Monthly Archives: April 2009

B24 TDN

Well, I kinda promised another drink recipe before now. Unfortunately, between getting ready for a quick trip home to see family and actually taking that trip home to family, I didn’t quite get around to prepping anything.

That’s okay, though, because the wifey did, while I was away. What? It kept her from the pool halls, didn’t it? Anyway, I have it on reasonably good authority that if you are in the Mixoloseum chat room tonight, you’ll get to see her recipe entered into competition. Be there! Or not.

Beefeater 24: I’m going to need a hacksaw

lda-beefeater-24Beefeater has launched its new style of gin in the United States, Beefeater 24. A production of Beefeater’s master distiller, Desmond Payne, 24 takes its name from the amount of time Payne allows its botanical blend to steep, prior to distillation. B24 features the same blend of citrus peels, juniper, coriander, and other botanicals as its father, Beefeater, but in a different balance of flavor. B24’s not so heavy on juniper, for instance, as daddy is. With B24, though, Payne adds a subtle blend of teas to the mix.

I received not one, but two sample bottles this week, and I’ve been slowly putting the new product through its paces. Our favorite gin cocktail is a simple martini; we’ve reached a point where we sip one together every Monday, to take the edge off the start of the week, and also every Friday, to celebrate the coming of the weekend. After trying many variations on the gin:vermouth ratio, I’ve eventually settled on a 3:1 mix, sometimes adding a hit of orange or lemon bitters to liven things up.

So upon receiving my samples, I immediately hit the B24 site to see what cocktails it had to offer. The second drink listed was the 24 Martini, a blend of B24, Lillet Blanc, and, what-do-you-know?, orange bitters. And lo and behold, the recipe offers the golden ratio: 60ml Beefeater 24, 20ml Lillet Blanc, and 3 dashes orange bitters. (Don’t worry, you don’t need to measure in milliliters; I’ll have my proportions at the end of the post.)

Now, a note about this Lillet Blanc: it’s a French aperitif wine, made by blending a number of wines with citrus peels and citrus liqueurs and then aging it in oak. Tasty simply on its own, it also deliciously complements the Beefeater 24. I would love to try a martini made with Lillet next to one made with vermouth, but I’m already pretty certain that the Lillet is the best choice.

The other notable thing about B24 is the beautiful bottle. One thing you can see if you look closely at the photo is the way the glass in the bottle reflects and channels the red of the punt throughout the bottle. The punt is the only area of the glass that’s actually red; everything else is reflection, and it shifts as you move the bottle around in your hand. It’s a lovely effect.

Photograph by Jennifer Hess.

Now, since Beefeater 24 is in the midst of launching in the U.S., it doesn’t appear to be available for retail just yet. At least, I haven’t found it yet on the websites of online retailers such as BevMo or Astor Wines and Spirits. I have no firm word on how much it will cost when it’s available; however, a press release at Business Wire says, “The suggested retail price for Beefeater 24 is $28.99/750 milliliter bottle, and $32.99/one liter bottle.” That should put it in a pricing tier with Bombay Sapphire and Tanq Ten, which seems reasonable enough to me, given that it appears aimed at that market.

24 Martini (makes two cocktails)

  • 4-1/2 oz. Beefeater 24 gin
  • 1-1/2 oz. Lillet blanc
  • Six dashes Regan’s orange bitters
  • Lemon slices, for garnish

Stir over cracked ice and strain into an up glass. Add garnish.

For another take on the B24, head over to Jay Hepburn’s site. A Londoner, Jay reviewed the gin just after its UK launch last autumn and liked it as well. He has detailed tasting notes, which is an area of spirits writing that I’m still working on, as I develop my palate.

Note: It’s going to be a Beefeater 24 kind of week around here. Later this week, I’ll be in New York to participate live in something we call Thursday Drink Night (TDN). Every week, some reprobate picks a theme for TDN. A bunch of other reprobates gather in a chat room like the geeks we are to create and discuss original cocktails on that theme. For Thursday, April 30, the theme is Beefeater 24. I hope to review another B24 drink between now and Thursday, so just bear with me a few days if it doesn’t interest you.

