Thoroughly Polite Dustup
1 oz Apple Brandy
1 oz Bourbon
3/4 oz Ginger Liqueur <King’s Ginger>
1/4 oz Rich Demerara Syrup
Few dashes Apple Bitters
Combine ingredients with ice, stir, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with candied ginger crown.
One of the things that led me to start this blog was all the other great cocktail blogs out there. After enough reading, I was inspired to start making my own drinks at home. So it’s very exciting that this week I’m doing a collaboration post with a fellow blogger-in-arms, Katie over at Garnish Girl. Even better, she also lives in Boston, so we could meet in person. That affords us certain luxuries, such as the ability to exchange hard goods. In this case, that would be bottles. We each picked one, made the handoff, and then came up with drinks for said bottles.
A bottle swap is a great way to try a spirit without fully committing, especially if you know it will take years to get through that bottle of Sloe Gin. Or maybe there’s a bottle you really want to try but can’t bring yourself to plunk down $60+ (Chartreuse and Single Malt Scotch, looking in your direction). Whatever your reasons, there’s no better way to expand your liquid horizons than splitting some bottles. I’ve done it with friends a few times in the past, trading Cynar, Genever (now a staple), and Yellow Chartreuse to name a few.
This time around, we’re swapping King’s Ginger ginger liqueur and Ancho Reyes chile liqueur. I am so excited for these because there is nothing else in my bar that comes close to either of those flavors (no matter how much muddled ginger or hot sauce I add to a drink). I was immediately drawn to the King’s Ginger, mostly for its “history”. On the bottle, they claim it was created “to stimulate and revivify His Majesty [King Edward VII] during his morning rides in his new horseless carriage – a Daimler”. That is some top notch marketing right there.
When it came time to hit the lab (read: my kitchen), the most important tool I used was my copy of the Flavor Bible. I’ve mentioned this book before, but it’s worth reiterating how useful it is for cocktails (and cooking, natch). It’s a huge book that lists a ton of ingredients and their flavor affinities. An invaluable resource when a unique bottle comes into my bar. Let’s start with the ginger liqueur (we’ll cover Ancho Reyes next week).
Flipping to the ginger page, I was somewhat surprised to see apples in bold. This means these two go very well together. What’s more, I recently made my own apple bitters and have been looking for ways to use them…perfect! My first thought was an apple brandy base, but then I was worried I’d over do it with that and the bitters. So I decided on a split base, with bourbon carrying the rest of the load. Still needed some sweetness though. As it happened, I had to make a 2:1 demerara syrup for the aforementioned bitters, and had plenty leftover. Its caramel notes would fit perfect with all the apples in there, and round off any sharp corners from the ginger.
The nose smells like your car after a day of apple picking, with some warm cinnamon undertones from the bitters. Things don’t go full apple on the sip though, as the bourbon provides a toffee like buffer between the brandy and bitters. This lets the spiciness of the ginger cut through when it first hits the tongue. Body leans toward silky from the demerara and King’s Ginger, which is on the thicker side itself. Everything melds on the swallow, and prickling ginger and cinnamon on the way down is sure to revivify anyone from even the deepest stupor.
The name is a reference to the fake British WW1 movie mentioned in an episode of Arrested Development. There is a line about apples somewhere in there, and this drink has apples, and Great Britain is a monarchy, and, well…..oh who am I kidding. The truth of the matter is I keep a list of potential cocktail names on my phone. Recently I did a tally and it was close to 50, so it’s time to start using them. I didn’t remember them saying anything about apples until I grabbed the link for this post.
Anyway, thanks again to Katie for getting some more bottles in to my bar, and for taking on this mini cocktail challenge. Be sure to check out how she used the King’s Ginger in her Moscow Martini. Can’t wait to see what else this bottle has in store. And don’t forget to tune in next week to see what we do with the Ancho Reyes!