Brown Baggin’ It
1 1/2 oz Vodka <Tito’s>
3/4 oz lemon simple syrup*
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur <Luxardo>
Stir with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist.
* for lemon syrup, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water, and boil until sugar is dissolved, remove from heat. Soak lemon supremes (wedges will work too) for 30 mins, then remove.
The kitchen isn’t just for making drinks, it’s also for cooking food – something I enjoy equally as much, if not more. Last weekend, those two worlds collided. I’m trying to step up my lunch game, so I made this toasted bulgur salad to take to work during the week (it was delicious). One component was candied lemon wedges, which are nothing more than lemon supremes soaked in simple syrup. They added a wonderful bright sweetness to the salad. After soaking the lemons, the recipe said to “reserve the syrup for another use”. Of course, I read that as “now I have half a cup of lemon simple syrup for cocktails”.
The question remained, how to employ it? I wanted the lemon syrup to play a prominent role, so I chose vodka as the base, hoping not to overwhelm things too much. My mind also drifted towards the Aviation. Ever since my first sip, that combination of lemon and maraschino liqueur has left a huge impression on my taste buds. There was still one thing missing though. Too much fruit and sweetness. Some spiciness (not the hot kind) was in order, and Benedictine had the perfect mix.
The drink ended up tasting kind of like if a Lemon Drop shot and an Aviation had a baby, in the best possible way. The lemon syrup certainly shined. Every few sips the maraschino liqueur would move forward and it would skew towards the Aviation side of things, though somehow simultaneously sweeter and tarter than the original. The Benedictine provided a nice cozy warmth to the drink, and the vodka gave it enough bite to balance all the sweetness.
It’s always fun to have new ingredients in the bar. Even better when they come from food related efforts and get reused in drinks. Just goes to show cocktail inspiration can come from anywhere, even when to avoid the sad desk lunch.