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Mr. Muddle by Adam (aka Mr. Muddle) - 5d ago

Denouement

3/4 oz Pineapple Rum [Plantation Stiggins Fancy]
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/4 oz Benedictine
3/4 oz lime juice

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

The Last Word.  You can almost consider it the poster child for resurrected classic cocktails.  Manhattans and Martinis never really went away, they just got the care and respect they deserve with the cocktail renaissance.  The Last Word?  Well, nobody even heard of it before it was revived in 2004, and it soon became the darling of the pre-prohibition era drinks.Created in the early 19-teens at the Detroit Athletic Club, the combination of gin, Green Chartreuse, Maraschino Liqueur, and lime juice is both citrusy and spirit forward.   It also has some more unique flavors thanks to the Chartreuse and Maraschino liqueyr. It’s not all that surprising then that it fell out of favor after prohibition, only to be resurrected by Murray Stenson at the Zig Zag Cafe in Seattle in 2004.  It caught on pretty quickly in the burgeoning cocktail revival, and spurred new interest in  (at that point) more esoteric bottles like Chartreuse and Maraschino.  It became a pretty good signifier of a bar’s cocktail cred – if it was on the menu (and well made) you knew you were in the right place.

Even better, the template of equal parts base spirit, herbal liqueur, fruit/sweet liqueur, citrus has endless possibilities.  That’s why my instagram pal Mike @mmydrinks created the #wehavethelastword campaign last year, where he encouraged the drinkstagram community to showcase their own variations on the rediscovered classic.  Needless to say, people were enthusiastic in their participation.  So much so he’s decided to run it back for another week, and here we are.

I started with the middle bits of the template, using Yellow Chartreuse for the herbal liqueur and Benedictine for the sweet.  These two bottles go wonderfully together, now I just had to find the right base spirit.  As I scanned my bar, my eyes fell on the bottle of Stiggins Fancy Pineapple Rum from Plantation.  That’s the one.  There is no way this drink won’t work.

After mixing it up (with lime juice to round it all out), my hunch was proved correct.  Lots of warm spices and molasses on the nose, accentuated by pineapple and herbs.  The sip is strong, yet drinkable.  Pineapple moves to the front and you get more herbaceousness from the chartreuse.  The Benedictine keeps everything very smooth, while the citrus gives a zesty counterpoint of a high note.  The finish is more molasses and pineapple, with the chartreuse and lime lingering at the end.

It’s always fun to play in the Last Word playground.  Sometimes all you need is a good set of constraints to get the creative juices flowing.

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Mr. Muddle by Adam (aka Mr. Muddle) - 1w ago

Wookin’ Pa Nub

1 1/2 oz Buckwheat Whiskey [Catskill Distilling Co]
3/4 oz Ramazzotti
1/2 oz Chile liqueur [Ancho Reyes]
1/4 oz Dry Vermouth [Westport Rivers Winery]
few dashes dry sarsaparilla bitters [Bad Dog Barcraft]

Stir with ice, strain in to a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon butterfly (or a twist will do too)

Guess what?  I love whiskey.  Mostly of the American persuasion – your bourbons, ryes, and whatnot.  I’m always on the lookout for new distilleries or interesting mash bills.  So when I saw the bright yellow label of The One and Only Buckwheat Whiskey from Catskill Distilling Company beckoning, I had to answer its call.

First, let’s go back to whiskey.  My first love, bourbon, has a mash bill of at least 51% corn, rounded out by some combination of rye, wheat, and malted barley (or other grains).  Likewise, rye whiskey has at least 51% rye, with other grains rounding out the bill.  The One and Only is made from a staggering 80%(!) buckwheat, and 20% small grains.  As a result, it’s not really a true whiskey (which is a grain distilled spirit) since buckwheat is technically not a grain. It’s actually a plant with grain like seeds.  But that’s just semantics, cuz this thing looks, tastes, smells, and feels like a whiskey, albeit a very unique one.

Remember that burnt sienna crayon in the crayola box?  That’s what this stuff looks like.  The nose is very earthy, with aromas of leather, char, tobacco, and a hint of sweetness.  Like if you walked into a 19th century parlor where various railroad tycoons discussed business concerns.  In terms of taste, all those flavors carry over, with a bit more smoke and toffee notes.  The mouthfeel is chewy and almost chalky, in a good way.  Truly unlike any other whiskey I’ve had.  At 85 proof, there’s a nice burn on the swallow, with more roastiness coming through.  It’s a great change-up from my normal sipping whiskies, and puts classics like Manhattans and Old Fashioneds in a whole new light.

