Monday, May 25, 2009

Orphan Bottles - Aquavit (and Kummel)

We all have these bottles on our shelves. You see a recipe that sounds so good - like the Silver Bullet - gin, kummel, lemon juice - and between the photo and the name you think "what the hell, I'll buy a bottle of Kummel, there will be other recipes ...." And then there aren't, and it turns out that you have 3/4ths of a bottle of caraway liquor, collecting dust. You, of course, already have a bottle of Aquavit, which is a subtly different form of ... caraway liquor.

So when you see the cocktail column in the Chron with a recipe using Aquavit, and you already own the rest of the ingredients, the little light bulb goes off - now you have the means, the motive, and all you need are the opportunity, and of course, the victim(s).

Unbeknownst to me, Oceana had decreed a cocktail hour to follow our Monday night house meeting - I live in a communal household, and we've been focusing on having our meetings be both fun and short - so all I needed was a bag of limes from Trader Joes and to pop the ingredient ratios into the recipe spreadsheet. Here is the Vessel (Seattle) recipe for The Hemingway Solution
  • 1.5 oz. aquavit
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • .5 oz. maraschino liqueur (Luxardo)
  • .25 .oz simple syrup
  • 3 small sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 mint leaves.
I quadrupled the recipe, used Aalborg aquavit, and I didn't have fresh thyme so I put a big pinch of dried thyme into the cocktail shaker along with cutting up 4 mint leaves (our mint plants are just getting established), and shook hard for ~ 10 seconds, and poured into chilled glasses. Some of the glasses had flecks of thyme in them, so I shook thyme lightly over all of them as garnish.

The first sip and you realize that this wonderful drink is an aquavit version of the Aviation (gin, lemon, maraschino) - very perfume-y, refreshing, cool. The caraway is subtle, so you get a mix of the caraway, thyme, hint o' mint, and the sweet of the maraschino - that Luxardo magic. We've tried Aviations with a spectrum on gins, including Genever, and I have a still unopened bottle of Old Tom to try. So Aquavit is just a bit further away from juniper, but fits right it.

Another time I'll try this again with the Kummel - first I'll taste a 1/4 teaspoon of each of the Kummel and Aquavit to get their flavors, I'll use more mint and I'll try and find fresh thyme.

And I'll look for a different name - the Urban Dictionary says "the 'Hemingway solution' is to commit suicide with a gun in the mouth", and google gives me: a heavy metal band, a poem, a recently published novel, and a song title.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey George,

I can't buy Kummel in Australia, but I have been able to get some Aquavit in the past (and loved it). Once you make your test I'd be keen to know if you think Aquavit is a passable substitute for Kummel.


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