Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Jager Bomb with a Hammer

This was a little trick I decided to adapt for a small party I was throwing. These days every cocktail enthusiast and their grandfather has a spherical ice mold. I saw a trend going around for hollowing them out and serving a cocktail inside the ice sphere. I just did my own variation.

You don't need much equipment for this. You'll need a freezer naturally. You'll also need a heat source and a metal point to heat, though a soldering iron does the job brilliantly provided it's clean. You'll also need a small funnel, though a syringe or meat injector works a bit faster and when dealing with ice, speed is very important. Lastly, you'll need a spherical ice ball mold, one that you can flip upside down and remain stable. I prefer the style pictured. The only other things needed are the liquids, Jagermeister and Red Bull. 

The basic premise is that ice freezes from the outside in. The trick is just stopping it before it freezes too much. Fill your ice ball mold with water, add the top half of the mold, and put it in the freezer. After an hour and a half flip the mold over. This allows for the ball to freeze evenly as different parts of the freezers have different temperatures. Also, any air bubbles and impurities would float or sink throwing off the thermal conductivity. Otherwise, parts of the ball would be very thin and others very thick. After another hour to hour and a half remove the partially frozen ice ball. Bear in mind that these times are relative to what I find to be the average home freezer. You may need to extend the time.

Rinse the outside of the mold with warm water, not hot or you may crack the ice. Now we need to hollow out the mold. Heat an ice pick or use a soldering iron to poke a hole in the top of the ice ball. Draining can be a tricky part. You can, in theory, flip the ball over and drain it out but it will take ages because of the lack of airflow. Using a meat injector seems to be the fastest way of sucking out of most of the liquid. You can also use a straw and blow sharply into the ball to eject a good portion of the ball's water while it's upside down to drain it much faster. Though this technique certainly isn't really suited to a bar environment. 

Next either using a funnel or the meat injector fill the ball with Jagermeister. plug the hole with something, preferably something that allows the ball to stay upright. A cherry with a pick through it works well as could a coiled twist of citrus. Add the ball to a large rocks glass and fill the glass with Red Bull. Serve with a small hammer to let the guest smash the ball open.

Great Artists Steal

My cocktails are designed to pair with Mediterranean cuisine, primarily those with a strong Italian basis. My aperitif is designed to pair with a lovely appetizer of prosciutto with fig, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

1 oz Zacapa No. 23
0.5 oz Cynar
1.25 oz Cold Brew Coffee
0.5 oz Fever-Tree Tonic Water
2 dashes Frangelico

Rub a lemon wedge along the side of a Nick and Nora glass and dust the glass with sea salt creating a salt strip. Place the Ron Zacapa No. 23, Cynar, and cold brew coffee into a shaker tin with ice. Add your tonic water to your Nick and Nora glassware. Shake your cocktail and strain it into the glass over the tonic water. Dash a bit of Frangelico on top of the drink for aroma and serve. 

In terms of my digestif cocktail, an old chef friend of mine taught me that artichokes contain the chemical cynarin which chemically seems to make everything taste sweeter after you consume it. Some people have even found the taste of water oddly sweet. Quite a few chefs use it during their penultimate course to make dessert taste even sweeter without having to add excess sugar. This drink would thus be complemented by a creamy low-sugar dessert like a floral panna cotta. The artichoke brings out the natural saccharine flavor of rum and pairs well with other bittersweet flavors like coffee. Zacapa pairs particularly wonderfully with coffee given its nutty nose and notes of spice and dried fruits which come from its partial aging in PX sherry and ex-cognac casks. It's also a favorite of my Italian mentor.

Good Artists Imitate

My cocktail is designed to pair with Mediterranean cuisine, primarily those with a strong Italian basis. My aperitif is designed to pair with a lovely appetizer of prosciutto with fig, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. 

1 oz Tanqueray no. TEN Gin
0.125 oz Poire Williams
0.25 oz Elderflower Liqueur
2.5 oz Sparkling Mineral Water (preferably San Pellegrino)
2 small Sprigs of Rosemary
12 julienned Strips of Grapefruit Peel

Start by placing the gin, elderflower liqueur, and Poire Williams into a wine glass. Add enough ice to fill the glass about a third. Add the rosemary and julienned grapefruit peel and give a quick stir. Fill the glass with ice and add the sparkling mineral water. Stir again to distribute all the ingredients evenly and beautifully. Add a straw and serve

To make julienned grapefruit peel, carve off a couple swaths of grapefruit peel with a y peeler about 3 inches long. Then use a knife to cut the swathes into thin strips. Conversely, you may use a julienne peeler but they have a habit of getting jammed. 

One of my favorite flavor pairings is grapefruit with rosemary. Rosemary pairs incredibly well with pork and oily flavors and I really wanted to start with a dry cocktail to contrast the richer flavors of this first course. The extra citrus kick of Tanqueray no. TEN is a natural choice for an aperitif given its botanical profile. The citric acid and carbonic acid of the sparkling mineral water help cut through the richness and help to stimulate the palate for the upcoming meal. Pear and fig are natural complimenting flavors that go with pork and have a mild floral component that pairs with elderflower and chamomile. I enjoy having complimenting flavors with contrasting sweetness when regarding food and drink pairing.

Review: Whistlepig Piggyback 100% Rye

Color (5%):  Faint light caramel, to golden hay hues. Doesn't really thin out at the edges at all. 5/5

Nose (10%):  nice roasted aroma. rye, baking spice, tobacco, peppercorn, heather honey. fairly light on the aroma for the proof. lightness is alright but I expected more punch. 8/10

Palate (20%): starts with light brown sugar sweetness. dry oak, leather. a nice sweet and spicy whiskey, a good oaky note given the 6 years in a colder environment. good for mixing in cocktails. decent on its own. 14/20

Finish (10%): actually a swift hit of spice that very quickly fades into a light mild finish. medium length. Not a rough alcohol burn at all. 7/10

Overall Impression and Harmony (30%): Not my favorite whiskey for sipping neat but seems perfectly good for sours or other cocktails. It's a pretty balanced rye all around but nothing exceptional in any particular direction. It's clearly made by a professional and doesn't have that harsh ethanol burn many whiskeys have had for me lately when I sip them neat. Very similar to other Canadian ryes I've had.  17/30

Retry on Ice (25%): I do think this genuinely makes it better. Things really start to come out in terms of spices. much more bite and punch. Still very clean but the flavor is more pronounced. 22/25

Total Ranking: 73% Legendary, Amazing, GreatGood, Fair, Average, Tolerable, Swill

Estimated Fair Price: $28
Actual Price: $50

Conclusion: Apparently Dave Pickerell designed this whiskey for the purpose of it being used in cocktails and as a more budget-friendly to the more expensive Whistlepig options. I have extreme respect for the late Dave Pickerell. The thing is it's still a pricey rye. I can see how certain bars could use this for signature menu cocktail options as a promotion. In fact, my current place of employment uses this for one of their drinks at the $16 price mark. I wouldn't buy this at MSRP. It's fine though but there are better options for sipping at that price and cheaper options for cocktail purposes. 

Fact Sheet: 100% Rye
Distillery Location: Vermont, source from Canada unknown
ABV: 48.28%
Age Statement: 6 years in American oak barrels