I didn’t really have much of a plan when I set out to make this week’s drink, outside of knowing the One and Only would be the base spirit.  I knew the other ingredients had to be large personalities as well.  Ramazzotti added some cola and root beer notes, plus bitterness to keep things honest.  I really like using my dry sarsaparilla bitters with that Amaro since the root beer and birch beer flavors come out even more.  Some Ancho Reyes provided a bit of heat, and dry vermouth held all the sweetness in check.

On the nose, musty whiskey notes are complimented by a root beer float aroma.  The chalkiness comes through on the sip, but still plenty of toffee and caramel notes as well. They bring out the sweetness in the sarsaparilla and Ramazzotti. Lots of low notes after every sip, with the ancho spice and bitter amaro providing the counterpoints.  The finish is more wood and whiskey, followed by a dry spice that perks up the tongue and keeps you coming back for more.

This Buckwheat whiskey is really cool stuff.  If you’re a fan of any type of American whiskey, you should grab a bottle.  I bet even Scotch lovers will enjoy it too.  There really isn’t much else like it on the market (hence the name, I guess), and it’s equally good as a sipper on its own or a component in your favorite whiskey cocktail.  As for the name – well, I’ll just let Eddie explain.

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Mr. Muddle by Adam (aka Mr. Muddle) - 2w ago

In-House Counsel

1 1/2 oz Apple Brandy [Short Path Distillery]
1/2 oz Suze
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz St. Germain [St. Elder]
Few dashes Fancy Tony’s barrel aged citrus bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with lemon twist.

A while back while surfing instagram, I tagged a drink called the Kirkwood from Miguel’s @migsology feed (who in turn got it from Nic @ntitz).  Anyway, it was an interesting combo of Rye, Punt e Mes, Cynar, and St. Germain.  Since I didn’t have any Cynar at the time, I broke it down into its parts (base, fortified wine, amaro, sweet liquer) and then built it back up.

I just acquired a bottle of Apple Brandy from Short Path Distillery, so that was my base.  For the Amaro, I wanted something that had a similar savory/vegetal bent to Cynar, but also wanted to bring in some citrus to compliment the apples.  Suze fit the bill nicely, as its woodsy spices are undercut by grapefruit notes.  At this point, I wanted to stay somewhat true to my inspiration, so left the Punt e Mes an St. Germain as is.

When I first made it, I was pleasantly surprised how well these flavors got along, so I captured it in my cocktail journal.  It sat there for a while, not even sure if I made it a second time, until last weekend.  On Friday, I had the pleasure of attending a small event  where I met the Lisa Laird Dunn, VP (and 9th generation Laird!) of Laird and Company.  They have been producing Applejack/Apple Brandy for over 200 years, and Lisa was in Boston to talk about the launch of their newest product, an 86 proof straight Applejack.

We were at Yvonne’s, where the bartenders made 2 different cocktails using the new offering, plus one using the 100 proof Bottled in Bond Apple Brandy.  The Right Hand Woman featured BiB apple brandy,  bourbon, and Suze.  The first sip immediately reminded me how delicious apple brandy and Suze are together, and I couldn’t wait to get home and make my drink with those two spirits.  It was just as good the second time around.

Suze and apples dominate the nose.  Soft melon notes lurk behind.  The sip has even more fruit, as apples and citrus form a tasty alliance.  Bitterness from the suze and punt e mes cuts through, and the only sweetness comes from the St. Germain.  This is a stiff drink for sure, but still very drinkable.  The finish has more bitterness and spice, followed by a final wave of apply goodness.

Its always fun to see an odd pairing I threw together at home show up out in the wild, especially when the drinks are very different, but tasty nonetheless.  If I wasn’t already on the Apple Brandy train after grabbing Short Path’s bottle, an evening with Laird and Co. definitely seals it.  This stuff is now a staple in my bar, and I can’t wait to grab something from Laird’s and do a taste test when my Short Path bottle is almost done.

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Mr. Muddle by Adam (aka Mr. Muddle) - 1M ago

Cruise Ship Magician

2 oz Pisco [Macchu Pisco]
.5 oz House Strawberry Basil Black Peppercorn Shrub
.5 oz Becherovka
Fresh mint

Gently muddle some mint in the bottom of a mixing glass.  Add remaining ingredients, stir with ice, strain into an ice filled rocks glass.  Garnish with mint sprig

One of the more enjoyable parts of home cocktailing is making my own mixers.  Syrups, shrubs, bitters and the like are all fun little projects.  Sometimes, I get a little ahead of myself, and make too many at once.  Well, not really too many – but I’ve been known to have a few random jars scattered throughout the fridge.The positive side of all this is rediscovering something I forgot about.  Take this week for instance – as I was looking for something to drink I spotted a jar of red liquid.  After moving the yogurt, pickles, and milk, I rescued it from it the depths of the shelf and took a look at the label (blue masking tape FTW!).  Strawberry-Basil-Black Peppercorn shrub.

