Normally I am not a fan of “specialty” ingredients. What’s economical and easy to make in a restaurant, for instance, can be a pain in the butt to make at home, or worse yet, end up giving you a container full of a specialty mix that’s only used in one cocktail.
That’s by no means a theory held by all mixologists. Some love to make things of their own – like our very own Marshall here. I’m often limited in what I can store, particularly in terms of refridgerated items, and my lack of ice can mean I drink less cocktails in a week than some people do.
That being said, some work has turned out really well. I made strawberry-infused tequila for my mom and she loved it. A horseradish-infused vodka that I initially made for horseradish egg sours (from David Wondrich’s _Imbibe!_) also works well for bloody marys. I also always make my own simple syrup, and sometimes my own grenadine.
Last night was another Thursday Drink Night. I actually didn’t drink that much and hadn’t read Kaiser Penguin’s post on it before it started. But after a couple glasses of wine (a rather nice 2003 Tintara cabernet sauvignon) I saw the discussion was highly focussed on cinnamon syrup. Checking KP’s website, I found the recipe he posted for it.
To be honest – it sounded really good. I had some ideas of what I wanted to do with it so finally I gave in and made it.
One caveat: it boiled over a bit. D’oh! But my roommates thought it smelled great and told me I could make it any time I wanted. Another one: I didn’t have stick cinnamon so I used .5 ounces of ground. Yet another: man, this stuff is THICK. It’ll take quite a while to seep through cheesecloth.
I didn’t have a lot of time to experiment with it so I just came up with one drink that I tentatively entitled “The Rachael Ray” to annoy people. This was:
The Rachael Ray
2 ounces Scarlet Ibis rum
3/4 ounce cinnamon syrup
1/2 ounce Castries
Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Given that this was a TDN drink, it still needs a bit of adjusting. Honestly, it might even could use more rum, or less of the other ingredients – maybe making both the Castries and cinnamon syrup 1/2 ounce, or something like that. I also haven’t decided what kind of garnish to use with it – a peanut, or a tiny bit of ground cinnamon, or a stick of cinnamon? If the later, we’d probably want to dial down the cinnamon syrup even more.
Rick should have the recap of TDN up soon, so keep an eye on Kaiser Penguin. And if you make your own simple syrup, you’ll find the cinnamon syrup pretty easy, and probably a versatile enough addition to your bar, especially as we head into fall and winter.