Less is More: Lighter Spring Cocktails & Sugary Lemon Oil
Less is More
A recipe utilizing three “lighter touch” cocktail trends for spring
It’s easy to think of cocktails as a vessel for the base spirit. After all, the full name of the Old Fashioned is Old Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail, which makes sense when you consider that the drink is really just two ounces of whiskey adorned with a hint of sweetness, a dash of bitters and some citrus oil.
But when you turn this concept on its head and begin to think of spirits as nothing more than a flavoring agent, things can get pretty interesting. Low ABV cocktails aren’t just for teetotallers; these drinks can be just as complex as their high proof cousins, while allowing the opportunity to enjoy more than one drink at your next gathering.
Fortified wines (think vermouth, and sherry, and port) or sparkling wines work well in this style of drinks, but you can also try experimenting with aperitivo like Campari or Aperol to add some bitter elements. In this recipe the citrus notes in Watershed Four Peel Gin help to brighten the cocktail and balance out the dry and slightly flavors of Amontillado Sherry.
With the so called “Cocktail Renaissance” came a wave of bartenders looking to create more complex cocktails, and with that came a long list of ingredients, many of which were tough to find and harder to pronounce. Now a full 10+ years into the rise of the craft cocktail, bartenders are scaling back and simplifying their recipes. Four ingredient cocktails are the norm and on most cocktail menus you can find a few three-ingredient original cocktails reminiscent of simple classics like the Negroni, or Manhattan.
No (or at least low) Waste
If the farm-to-table movement got chefs and customers thinking more about where there food comes from, and how it affects the environment, then consider Trash Tiki the farm-to-table movement of the bar world. Trash Tiki is a traveling pop-up and online resource founded by Kelsey Ramage and Iain Griffiths that preaches the gospel of sustainability in bar programs—simple things like making plastic straws available only by request, using the peels of juiced citrus or getting rid of garnishes all together—and bars all around the world are beginning to adopt some of their techniques in attempt to lower their environmental impact.
The next time you are making a round of drinks at home using fresh lemon juice, consider saving the peels to make a quick and easy Oleo Saccharum. Don’t worry, the process is way less complicated than pronouncing Oleo Saccharum. All you have to do is take those lemon peels, add them to sugar and muddle it all together for a bit, then let it sit. The sugar helps extract the lemon oil from the peels and you’re left with a sweet and citrusy liquid that can be the base for a punch, or you can strain out the peels and use it in a cocktail like we’ve done in the recipe above. Cheers to drinks we can feel good about.
Learn more at Watershed Distillery’s bottle shop, located at 1145 Chesapeake Ave. Suite 4, Columbus, 43212. Find additional recipes and learn more about Watershed at www.watersheddistillery.com
Oleo Saccharum: How to make sugary lemon oil
Ingredients & Equipment
1 cup white sugar
Muddler, or wooden spoon
Peel lemons using a vegetable peeler, to remove the zest trying to not include the white pith. Place peels into a bowl then gently toss the sugar in with the peels. Using a muddler or wooden spoon begin to pound the peels into the sugar to express the oils from the peels. Let peels sit for an hour, then strain into a jar or bottle of your choosing. Use oil in cocktails, or juice the peeled lemons and use the oil as a lemonade starter.
.25 ounce Oleo Saccharum
.5 ounce Honey Syrup (1:1 water and honey)
.5 ounce Four Peel Gin
1.5 ounce Amontillado Sherry
Built over ice in Collins glass, topped with soda or leftover sparkling wine.