I remember this one, I made it after a berry picking outing with the fam this summer.  Opening it up, I was happy to discover the fresh strawberry scent was still there, and the basil and peppercorns were still detectable.  Next I reached for my journal to see what I captured when this treat first hit my shelves.  Finally I settled on this number, with muddled mint, Pisco and Becherovka.

The Cruise Ship Magician started off with the aroma of herbs combining with the strawberries.  Every sniff yielded a different star, with the mint and strawberries most prominent.  On the sip the sharp grapyness of the Pisco kicked in.  The cinnamon spice and peppery heat followed, only to be rounded out by the strawberries and sugar from the shrub.  The finish was herbaceous and zingy, thanks to the mint, basil, and vinegar.  This drink definitely makes me want the warmer temps to come sooner than later, but I’m not sure I’ll have any shrub left by the time that happens.

No particularly special backstory to the name.  Just one of the many random entries in my long list of possible cocktail names.  Every now and then you just gotta pick one.

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We Are All Reclining

1 1/4 Slivovitz [Jelinek]
3/4 oz ginger liquer [Barrow’s Intense]
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Cherry Brandy [ Cherry Heering]
1/4 oz Besamim

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

Recently my friend @schmaltzychef introduced me to the world of Slivovitz. These plum brandies are from Eastern Europe and have a ton of old world cache. They have been on my mind ever since trying one at his apartment, and with Passover right around the corner, I figured it’s the perfect time to pick up a bottle for my own bar.

As I mentioned, Slivovitz is actually a category of spirits – specifically the distilled juice of damson plums – which are prevalent in Central and Eastern Europe. Full disclosure, this booze is not for everyone. While the aroma is pleasantly plum-y, the sip is very much in your face. The fact that its bottled at 100 proof doesn’t hurt either. Some have (affectionately or otherwise) referred to it as paint thinner or jet fuel. The first sip may come off harsh, but you’ll be rewarded if you take the time to get to know it.

That being said, the old worldness of this stuff is very intriguing. I imagine that if I stumbled into some countryside home in Croatia, they would no doubt have a homemade bottle on the shelf. And much like other seemingly nigh undrinkable spirits (Fernet, looking in your direction), if you have an idea of what’s in store, you can begin to enjoy it.

And so my journey started at my friend’s apartment. It continued earlier this winter while at Mamaleh’s in Cambridge. This restaurant is like a Jewish deli on steriods – classic pastrami sandwiches and smoked fish along with elevated versions of knishes and girbenes appetizers. So naturally they had a Slivovitz flight on their drinks menu (you may have first tried it at your Bubbe’s house) and I jumped on it. After trying four versions, I began to appreciate this spirit even more. Some were very plum forward, others more floral, others still had a hint of sweetness. Sure, they all had some kick, but that’s not a bad thing. I preferred the ones where the plums really came through on the nose and the sip, and left there with a bottle of Jelinek silver in my sights.

When it came time to construct the drink, the first thing I wanted to do was keep it kosher. That meant no grain based spirits – so long bourbons, gins, and most liqueurs. I decided to build on the fruit brandy thing and bring in some Cherry Heering. Sukkah Hill Spirts Besamim was a no brainer, not only for its kosher status but the cinammon and cloves would compliment the plum notes nicely. However, I didn’t want to clobber the strength of the Sliv with sweetness. A spicy kick from Barrow’s Intense ginger liqueur (distilled from cane sugar = kosher!) and citrus from lemon juice provided the perfect assertive counterpoint.

This drink is still a sipper, with plum and citrus aromas on the nose. On the sip the warm spices from the Besamim wrapped the Sliv plum notes in a cozy hug. The aforementioned ginger kick snapped everything back to attention, before more plums and citrus brought up the rear on the swallow.

The name comes from the last part of the Four Questions. After the last “why is this night different from all other nights”, the response is basically “because tonight, while we eat, we are all reclining”. Back in the day, reclining while eating was a sign of royalty or nobility. The Jews weren’t afforded that luxury until they escaped Egypt, and honor that fact during the Seder.

