There are those days where you have a technique you've been using, where you are reasonably pleased with the results, and then someone else comes along that reduces your pitiful efforts from Gold Medal to 3rd Grade Participation Trophy. This is one of those days, and the Artesian bar in the The Langham hotel in Hong Kong is that someone. Their "Seasonal Promotion" this Spring is a series of three cocktails evoking classic, very recognizable works of art. The one pictured atop this post sounds delicious, with saffron gin, Chartreuse, lemon, and grenadine, among other ingredients. But let's be honest, regardless of how it tastes, Holy Jehoshaphat, look at it! The surface is based on Mondrian's Tableau series, one of those modern pieces you look at and say, "I could do that," before realizing that you didn't think of it. The other two, expressions of Dali and Van Gogh, at least as impressive. You can read more about Artesian and see a slideshow with these images, counterposed with the original works of art at Blouin Art Info. [caption id="attachment_11157" align="aligncenter" width="863"] Van Gogh's Starry Night[/caption] [caption id="attachment_11158" align="aligncenter" width="863"] Salvador Dali's The Persistence of Memory[/caption] Honestly, I want to try approximating this, but I genuinely don't have the first frigging idea how they pull this off. First off, you would need to make the drink very exactingly. Just to make the "canvas" for these garnishes, you need a perfect foam. It has to have just the right density and durability, and (the hardest in my experience) be formed by perfectly uniform and tiny bubbles. But that's the easy part. I could manage that. How on earth does Rajenda Limbu execute those details at that scale? If it is a decal, it's a technology I've never encountered before. I don't think you could do this with a stencil, or series of stencils rather. It has to be done by hand. By hand? The Dali one extends down the outside of the glass. The Mondrian uses a straight edge. And I'm not sure which would be harder to execute, the zillion little brush strokes in various color of the Van Gogh, or the solid blocks of uniform color in the Mondrian. And they sell these for 158 Hong Kong Dollars! (About $21 US) That is an expensive cocktail, sure, but each looks like it has at least 45 minutes of work in it. How do they afford to sell these drinks with so much labor cost? And how do they execute them without the drink getting warm by the time the garnish is done? And I repeat, how do they do the garnish in the first place? No really, I'm asking.abc
Honor Amongst Thieves is a modern Tiki concoction by Alex Renshaw, and can be found in the 2015 edition of Food & Wine: Cocktails. (The quality of recipes collected in recent editions of this anthology, incidentally, are far superior to what they put out in early days.) I was twigged to this particular entry by Boston's Fred Yarm.
Did you know that Apple's spellcheck does not recognize the word "amongst"? I blame Tim Cook!To be more on point, Honor Amongst Thieves is yet another of the modern Tiki drinks I'm focusing on this year that do not feature rum as the base spirit. This one goes with bourbon and cachaça as the spirits.
HONOR AMONGST THIEVESI have several notes on this recipe. Fred gave this the full Tiki treatment, with ceramic mug, and a huge mint and edible flower garnish, but I prefer Alex's original, modernist presentation. While the flavor profile of this drink is squarely in the Tiki zone (boozy/spicy/citrusy), the texture and the finish are less so. It lacks the unctuous mouthfeel of my usual Tiki vision, and the finish is much cleaner than is the Tiki norm. This isn't a criticism, but if you dress Honor Amongst Thieves up like a Zombie, these characteristics are actually highlighted as incongruous. The original recipe calls for 3 dashes of Peychaud's on top as a garnish, but I omit it. I don't think it is needed, and I just can never picture Peychaud's as a Tiki ingredient. A personal failing on my own, I'm sure.... Finally, Fred doubles the simple syrup. If you want to go full Tiki with crushed ice, you will need that extra sugar. Another reason to serve this in the original presentation is that it adds some nice variety when serving a bunch of different Tiki drinks. When every other drink you are serving is in in a hollowed-out pagan idol with a citrus plantation hanging over the rim, the Honor Amongst Thieves actually looks a bit exotic in comparison.abc
- 1 oz. aged cachaça
- 1 oz. triple digit proof bourbon
- 1 oz. fresh pineapple juice
- 1/2 oz. falernum
- 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
- 1/4 oz. simple syrup
So, I'm working on some cool new photography techniques in advance of Tiki Month in February. Here's a pretty good one of the Gospel of Whiskey: The Manhattan. [caption id="attachment_10882" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The Gospel of Whiskey: The Manhattan[/caption] I'll have more on this once Tiki Month gets going and I post some of the really cool pictures I've already shot. This one is just really elegant and not at all Tiki, so I thought I'd put it up now.abc
One of the greats returns to cocktail blogging. Kaiser Penguin was the very best, back in the early, heady days of the cocktailosphere. His camera skills were exceeded only by his creativity with garnishes. His first post in years shows that he's lost none of either.abc
KNOW US BETTER