Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cocktails on the Ides

For many, it is simply a rainy March Thursday, with little to be said for itself. For history, it was the famed day Julius Ceasar was murdered, back in ol' 44 BC. For you and for me, it's a gorgeous day to share a cocktail or two. For those of you who've been reading this blog for a while, you'll remember a cocktail I served last year at Forbidden Island called the Ides of March (invented this day last year). For your drinking pleasure this afternoon, I offer up the Ides, as well as its 2012 counterpart, The Soothsayer.

IDES OF MARCH (Suzanne Long)

1.5 oz Disaronno Amaretto
1.5 oz Maurin Quina
1 oz Black Maple Hill Small Batch Bourbon
Dropperful of Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Stir and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a Luxardo Maraschino cherry.

The story behind the Ides of March cocktail is a delightful in-the-industry sort of story. I was at Forbidden Island well after closing. It was clean and quiet. I was thinking about leaving, but a bottle of Maurin Quina had been dropped off by a rep that day, and I had tasted it and completely fell in love, and I just wanted to put a cocktail together with it before I left. So, I added some of the Black Maple Hill small batch bourbon and with the amazing almond notes in the Maurin Quina, I felt like the DiSaronno would be a nice addition, and nothing that nice couldn't be finished off beautifully with a hint of the spicy chocolate in the mole bitters, so I dashed that in too. I was on the working side of the bar and poured the cocktail, took one sip, and loved it so much that I walked all the way around the bar and sat down and savored that cocktail. It was nice to sit, quietly, enjoying the cocktail, and be in a beautiful bar which was silent and still. The Ides of March was named for the day that I created it and secondly for its rich, blood red color. I enjoy them whenever I can get my hands on a bottle of Maurin Quina.

Maurin Quina, for those who are not familiar, is a glorious spirit based in Quinine with spectacular almond and cherry notes. The image shown here is quite well known, designed by Leonetto Cappiello, an Italian living in Paris at that time. Many have mistaken it for a turn of the century absinthe ad. As I understand it, the spirit went out of production around 1906, and was only re-introduced to the American and European markets in the last year or two.

THE SOOTHSAYER (Suzanne Long)

1.5 oz Henry McKenna Straight Bourbon
1 oz Otima 10 yr Tawny Port
.25 oz Bénédictine
Dropperful of Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into small cocktail glass or champagne coupe. Garnish with a Luxardo Maraschino cherry.

The Soothsayer is a fitting counterpart for the Ides. I wanted something that would have that rich warming feeling but with a little bit more complexity. The Otima 10 has some really nice bitter chocolate and orange notes, so the Xocolatl Mole Bitters from Bittermens were a natural to drive the flavor home. They play very nicely with Bénédictine, too.

Typically we toast to the Queen's health with every cocktail at The Pad, but today, it seems as if we'd do well to toast to Ceasar, as well. I'm off to another Soothsayer - and here's luck to all of you, with no reason to fear the Ides!

I'll see YOU there!

--Suzanne

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