So next time someone offers you taste of the Sliv life, don’t be afraid. Take a deep breath, enjoy the plum aromas, and then dive in. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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Mr. Muddle by Adam (aka Mr. Muddle) - 1M ago

Power of the Glow

1 oz Mezcal [Findecio]
1 oz Suze
1 oz Creme de Menthe [Short Path]

Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with lemon peel and mint sprig.

Remember that thing Katie from Garnish blog and I did a few weeks ago, or even almost a year ago, where we swapped bottles and made drinks?  Well it’s time for our fourth installment, this time featuring Suze. You may recognize this French bitter herbal aperitif by its awesome label design (shout out to Katie for a the handmade version) or its striking yellow color.  Before you read any further, go check out creation, the Apiary

You can even make an argument that this falls into that category of non-Italian Amaro.  It’s bracing, it’s bitter, and there are tons of herbs in the recipe.  Only real difference is the country of origin, but it fits rather nicely into that world.  Suze has lots of woodsy notes – pine, roots (especially gentian) and the like – that make it very unique.  Not much sweetness either, there is actually more of a savory quality to it.  All in all it’s a pretty assertive bottle, but one that’s worth getting to know.

It still works well in cocktails though.  For this drink, I decided to fight fire with fire, and grab a few other bottles that also have strong personalities.  The intense smoke of mezcal and the cooling menthol of creme de Menthe join Suze in the glass.  My hope was that they would all throw their weight around enough to soften each other’s edges, and I wasn’t wrong.

The Power of the Glow has the classic mezcal smoky notes on the nose, intermingled with the earthiness of the Suze.  The sip is bracing, but the mint keeps everything calm and cool.  The Suze and Creme de Menthe accentuate each other’s herbaceousness, and all three bottles provide a nice alcoholic bite.  Mezcal warms the finish just a bit, as bitter peppermint flavors finally bring up the rear.  Given this drink’s brilliant color, I couldn’t resist pulling from a classic 80s movie for the name.

Suze is not for the faint of heart, but it is very rewarding.  The earthy, mildly umami flavors it brings to a glass are hard to get from other bottles.  The floral components play well with clear spirits like gin, while the lower notes are equally at home with mezcal or even some whiskies.

Sometimes with this bottle the best defense is a good offense, so lean into those big flavors. Next time you’ve got a bold bottle on our hands, don’t be afraid to double or triple down and see what happens.

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Mr. Muddle by Adam (aka Mr. Muddle) - 2M ago

Dragon Unit

1 1/2 oz Old Tom Gin [Hayman’s]
3/4 oz Triple Sec [Short Path]
1/2 oz Elderflower Liqueur [St. Elder]
4 chunks of Dragon Fruit
Few Drops Saline Solution

Muddle dragon fruit in the bottom of a mixing glass.  Add first three ingredients and shake with ice.  Double strain into a cocktail glass, add a few drops of saline solution and give a quick stir.  Garnish with dragon fruit wedge.

Lately I’ve been into cruising through the produce section to see if there is any weird fruit I can use for cocktails.  A month or so ago I came home with a prickly pear, infused some pisco, and made the Sufferin’ Succulents.  This time it was a similarly odd looking fruit that caught my eye, the dragon fruit.

Apparently dragon fruit also comes from a cactus, like the aforementioned prickly pear.  After cutting it open and trying some, it made sense.  The dragon fruit had the same soft flesh and mild flavor as the prickly pear.  They both had a faint melon quality, with the dragon fruit having some more lychee and kiwi notes as well.  Admittedly, it was the fruits exterior which really sold me.  This variety was egg shaped and covered in yellow “scales”.  The other well known variety has more of a dark pink exterior.  In either case, the inside flesh is white dotted with black seeds.

The first few bites were very mild tasting.  I was beginning to worry it would get swallowed up by any other ingredients in a cocktail.  I decided to see what happened if I sprinkled some salt on it.  After all, my salt well is always within arms reach as I’m making dinner and trying to dial in the flavor.  My instincts paid off, as the bite with salt definitely had a more pronounced flavor.  Granted, it was still not slapping you in the face, but now I could see a drink coming together.

Elderflower liqueur compliments the kiwi and lychee aspects of the dragon fruit.  Triple sec adds some much needed brightness.  For the base spirit, I chose Old Tom gin, both for its subtle sweetness and floral bouquet.  Finally came the salt component.  I’d read about bartenders using saline solution (a mixture of salt and water) to enhance the flavor of certain drinks.  Given my taste tests with the dragon fruit itself, I figured this was the perfect time to try my hand at one.

