Wednesday 24 November 2010

I’m the guy who found the lost cocktail

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
I hope this mystery visitor makes his infusion commercially available*. In the meantime if you’d like to sample it it looks as if you may have to go to Graphic.

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.

* Having said that, you evidently can get hold of crème de griottes commercially. DBS even found a cocktail online that goes under the name “Demon-Raped Soul”. Don't you just love that aura cocktail-lounge sophistication?

1 comment:

  1. I've had the Aviation with Creme de Violette which is a lovely color, and lovely tasting...but now I look forward to tracking down Creme de Griottes because the extra cherry recipe sounds delightful. Terrific post!