OK, so this Adventure in a Giant Box of Booze isn’t from the original Giant Box of Booze that I brought home from Spec’s in Houston. Instead, I brought home a Bottle of Canton Ginger Liqueur from a store in Orlando called Total Wine and More. Total Wine isn’t Spec’s, but it was more than enough to make me insanely jealous of Olandans (Orlandians? Orlandonians? Orlandites?) It had a great selection of stuff I can’t get in Ohio, along with a full-time wine tasting bar, and a tall blonde dressed like an Apple Genius Bar employee who was pushing samples of Heineken Light at eleven in the morning.
Canton is a Cognac-based liqueur, infused with
the finest fresh baby Vietnamese ginger and lots of other spiffy flavors like honey and vanilla. It ain’t cheap. The bottle is simply beautiful, as you can see in the picture above. The website is attractive, somewhat informative, has some interesting recipes, and is a pain in the butt to navigate efficiently. They do a cute thing with English and French words turning one into the other that is interesting. Overall, the site is worth a visit, but not one to emulate, unless you are trying to satisfy Canada Bi-Lingual requirements in an interesting way.
It took me almost a week after I got home until I could breathe enough to try something interesting with this stuff. As I said, there are several intriguing recipes on the website, so I selected the Domain de Canton Mojito for Maggi to try, since I have a mass of fresh mint right now in the back forty….
- 1/2 part Light Rum
- 2 1/2 parts Canton
- 3 lemon wedges
- Fresh Mint
Muddle mint and lemon wedges in Highball glass, add Rum and Canton, then top with ice and soda.
I’m not sure what the Rum brings to the party, other than to give them an excuse to give the drink the marketing-friendly label of
Mojito, rather than Ginger Julep, which it seems to me is really more appropriate.
For my tipple, I tried this unnamed cocktail from Michael Dietsch at A Dash of Bitters.
- 2 oz. Cognac
- 1 oz. Lime Juice
- 3/4 oz. Canton
- 1/2 oz. Dry Vermouth
Shake over ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.
My Vermouth is old and tired, but it seems to do the job here nicely. I’d help Michael out with a smart-ass name playing on Vietnam, France, Surrendering, etc., but we Yanks had out own share of ass-hattery in Southeast Asia, so I’ll leave it alone. How’s about a Canton Sidecar?
Anyway, both drinks worked nicely. It appears to be pretty sweet stuff, as the
Mojito needed no sweetener at all, and the Sidecar would have been much too sweet had I sugared the rim. There is a distinct spiciness that you don’t feel at first, but which lingers comfortably. Or possibly uncomfortably, as Maggi found the Mojito left her with burning lips about three-quarters of the way through. You might wish to consider your own sensitivity to ginger and adjust amounts accordingly.
Sidecar was delicious, and seemed quite Asian in flair. Whether it is in fact Asian in flair or if I just was being suggestible, I leave to someone else to evaluate.
Either way, the Canton looks like a winner. I’m going to build on the Asian idea for further experimentation. Canton has a recipe that uses Sake, which I will use as a stepping off point for further adventures!
UPDATE: Since writing this post, I have discovered an interesting phenomenon that involves Canton and St. Germain Elderflower liqueur. You can read the post here. If you like Canton, the post is worth a read.