The Dragon Unit has melon and kiwi aromas on the nose.  The sip is round and full, and the botanicals and citrus begin to assert themselves.  The dragon fruit lurks in the shadows, letting the other components move to the front.  It almost anchors the drink in a way.  The finish is long and smooth with pear, melon and kiwi notes all leaving their mark.

Amazingly, Dragon Unit was in my list of possible cocktail names I keep on my phone.  I caught it during an episode of Game of Thrones.  Its not some troupe of marauding Targaryens from back in the day, but instead an actual part of the production crew.  As the credits scrolled by, I caught those words and instantly jotted them down.  At the time I probably figured I’d incorporate spice or fire into whatever drink got that name, but using an actual dragon fruit works just as well.

Random produce is always fun to mess around with, and maybe I need to start a similar thing with my cooking as well.  It’s a fun challenge to take something you have zero experience with and see what you can creat.

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Mr. Muddle by Adam (aka Mr. Muddle) - 2M ago

Shamrock Spritz

1 1/2 oz gin [Detroit City Distillery]
3/4 oz Creme de Menthe [Short Path]
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/4 oz Lime Juice
Club Soda

Combine first 4 ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake.  Strain into an ice filled rocks glass, top with club soda.  Garnish with lime twist

Short Path Distillery just north of Boston has a great CSA program.  However, instead of fruits and veggies, it’s booze related.  The acronym in this case stands for Community Supported Alcohol.  Basically they do limited edition, single batch releases of different spirits.  You can pre-order them and they must be picked up at the distillery itself.  The more popular ones even graduate to their regular lineup.  So when I got an email announcing the release of their Creme de Menthe, I jumped on the chance to get it.

Forget what you know of that neon green stuff in the well at bars.  This bottle is full of herbal peppermint goodness.  It’s even got a slightly green tint, but nothing ridiculous looking.  The mint cools down your whole mouth, while s subtle sweetness keeps it very drinkable.

When I first got it home, Stingers (I will definitely do a Better Know a Classic on this one) and Grasshoppers were obvious choices.  Both drinks let the mint shine in different ways, and after getting acquainted through them I started thinking about ways to use it myself.  Even better, I can tie its green-ness to St. Patrick’s day, which is always a win-win.

But why stop at one green liqueur when you can use two!  That means Green chartreuse gets added to the party.  And what about green fruits!  In goes a squirt of lime.  A nice piney gin provides the foundation – top it off with some club soda and the Shamrock Spritz is born.

Between the mint, herbs, and bubbles, this is one refreshing drink.  Strong mint aromas come up from the glass, and the botanicals from the gin and chartreuse accentuates them even more.  On the sip, you experience the wonderful interplay of Chartreuse herbs and mint, these two spirits are very comfortable together.  The Detroit City gin is a works well here too – its coniferous notes complimenting the other two liqueurs.  Citrus and bubbles keep you coming back for sip after sip.

While this drink didn’t turn out quite as green as expected, I’m ok with that.  The flavor more than makes up for it.  Green Chartreuse has long been one of my favorite alternatives to your green beers and shots of Jameson on St. Patrick’s Day.  I’m excited that now I have another wonderful option, and am looking forward to more minty explorations.

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Mr. Muddle by Adam (aka Mr. Muddle) - 2M ago

Telegraph Hill

2 oz Barrel aged gin [Grand Ten]
1/2 oz Kina l’Aero d’Or
1/2 Etrog Liqueur [Sukkah Hill Spirits]
Few dashes orange bitters [Regan’s]

Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

You guys, my love of Manhattans knows no bounds, and not just because it was my gateway cocktail. I really love the whole universe of Manhattans – your Little Italys, your Bensonhursts, your Brooklyns. My introduction into the the neighborhood variation was the Red Hook, and still remains one of my favorites.

Then the other day an idea popped into my head. I just bought a bottle of Kina l’Aero D’Or, which is a bitter fortified wine. Guess what else is a bitter, fortified wine…Punt e Mes! The analogy that came to me was Punt e Mes: Sweet Vermouth as Kina: dry vermouth. Many Manhattan variants play around with the vermouth element, in the Red Hook’s case, sweet vermouth is swapped out entirely for Punt e Mes. That whole drink can basically be broken down into whiskey/bitter fortified wine/fruit liqueur. So what if I built a variation around Kina?

