This time we’ll extract some flavour to vodka, and use the resulting liquid as the base for the cocktails. I’ll soak a lot of different things in the future posts, but now we’ll concentrate on licorice.
MANUFACTURING LICORICE VODKA
Pour some licorice in glass jar – go on, pour in the whole bag! Use basic licorice, not those weird things with some filling etc. Then add vodka until all of the licorice is covered. Put the lid on. Give the jar a little shake for every hour or so.
How long will it take until you have some decent licorice-flavoured vodka to use? Depends on which licorice brand you use, but in my experience it takes 4-8 hours of soaking to get satisfactory result. When liquid looks like a “Coca-Cola that has been watered down a bit” it’s time to strain.
WARNING: don’t soak too long! It’s better to soak too little than too much: oversoaking produces too strong licorice flavour which suffocates every other aroma in the cocktail.
Also… most licorice brands turn into disgusting-looking grey lumps which you’ll be happy to get rid of, but some brands still look edible after their prolonged vodka-bath… DON’T! No matter what, they’ll taste horrible… even if you’ll mix them with ice cream etc. Trust me, I’ve tried.
Now it’s time to use our licorice vodka for cocktails with dark undertones!
This is one of my most praised concoctions.
Let’s see… Harley Quinn… She’s homicidial maniac, so it’s appropriate that her drink looks a bit like blood. Her outfit is mostly black and red… and if you succeed in extraction process, the cocktail actually tastes “black and red”. And let’s not forget the mallet she’s carrying behind her back… after couple of these you’ll feel like mauled. Make no mistake, this drink is much stronger than taste suggests!
-4 parts licorice vodka
-1 part Crème de Cassis de Dijon
-1 part lime juice
Shake with ice and strain into chilled Old Fashioned glass filled with ice. Everything as cold as possible.
BORN ON A MONDAY
Solomon Grundy… that sad character in the sewer. I must admit I prefer that poor ol’ Sol of the 80’s over modern-day raging monster, but hey: that’s only my opinion. This cocktail is inspired by that ragtag shambler: I was scared/excited of him (it) when I was a child.
Story about how this drink came into being… Friend of mine brought me a bottle of Vana Tallinn. “This is some vile s**t! I dare you, make some decent cocktail out of it!”
Okay, I wasn’t a big fan of Vana Tallinn either… it’s horribly sweet, and those herbs and spices don’t seem to blend with any other taste… but the gauntlet had been thrown down, I had to accept the challenge! I tried and tried, but every experiment ended in disaster. Finally I buried half-empty bottle in my cabinet, hoping that my friend would forget the whole thing…
…and then, Eureka! I was testing licorice vodka, and recollected that god-forsaken V.T.bottle… made a mix and instantly, upon tasting, I thought of S. Grundy.
-1 part licorice vodka
-1 part Vana Tallinn
Shake with ice and strain into chilled Old Fashioned glass filled with ice. As with H.Q., everything must be as cold as possible. Garnish with orange wedge… bright colour isn’t very “grundyish”, I know, but try tasting orange while drinking: aromas really blend.
One final word about this cocktail… I developed it last September. Last week, just before I started this blog, I found out that Liviko released special edition of Vana Tallinn to celebrate Finland’s 100th birthday (2017)… V.T. with licorice flavour!
Haven’t tried it yet, but looks like it’s basically bottled “Born on Monday”…although probably much sweeter. Anyway, I publish this recipe in spite of Special Edition V.T.
Talking about sad characters, perverted version of Superman… everything Bizarro does is backwards or somehow rwogn. So If Clark Kent, country boy from Kansas, drinks milk… then Bizarro drinks milk which is somehow “tainted”.
-2 parts licorice vodka
-1 part milk
Shake with ice and strain into chilled Old Fashioned glass filled with ice. If you find the taste too “stingy” try cream instead of milk… but stingy / weird / wicked taste is kinda whole idea.
So, you’ve probably realized that licorice vodka can be mixed with a lot of substances. Experience, explore… and please tell me about your inventions.
Happy New Year, everyone! See you in 2017: all the recipes so far have been more or less on the sweet side, I’ll be back with sour and/or dry cocktails.