Mixology Monday: A Simple Twist of Great

mxmologoOkay, kiddos, it’s that time of the month again! Mixology Monday! This month’s theme is a pip, Superior Twists. Our host this month is Tristan Stephenson of the Wild Drink Blog. The remit is simple:

This month’s Mixology Monday is all about twists on classic cocktails, that for one reason or another do an even better job than the drinks upon which they are based.

This could be as simple as a classic Margarita with a dash with a special touch that completes it, or maybe as complicated as a deconstructed Hemingway Daiquiri with a homemade rum foam/caviar/jus/trifle. It might be taking a classic like a Manhattan and using Tequila instead of Bourbon?

In that spirit (ho ho!), I’m offering up the Ruirita, a rhubarby twist on the Margarita. First, lemme give you fools the recipe, and then I’ll tell you how I came up with it and which unsuspecting dolts I thieved my ideas from. So!

Ruirita

  • 2 oz. tequila, blanco (make sure it’s 100% agave; I used Inocente–why? because I had a free sample and the bottle’s sexy, but also because it’s a good tequila)
  • ½ oz. Cynar
  • ½ oz. lime juice
  • ¼ oz. simple syrup
  • 3 dashes Fee’s Rhubarb bitters
  • 2 drops orange flower water, to rinse glass

Shake over ice. Rinse chilled glass with orange flower water. Pour the flower water into the sink, and fill glass with love.

Smile.

Now, I had been thinking about this drink over the weekend, trying to decide what I wanted to do. I remembered the rhubarb bitters Jen bought me a few months ago, and how I hadn’t really used them much. I then started thinking how I’d like to try them with tequila. Off to Google!

I didn’t find many rhubarb/tequila pairings, but the first thing I found was from Jacob Grier, who put up a drink with tequila, port, rhubarb bitters, and Benedictine. That sounded fabulous, JG, but wasn’t the way I was headed. (Jake revisited the tequila/rhubarb bitters idea in his post for this very MxMo, so be sure to check it out on Jacob’s site. Again, we’re headed in different directions, but he’s done a man’s job with his drink.)

However, Jacob did point me in another direction that I wanted to explore–Cynar artichoke bitter liqueur. Yes, artichoke and rhubarb. Jacob’s post mentions a drink that Robert Simonson discussed last year. Robert’s quaff inspired me to try Cynar and rhubarb, but it was my own warped psyche that led to the tequila, rhubarb, and artichoke delight. Jen and I love Cynar, and I don’t think I make enough opportunities to play with it.

The final element that I cribbed from another blogger was the orange flower water. A post on Kaiser Penguin has a drink with a glass rinse of the rhubarb bitters and the flower water. I wanted the orange to hint of the orange liqueur you normally find in a margarita, but orange flower water can quickly overpower a drink, so I chose the rinse. Rinses tend to engage the nose more so than the taste buds, so that seemed the way to go. However, I wanted the rhubarb bitters incorporated into the flavor of the drink, so I didn’t use them in the rinse.

So, I built the Ruirita in a mixing glass, stirring and tasting. I added the tequila, Cynar, lime, and bitters first, not wanting to deviate far from a traditional margarita. But Cynar’s more bitter than a Cointreau or another triple sec, so I needed a bit of sweetness. I didn’t want to add another liqueur–frankly, with tequila, Cynar, rhubarb, lime, and orange, there’s already enough going on with the drink’s flavor. So I added a touch of simple syrup, to provide neutral sweetening.

What resulted was a pretty damn good drink, I thought. Well balanced and complex, but not confused. The flavors melded very well. Jen was surprised, in fact, and wondered what demon had infested my soul to suggest this particular combo of ingredients. (That’s exactly the way she put it, by the way: “Man! What demon haunteth thou so that you blendeth these ingredients in yon tail of the cock! I shalt call upon the church for an exorci— Hey, this is pretty good. Wow.”)

So, try it please, and let me know what the hell you think.

(Photograph by Jennifer Hess.)