From there, I actually focused on the fruit liqueur part. In a Red Hook, Maraschino liqueur not only brings in some mild fruity sweetness, but also distinct funkiness. I wanted my new drink to capture this, which is where Etrog Liqueur comes in. This spirit, made from the OG citrus, has plenty of lemony botanical notes. In addition, there is a unique quality that keeps it from just being a lemon liqueur or limoncello type thing – not as funky as Maraschino but definitely something that makes you stop and think a bit.

Lastly came the base spirit. This should be easy, and since basically I’m headed down the path of a “lighter” Red Hook, I thought white whiskey would be a no brainer. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work. Just didn’t have enough punch to stand up the Kina and Etrog. So let’s try some gin, then. Aaand…nope. All the botanicals ended up fighting with each other, and the result was too muddled. Finally, I decided to split the difference with a barrel aged gin. Stronger flavors overall then white whiskey, but the barrel aging tempered the floral components a bit, while also drawing a trend line back to the original whiskey in a Red Hook.

The nose of the drink was very all flower and lemons, along with some bitterness from the kina. The sip has some more citrus notes, but the barks and spices of the Kina start to shine through. They meld nicely with the barrel tones from the gin, which also combines with some of the low notes of the kina to give the drink some depth. Meanwhile, that etrog “funk” dances around everything. It finishes with a faint sweentess, followed by a clean, slightly bitter swallow.

The other thing I love about Manhattan variations is how they are mostly named after various neighborhoods in that borough (or Brooklyn, or Queens…). I kept that tradition here, using the barrel aged gin as inspiration. Grand Ten Distilling is in South Boston, a short walk from a section called Telegraph Hill. That’s got cocktail name written all over it.

Building off the template of your favorite drink is a great way to create something new and exciting. Distill it down to its core elements and look around your bar to see what fits. You may be pleasantly surprised by the result.

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Pratfall

1 1/2 oz Blended Scotch (ideally on the peaty side) {Mackinlay Shackleton]
3/4 oz Banana Liqueur [Giffard]
1/2 oz Maple Syrup
1/4 oz Apricot liqueur [Rothman and Winter]

Stir with ice, strain into an ice filled rocks glass. Garnish with banana wedge.

About a year and a half ago, I teamed up with Katie from Garnish Blog for a series of bottle swap posts. To refresh your memory, the idea is we each buy a different bottle, trade half, and make some drinks. Last time we did the King’s Ginger and Ancho Reyes. It was such a blast, we decided to do it again with two more bottles. As luck would have it, shortly after we made the trade, Katie announced she was pregnant. So we put the bottle swap series on hold until she was off the wagon again. Now that she’s officially a mom, it’s time for the third Bottle Swap intallment, starring Giffard Banane du Bresil. Be sure to check out Katie’s take, Banana Bread

Forget everything you think you know about banana liqueurs. This is stuff is the real deal. Not surprising considering who makes it. Giffard consistently produces some of the most amazing fruit liqueurs out there, and I’ve yet to have a bad bottle from them (as evidenced by their grapefruit liqueur, which is basically cheating).

Their banana offering is no different. It’s made by slowly macerating bananas and adding in some cognac as well. The result is almost like banana bread in a bottle. Notes of ripe and dried banana are everywhere, with a silky smooth mouthfeel. Caramel and toffee undertones are present too, but this liqueur is anything but sweet. Make no mistake, it’s all bananas all the time.

For the drink, I wanted to do something vaguely reminiscent of the classic Bananas Foster dish. To capture those flamed, carmelized notes, I brought in a Highland focused blended scotch (based off a bottle supposedly used by one of my favorite explorers, Earnest Shackleton). Maple syrup provided some complex sweetness, while apricot liqueur lent an even deeper richness to everything.

The nose of the Pratfall started off smoky, with caramel and banana aromas swirling around. On the sip it’s like drinking velvet – incredibly smooth. Rich toffee notes and and bready flavors from the scotch lay the foundation. The banana is assertive but not overpowering, and plays very nicely with the apricots. The finish is warm with maple sweetness cutting through, finishing with a little more scotch burn and one last hint of banana.

Bananas and comedy are closely intertwined. Some say images of a person slipping on a banana peel can be found in some cave drawings. Ok, maybe I made that up, but the banana peel slip trope has been around since at least the early 20th century. Since this drink is all about that fruit, I named it after the fate of anyone in showbusiness who steps on a banana peel.

Don’t forget to check out Garnish Girl’s take on this amazing liqueur, and keep your eye out for the other half of this bottle swap. Even better, find a friend and do your own exchange.

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