthing" from Pourhouse here ]]
[[ See an introduction to amaro  here ]]
[[ See "The Imperial Eagle" from Bourbon & Branch here ]]
[[ See "Sevilla" from Beretta here ]]
[[ See "Fallow Grave" from the Toronto Temperance Society here ]]
[[ See "The Black Prince" from Phil Ward here ]]
[[ See "Bad Apple" and "Jackson Ward" from Amor y Amargo here ]]
[[ See "The Four Horsemen" from Jay Jones at Shangri-La here ]]
[[ See Colin MacDougall from Blue Water Cafe here ]]
[[ See "Debbie Don't" from Dutch Kills here ]]
[[ See "Welcome to the Dark Side" from Cin Cin here ]]
[[ See "Intro To Aperol" from Audrey Saunders at Pegu Club here ]] 

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