Cocktails + Libations = Cocktations

If you are wondering what a cocktation is, yours is a valid question. Cocktation is in fact a made-up word that tumbled from my mouth one day when I was trying to say the word concoction. That nifty little neologism was the seed idea for this blog, and here we both are today.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Paradise Louched

Paradise Louched

It's been exactly one year since I entered an cocktail contest, so after returning from Tales of the Cocktail and feeling full of renewed inspiration, I decided that it might be time to step up to the plate again.
It just so happens that the July/August contest for this year just happens to involve one of my favorite spirits--absinthe, so I was immediately excited about getting to work on my entry.

As a long-time member of The Wormwood Society, America's Premier Absinthe Association & Information Network, I have a great deal of knowledge about the myths and realities of absinthe, and have sampled in the realm of 60+ different absinthes, including one pre-ban absinthe. I used my familiarity with the different flavor profiles to select what I believe is the perfect absinthe to use in my creation. 

My new-found love and enthusiasm for all things tiki led me to pick up a signed copy of Beachbum Berry's new book, Remixed: A Gallery of Tiki Drinks while I was in NOLA. From my reading, I learned that one of Don The Beachcomber's tricks was to use Pernod (once a great absinthe, now a pale shadow of it's former self) in small quantities to add depth and dimension to certain tiki drinks. So if a few drops of Pernod could punch up a tropical drink, could a tiki drink be created that used absinthe as the base? I decided it was my task to find out!

I chose to use a Swiss/blanche absinthe as the base of my drink since I believe the more anise and fennel-forward flavors would work better with tropical tiki flavors than would a more herbal verte. While I believe La Valote works best in Paradise Louched (a play on Paradise Lost), I realize that in many areas the selections of absinthes are limited at best and so I will mention that Pere Francois or Kubler would also work well in this drink.

In Paradise Louched, the absinthe is clearly present, yet functions in harmony with the rhum agricole, fresh juices, floral water, and is supported by the cinnamon syrup’s subtle spice. My goal was to create a drink that is readily accessible to even those who might not otherwise try or believe they would enjoy absinthe. Absinthe’s history is filled with so much myth, misinformation, and mystery, that the come-hither allure of a tropical drink presented in a whimsical tiki mug may just be the perfect introduction to the green (or in this case white) fairy.

1.25 oz of La Valote (Pere Francoise or Kubler are also acceptable)
1 oz Rhum J.M Gold
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz homemade cinnamon syrup (recipe below)
½ tsp orange flower water

In a blender, puree all ingredients with 1.5 cups of crushed ice until slushy. Serve in a tiki mug, adding additional ice to fill, and garnish with a straw and a sprig of fresh mint.

To prepare the cinnamon syrup take 3 cinnamon sticks, crushed, 1 cup water, and 1 cup demerara sugar and boil until sugar dissolves. Let the mixture sit to further infuse for 2 hours, then strain into a container and refrigerate for up to 1 month.

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