Skankin’ and Drankin’


1 1/2 oz Gin <Boodles>
1 oz Amaro Montenegro
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
1 barspoon (~1/8 oz) Apricot Liqueur <Rothman and Winter>
Lemon-Ginger Bitters <Hella Bitters>

Stir with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with half a dried apricot.

When I’m out at bars and restaurants, I try to order things I can’t actually make at home. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for an expertly made Perfect Manhattan or Last Word.  But discovering new flavors is one of my favorite parts of bellying up to a bar. After a few successful encounters out in the wild, I’ll hone in on a particular bottle and bring it home.  That’s where the real fun begins.  If things go well, I may have a new staple on my hands (looking at you Benedictine and Becherovka).  Other times, the getting-to-know-you period can be a bit more challenging, as I discovered when I finally purchased a bottle of apricot liqueur.

I thought this would be a home run.  I mean, there’s a good chance you could walk into our house any day of the week and find dried apricots in the cabinet next to the chips and crackers.  Plus, it’s such a different flavor from anything else in my bar, I imagined exploring strange new regions of my palate.  Alas, it quickly set in that this spirit required a delicate touch.  Every drink I tried to make with it seemed just a little too…apricoty.

Discouraged by off-the-cuff experimentation, I turned back to the pros for some ideas. Flipping through cocktail books or surfing websites is a good way to see what flavor combinations and proportions worked best.  After some successful recreations, my mind switched gears and I scanned the recipes looking for substitution opportunities. That’s when I landed on the Pressure Drop from the Death & Co cocktail book.

Sure, Old Tom gin, amaro and vermouth were intriguing enough, but it was really the pear eau de vie that made a blip on my radar.  Seemed like the perfect chance to swap in the apricot liqueur.  Knowing this bottle tends to bring a lot of sweetness to the glass, I decided to balance things out with more floral notes from a classic dry gin and Amaro Montenegro.

Stone fruits and flowers.  On the nose and through the sip, there was a constant interplay between these two flavors.  A richness from the apricot liqueur bolstered the main components, and the lemon ginger bitters added a subtle spicy kick.  I’m still amazed at how far a little apricot liqueur will go.

I don’t know if the Pressure Drop name is a reference to the Toots and the Maytals song, but I decided to treat it as such when naming my drink.  I was lucky enough to see him in my early twenties.  My friend and I were front row at the Surf Club down the Jersey shore, and we even pounded up with him a few times as we bounced up and down to the frantic ska rhythms.  Another classic Toots song for the name seemed only natural given the recipe that inspired me.


2 thoughts on “Skankin’ and Drankin’

  1. garnishgirl September 15, 2016 / 8:10 pm

    I still don’t have a bottle of apricot liqueur, but I’ve tried to squeak by using apricot preserves. Two cocktails I’ve really enjoyed are the Charles Lindbergh and the Flor de Jerez.


    • Adam September 18, 2016 / 11:31 pm

      It’s tricky stuff but worth the purchase. I like your resourcefulness though. Definitely gonna try the Charles Lindbergh, thanks for the tip.


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