Happy Friday everyone. Today is Valentines day, which can be a stressful day all around. Did you forget a card? Remember the flowers? Make a reservation? There is a lot to think about today. What if we keep this week’s cocktail simple and just do some shots?
On second thought, maybe not. How about a cocktail I’ve been sitting on for a while? The Sahara Glowing Heart cocktail from The Gentleman’s Companion by our good buddy Charles Baker seems extra fitting this week. In the description, Baker says the original recipe is a little too sweet for him. So he provides a modified recipe alongside the original. Normally I don’t go for sweet drinks, but how bad could it be?
Sahara Glowing Heart Version 1:
1 pony (1 oz) Dry gin
1 pony (1 oz) Absinthe
1 pony (1 oz) Dry apricot brandy
1/2 pony (.5oz) grenadine
Add all ingredients to a shaker with lots and lots of ice. Shake and strain into a large saucer champagne glass
Housekeeping note before we begin, I subbed anise liqueur for the absinthe. Now, to the drink. Holy. Fuck. This is sweet as hell, and barely drinkable, if that. When offered to Mrs. Sharkbait, she said it “tastes like Robitussin” and promptly took a swig of water to remove any traces of the concoction from her palate.
Every time I every sip I take to try and articulate the flavors, my taste buds immediately become offended at what I am subjecting them to, and I feel like I need to shave my teeth by the time the sip ends.
Ok, going back in for another sip. For science
I can barely detect the gin through the overpowering grenadine flavor. The absinthe substitute barely comes through at all.
I don’t think I can finish this. As much as I hate wasting alcohol, this is beyond reproach and unfortunately, must be sacrificed to the drinking gods.
Ignore the grenadine
1 Jigger (1.5 oz) Gin
Reduce the absinthe to a dash or two inside the glass
(Not specified in the recipe, but keep the brandy the same)
This is better, but still not the best. the extra half ounce of gin now is in the driver’s seat. The reduction in the anise is welcome. The brandy sticks out like a sore thumb here. I can’t really figure out what it brings to the table. In an effort to salvage this variation (and to not waste the last of my gin), I squeezed in the juice from a lemon wedge. The acid in the juice worked it’s magic and improved it. The gin is subdued, as is the anise. The brandy flavor is muted, but only slightly. Which helps balance everything out. This one was at least drinkable.
Admittedly I had high hopes for this, as Mr Baker hasn’t steered me wrong yet. Unfortunately, I think this is a miss from the world traveler.
(Banner image found here)