|The mysterious bottle
Adopting my usual position at the bar at Graphic at the tasting of No. 209 gin last Monday, I noticed an unusual small bottle filled with red liquid and with a simple label that read “Crème de Griottes”. I asked Adam what it was and he told me that, during the cocktail competition held by No. 209 earlier in the day, a chap had come in with it—and evidently left it behind. Adam thought he’d said he made it himself.
Exercising marine salvage rights, I persuaded Adam to open it. Griottes are a strain of sour cherry and this was indeed a cherry-infused liquor, subtle and complex and not sugary like a liqueur, but with a refined sweet-dry palate. I ordered an Aviation cocktail made with this stuff.
Modern Aviations are often a blend of gin, maraschino and lemon juice but the original recipe, first published in 1916 by the drink’s inventor New York barman Hugo Ensslin, had crème de violette in it too, giving it a sky blue colour. I think the use of this ingredient faded as it became harder to get hold of. Being a sucker for authenticity I’ve only ever had them with the crème de violette, but Adam now made one in which this was replaced by crème de griottes, boosting the overall cherryness of the thing. It was a warm, approachable drink, not too sweet and with its cherry element more subtle that you might expect. It is also quite pink.
|The finished drink
Pink Sky At Night
1¾ measures gin
½ measure maraschino
¼ measure crème de griottes
½ measure lemon juice
Shake with ice, strain and serve with a lemon twist.