Lundehund Sour

1 1/2 oz Aquavit [Krogstad]
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Limoncello [Fabrizia]
Few dashes Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit Bitters

Shake ingredients with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with grapefruit twist


This winter, Mrs. Muddle and I were lucky enough to sit at the bar at the Walker Inn for their cocktail omakase style service.  Now, I’m plenty familiar with ordering off menu or surrendering my drink choice to the whims of the bartender, it’s a great way to get a more personalized experience.  But imagine doing that for a whole set of cocktails, all connected by a common theme, where each one is carefully crafted to highlight particular flavors.  That’s what the omakase service at the Walker is all about.  On our visit, the theme for the night was winter citrus.

Drinks included a “wine” made from sherry, citurs distillate, and some other things I can’t remember.  There was also a hot drink with brown butter washed aged rum, apple brandy and kumquat oleo saccarum.  What made this one special is it came with a set of tinctures (star anise, cardamom, and cinnamon) that you added to your drink to taste.  Kind of like a choose your own adventure cocktail.

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The whole thing was an amazing journey, and bartender Jordan Scwhartz was our tour guide.  He explained the ingredients in each drink, and the techniques used to produce the final results.  Part night out drinking, part education.   Technique was on full display in a drink that tasted like an orange creamsicle, in the best possible way.  Silky, foamy, with tons of bright citrus flavor, it was by far the best looking drink of the night.

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The last drink was served in slushy form in the hollowed out shell of a grapefruit half.  But it was the combination of aquavit and grapefruit juice (along with Cocchi Americano) that really stuck with me.  Never had I thought of pairing those two together, but the seed was planted that night and has grown ever since.

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Which leads us to this week’s drink.  Shortly after that trip I jotted down a note in my cocktail journal that simply read “greyhound with aquavit”.  A traditional Greyhound is nothing more than vodka and grapefruit juice, usually with a larger proportion of juice to vodka.  I wanted to do a more refined (read: boozy) version capturing that magical aquavit/grapefruit pairing I had at the Walker.  There was still one component missing.  I knew I wanted to keep things simple to let the other two components shine.  Some sweetness seemed like a good idea, and then I remembered the bottle of Limoncello the good folks at Fabrizia sent me.  This brought some balancing sweetness as well as another citrus angle.

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I looked at the ingredients – I had a base spirit (aquavit), a sour (grapefruit), and a sweet (limoncello).  Sounds like a classic Sour template to me, so I went with the standard 3:2:1 proportions in the drink.  Wow!  This is the sort of cocktail that messes with your head a bit.  Your brain recognizes the Whiskey Sour ratios, but the flavors are completely different.  The nose is all fresh grapefruit and lemon.  Very little spice from the aquavit makes it through.  That’s ok though, cuz the sip is where they shine.  Pepper and caraway bounce around on the tongue.  Deep, savory flavors happily co-mingle with bright and refreshing bursts from the grapefruit.  Anise and citrus form an unorthodox bond on your tastebuds.  Finally everything goes down with a tart, savory finish.

Since this drink started with my initial “greyhound with aquavit” note and ended up being sort of a riff on a sour, I wanted to capture those influences in the name.  I needed a scandinavian dog breed as a way honor both the original cocktail inspiration and the traditional region of the base spirit.  A quick trip to the google machine yielded a few results.  I chose the Lundehund, orignally bred for hunting puffins and their eggs, mostly because I liked the way it sounded the best.

After the first sip of the Lundehund Sour, I was teleported back to the bar at the Walker, reliving that moment when I realized aquavit and grapefruit was a thing.  Now I’m inspired to explore this pairing even more, seeing what other directions I can take it.

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