Well, Hurricane Earl has done come and gone and the only setback I really suffered was a night off from work (oh no!) and no power to work on this post. It seems the boys from WAPA have gotten over their fear of the rain and repaired our feeder, so I reckon I don’t have an excuse not to get this done.
My first ever Mixology Monday entry:
The Spirit Tree
Lindsay from Lush Life is hosting this months party over at her aptly named blog Brown, Bitter & Stirred and while her theme choice Brown, Bitter & Stirred may be a rallying cry for most stateside bartenders, it’s not quite cause célèbre down here. My goal this month was to work within the BB&S parameters, but throw a Caribbean curve.
My entry, The Spirit Tree, is a play off of the classic Perfect Manhattan. Typically, 2 parts Bourbon to equal 1/2 parts sweet & dry vermouth, I chose to keep those same classic proportions and build off them.
I started with 2 oz of Bulleit Bourbon. Fair shake, easy to procure and tasty to boot.
Next, I substituted the sweet vermouth with the bitter digestif Cynar. It’s an Italian artichoke based liqueur from the Campari family.
So with Brown & Bitter down, my last goal was to even the cocktail out with Caribbean flair, luckily the answer I was looking for was at the end of my driveway.
Tamarind trees are not native to the Caribbean, but having been successfully propagated here from Africa, they have taken root as a traditional component to much West Indian cooking. They are commonly referred to as “Spirit Trees” and local superstition says that it’s bad luck to fall asleep under the Tamarind Tree for if you remain under one after sunset, “de spirits deh gon fallah you!”
I took five tamarind pods and broke open the shells, exposing the viscous, sinewy textured fruit within. I soaked these seeds in dry vermouth for 24 hours, then strained it through a chinois to get out the debris and pulp, leaving me with a Tamarind infused Vermouth. The vermouth adopted the best parts of the tamarind rather well. It tastes a little sweet and a little sour with a long residual finish that matches up well with the Cynar but doesn’t overpower the Bulleit.
Keeping the same 2 x 1/2 x 1/2 proportions didn’t quite taste right, so I upped the Tamarind vermouth to a full ounce and found a much better balance.
Try this at home!
2 oz Bulleit Bourbon
1 oz Tamarind infused Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Cynar
Combine over ice, STIR, and strain into a cocktail coupe.
Garnish with a Tamarind seed.