Mar 31, 2014

Cocktail Recipe: Res Judicata

Res Judicata Recipe
Res Judicata at Drink

It's time again for a tasty cocktail recipe that few have heard of, made up of ingredients that many have never heard of.  This cocktail was created by Devon at Drink, and is a variant off of a Brooklyn.  I'll give the recipe first, and then move on to any of my thoughts about it.

Res Judicata (Pronounced 'Race Jyu-di-ca-ta')

1 ounce Bigallet China China
1.5 ounces Laphroig 10 Year
0.5 ounce maraschino
lemon peel

Shake the china china, laphroig and maraschino with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon peel.

Let's talk a little about the unusual ingredients. There are some people who consider drinking scotch in any way other than in a glass with whiskey stones (to not water it down) a travesty.  If this is you, just back away slowly and pretend that you never saw this drink. I am not one of those people. Scotch can be a little harsh at times, but can also have some nice subtle flavors that range from a bit of caramel to the almost magic marker nose and smokey flavor that come with others.  Not being a huge scotch person myself, I am sure that there are many other options than that, and I am happy to let those passionate about the subject wax rhapsodic elsewhere.    But, just because something works well on its own doesn't mean that combining it with something else can't make something else that is tasty.  Personally I think that Edradour is a very good scotch that plays exceptionally well with amaretto.

Bigallet China China is a French liqueur dating back to the early 1800s.  Personally, I had never heard of it before Devon made this drink for a friend of mine. To give you the short story, it's a very complex bitter liqueur with orange, cardamom, cinnamon, and licorice. Also quinine, which could be of interest if you are a Victorian explorer with malaria.  As I am not, it is not something I would personally want to drink straight, but the flavors play well with the smokey nature of the Laphroig.

It has taken me a long time to really appreciate the importance of garnishes in a cocktail.  In a good cocktail bar, garnishes are not just window dressing to try to illicit an extra tip. Except for the little umbrellas or other non food item garnishes (even liquid, adult Happy Meals sometimes come with free toys!). Most other garnishes actually add flavor to the drink.  Don't believe me?  Just try this little experiment.  You can use the recipe above, or even something simple like a gin and tonic.  Just as long as it is a beverage that would normally have a fruit peel garnish.

  1. Make the drink as usual, but without the garnish.  Take a sip.  If you want, you can break it out into 3 smaller cups for comparison.
  2. Peel 2 strips of peel to use as the garnish.  For one, just take the colored part of the skin.  For the second, cut deeper so that the bottom is white.
  3. Take the peel that has the pith on it (the white underpeel) and rub that white part along the rim of the glass.  Take a sip.  It will be a bit more bitter.  Grab a damp napkin, and wipe off the rim (so that the bitterness doesn't affect the last portion of your test).
  4. Take the other piece of peel, run it around the rim again, and then twist it a little over the drink.  For this one, feel free to drop it into the drink (I just didn't want you to ruin your drink in step 3).  Now take a sip.  This time, you should be able to taste a very minor, but important difference between the first naked sip and what you have now.  But you are still avoiding the bitterness of the pith.
If you don't notice any difference, or if you preferred the first, naked cocktail, then great! You never have to worry about garnishing that drink again! And you know a little bit more about how to order at a bar.  Otherwise, now you know a little more about the role that the garnish plays in your drink.

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