Tag Archives: Aztec chocolate bitters

Zapatero

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Sometimes, it’s the little things that matter, like a stone in your shoe or that damn fly that won’t stop buzzing around your face while you’re sweating through a hangover on a hot summer’s day (hint: have a hair of the dog. It won’t deter the fly but it will make you feel better). In the case of the Zapatero cocktail, the little things are the smallest amounts of ingredients – two kinds of bitters and a pinch of top-notch cinnamon – that pack the biggest flavour-punch and pull the drink’s disparate ingredients together into a cohesive, delicious whole. In terms of flavour, it’s a bit like a complex, layered dessert; there’s a hint of baked goods and a note of the heady tropics rounded out by an earthy smokiness and the feeling that you probably shouldn’t be indulging in something quite so decadent on a weekday but to hell with it, you’re going to. If you’re in that mood (and really, who isn’t?), here’s the recipe.

INGREDIENTS

45ml mezcal

15ml bourbon

2 barspoons orgeat

1 dash Angostura Bitters

1 dash Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters

GLASS

Old-fashioned glass or tumbler

METHOD

Half-fill a mixing glass with ice. Add all ingredients and stir until mixture is ice-cold.

Strain into an old-fashioned glass that’s half-full of ice.

Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a orange twist.

RECIPE BY

This one’s from our good friends at Liquor.com.

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The Bitter Mandarin

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It probably says a lot about me that in the dead of winter I still have a bottle of uni-student-budget-friendly Moscato handy.

Yep, it says that I am prepared for any drink-making eventuality, including the one where I make a really bitter drink by accident and realise it can only be saved by something sweet and fizzy. Never mind that it also says I am so disorganised that I totally forgot to drink all the Moscato in summer (when it would have been added to a shot of peach or apricot nectar in a cheap imitation of a Bellini) because it was buried beneath all the bottles of gin.

Anyway, it proved useful today when I was craving something citrus-y and had a few mandarines and some Cointreau Noir hanging around (as you do).

Side note: just as you say tomato and I say Bloody Mary, some people say mandarines and some people say mandarins. In reference to the fruit, I’ve always said mandarines, while 52 Cocktails’ CTO (Cocktail Tasting Officer) has always said mandarin. To me, a mandarin is a Chinese bureaucrat, or a type of collar on typical Chinese clothing, or a reference to the Mandarin Chinese language, while a mandarine is smallish orange-coloured citrus fruit with a thin, easy-to-peel skin, a refreshing fragrance and segmented, juicy innards. And since I am in charge of this write-up and the CTO isn’t, well, what I say goes. So if I say mandarine I mean the fruit, and if I say mandarin I mean, well, mandarin.

So, as I was saying, I had some ingredients on hand and combined them, and the result is the Bitter Mandarin.

Yes, Mandarin. Because this drink is quite bitter, and contains mandarines, and so it seemed logical enough to call it the Bitter Mandarine but more catchy to call it the Bitter Mandarin so people drinking it would think of some cross bureaucrat drinking the concoction after a long day full of red tape and a lack of stationery. Really, a bitter Mandarin would be much like a modern-day office worker but in better clothes. Or it would be like this:

THE BITTER MANDARIN

INGREDIENTS

2 small mandarines

1 sugar cube

2-3 dashes Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters (if you are in Australia, they are available here: http://www.onlybitters.com/fee-brothers/)

60ml Cointreau Noir

Moscato, to top up

GLASS

Martini/cocktail glass

METHOD

Feeling bitter? Work pissing you off, bureaucrat? Then chop the mandarines into quarters, chuck em in the glass part of a Boston shaker, add a sugar cube and the bitters and muddle the hell out of them. Add the Cointreau Noir and half-fill with ice. Shake with rage and then double-strain into the glass. (To double strain, fit a hawthorne strainer into the shaker and place a tea strainer over the glass. As you pour through the hawthorne strainer into the tea strainer, you’ll be double-straining. It’s just like when your boss asks you to meet this week’s deadline as well as next week’s, but needs everything done yesterday… a LOT of straining.) Top with Moscato (you might need quite a lot to sweeten it to your liking.)

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

Ah, the stress relief that comes with bashing the sh*t out of a helpless piece of fruit – er, I mean, this one’s easy.

RECIPE BY

This one was invented by 52 Cocktails.

TASTES LIKE

Well, that depends on who you ask. I’d say it tastes bitter (from the mandarine peel, not the bitters themselves), and mandarine-y. A bit like an Asian digestif. The CTO says it’s like a palate-cleansing sorbet and claims, “It’s not bitter at all, but then I’ve been drinking wine all night, so…” We agree that it does not taste like there’s any alcohol involved (which some people might say is the sign of a good cocktail) but suggest you do not serve it to under-18s just in case.

It

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Rye and Prejudice

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After the success of last week’s Brown Derby, the 52 Cocktails team decided to explore what else can be made with grapefruit juice and brown liquor, partly because the combination worked so well in the aforementioned cocktail and mostly because we had bought a shiteload of grapefruits and had no other good ideas about how to use them. (Turns out they do not make a good substitute for bowling balls. Who knew?) And so we turned to a cute little book called Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle (Running Press, 2013). As you might have guessed, each cocktail’s name is a clever word-play on a novel’s title, such as Gin Eyre, Romeo and Julep and A Rum of One’s Own. Cute, hey? There’s a snappy summary of each novel, too, so you can fudge your way through a conversation about literature’s bigwigs without having to read the classics first. We’ll drink to that. What we probably won’t be drinking to, though, is the recipe for a Rye and Prejudice. Containing only grapefruit juice and rye whiskey, it’s not an Austen-tacious drink, but nor is it a classic; it’s too sour and not nuanced enough for our proud palates. With a couple of modifications (see below) it’s drinkable, but not the kind of thing we’d want to guzzle. Oh well – if we don’t drink many of them, at least we won’t end up with a rip-roaring Northangover Abbey.

RYE AND PREJUDICE

This is a little like one of Pride and Prejudice’s most irritating characters, the busybody Mrs Bennet: sour and boring. See the notes below for how to pep it up a bit.

INGREDIENTS

90ml grapefruit juice

45ml rye whiskey (we used Wild Turkey)

GLASS

Rocks

METHOD

Half-fill a rocks glass with ice. Add ingredients and stir well.

MODIFICATIONS

Ooh, is this drink sour. Unless you feel like re-enacting Pride and Puckeredlips, we suggest you modify it by adding 15 ml sugar syrup and 3 dashes Fee Brothers Aztec chocolate bitters (available here). It’s sweeter, and the bitters add some earthy depth and interest to the drink. I guess we’ll call it Emma.

You could also try Emma served tall on crushed ice, topped with soda, though we confess we haven’t tried it that way yet – it might take some Persuasion for us to waste good rye on such an experiment.

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY

You don’t need much sense or sensibility to make this one.

RECIPE BY

This recipe appears in Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle (Running Press, 2013). Modifications by 52 Cocktails.

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