Mixology Monday CVII: Infuse It or Lose It

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1 1/2 oz Vanilla-Date infused Old Grand Dad 114
1 1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
1 barspoon (~1/8 oz) Cointreau

Stir with ice, strain into rocks glass with ice, garnish with a date slice.


Hosting this month’s Mixology Monday is Dagreb of Nihil Utopia.  His theme is Burden of Proof, and I’ll let him expound upon it:

My theme this time is overproof. Or rather how you utilize overproofs.  Do you sub them into your standards? Save them for accents in particular recipes? Pour them into ceramic volcanoes and set them on fire? Reserve them only for making liqueres? Whatever it be I’m looking for your recipes that use overproofs as base or as modifier…

Dagreb goes on to stipulate that for the purposes of this MxMo, overproof shall be booze at 51% abv or greater.

Now, it just so happens I’ve had my eye on a bottle of Old Granddad 114 for a few months now at my local liquor store.  The price ($22) was ever so tempting, but for some reason I hadn’t yet pulled the trigger.  So thank you, Dagreb, for finally giving me a reason to make this impulse purchase.

With the OG in hand, the next question was what to do with it.  I’ve thought about doing an infusion of some sort for a while.  Overproof spirits are particularly well suited for such projects as their higher alcohol content is better at extracting flavors.  Now I’m on to something.  Dried fruits immediately came to mind.  Besides being delicious, they can can become fast friends with brown spirits, as some of those flavors are in the bottle already.  Digging into my pantry I came across some dates, which should do just fine.  I also threw a little vanilla in there.  The Granddad 114 is rather ornery on its own, so maybe the vanilla can smooth things out a little.

Then I decided to add some variety (read: hedge my bets) and split the bottle into two separate infusions.  For the other half, I simply toasted some walnuts in a pan, gave them a rough chop and dumped them in.


Then I let everything sit, checking on them every few days.  The date/vanilla batch reached its happy place in a little less than a week, while the walnuts took about two weeks.  The former definitely had a syrupy quality to it, in a good way, no doubt from the dates.  And the vanilla did its job and lifted everything up to a slightly softer place.  Don’t get me wrong though, Grand Dad still let you know who’s boss.  The walnut batch had a deeper, subtler flavor.  However, for this MxMo, I’ll focus on the date/vanilla version.  Stay tuned to see what’s in store for the nut bourbon.

Crafting a drink with this new date and vanilla concoction would be tricky.  I didn’t want the overproof to dominate everything.  But I also wanted to showcase the new additions.  Keeping things simple felt like the way to go, so I tried to limit the number of bottles used.  As luck would have it, I’ve been in a bit of a Martinez mood lately, and few drinks get simpler than that. Since I’m starting with bourbon, why not just invert the formula?  Instead of a clear base and sweet aperitif wine, I enlisted a drier aperitif wine to compliment the syrupy date-vanilla bourbon.  A bit of Cointreau brought everything home, like an Uber driver who has a citrus air freshener hanging from his rear view mirror.

The Cocchi proved to be a fantastic foil for the infused Grand Dad.  Not only did it balance out the infused sweetness, but it also kept the boozy bite in check.  As an added bonus, all the botanicals and spices highlighted the vanilla in the bourbon.  I figured citrusy Cointreau would work well with the date flavors, but it also seemed to pull out some citrus from the Cocchi too.  As the drink sat in the glass, Grand Dad started to show his teeth again as the booze came back to the front.  Surprising since there was more water getting in from the melting ice, but welcomed nonetheless.  And after the date garnish sat in the drink to the last sip, it was hands down one of the tastiest garnishes I’ve ever had.

My new Grand Dad’s coming out party was a great time.  I can’t wait to see what other adventures we embark on in the future.  The wheels are already turning after this one; split base drinks, fully inverted recipes, classic applications are all on the table.  Thanks again to Dagreb for picking a great theme.

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