Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A conceptual drink for the 2014 Milestones Western Regional Bev Comp

Releasing information on the concept of a drink I'm making for our company's bev comp could potentially be a big mistake.  Especially two months prior to the event's hosting. However, a few things have occurred to me. Firstly, the prize money isn't what's important to me - it's the legacy I leave when I win. Secondly, I might not even get to go to the bev comp, as I have not only a job opportunity overseas, but a few prospects closer to home as well. And lastly, I don't really want to sit on the chance to reveal my creation to the public. Which is what I'm going to do here, now.

Perhaps the most important ingredient of the cocktail, is the rose. I made a specialty simple syrup using rose water, and rose buds, that is key to the drink's identity. The idea, is that I not only want to give a really good tasting and unique drink to customers, but also something that takes into account the appearance and aroma of the cocktail. The one major difference in regards to the final recipe for the rose syrup is that it's going to require a better source of color than rose buds. Originally I had hoped to use petals, but I had difficulty finding petals that I thought would be safe for consumption. The buds were essentially a stand-in until I can get the product I need.

Regardless of all that, here's the recipe below.

Rose Simple Syrup
  • 1 cup water  
  • 1 cup rose water 
  • 2 cups white sugar 
  • 1/2 cup rose buds 
Add water and rose water to a pot or saucepan. Add sugar once mixture comes to a boil, and let dissolve. Lower temperature to simmer and add rose buds once sugar has completely dissolved. Allow rose buds to transfer colour to mixture and strain after few minutes. Put syrup into a container and let cool in refrigerator.

The biggest downside of using rose buds is that they seem to give the syrup a maroon colour, and the rose buds in the final drink itself have an unpleasant texture. As I mentioned earlier, I didn't get to try the mixture with petals, but I'm assuming that 1/2 a cup should work with that as well.

Now onto the drink itself. The whole thing was a little bit risky and dicey. My first decision was that I wanted to mix two base spirits, with no liqueurs for extra flavoring. I want all the flavor to come directly from the spirits, juice, and spices involved. Making a two spirit cocktail can be quite shady, though, I already decided on the spirits I would try. Gin, and rum.

Deciding on the Gin to use was quite easy, as Diageo sponsors our bev comp events, and they usually have a category for Tanqueray. The first thought for what kind of rum to use was Captain Morgan's Dark, which is also a Diageo product, but I decided to do some more research.  Turns out there is already a gin and rum classic cocktail called the Rumba, and they recommend using an Amber Rum such as Appleton's. The immediate problem here is that Appleton's isn't a Diageo product, but I decided to go with it anyway. The rules for the competition aren't out yet, so there may be a possibility that I can use Appleton, as long as Tanqueray is the primary spirit of the drink; which at equal proportions, should be safe.

So with the spirits decided on, and the aroma of rose being the first concept of the drink, now I had to decide what else would go into it. To be honest, the idea of some sort of Mojito with a twist was on my radar for awhile as well. Especially so, being that Mojitos are a hot item at our location. So along with the Rumba, the Mojito was the other cocktail of inspiration for this, and as such, mint had to be part of the equation. Mojitos have several primary ingredients... rum, lime juice and mint. When you think about it though, Mojitos aren't REALLY about the lime. Moreover, they aren't really about the rum, either. The rum is more of the staple tropical spirit that had to go with it because nothing else would work with it as well as rum. So I decided to take the lime juice out completely, and replace it with a much more benign citrus juice. That being, grapefruit.

So folks, here's the recipe.

  • 1 oz Tanqueray London Dry Gin 
  • 1 oz Appleton Estate Jamaican Rum
  • 3/4 oz Rose Simple Syrup
  • 1 1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
  • 4 - 8 Mint Leaves (depending on size)
  • 1 oz Rose Buds or 4 - 8 Rose Petals
  • Soda for topping off 
Muddle mint leaves in the base of a tall glass, and add rose buds/rose petals. Fill glass with ice and add Gin and Rum mixture. Continue by adding simple syrup and grapefruit juice, and shake rigorously for 5-10 seconds. Fill glass back up with ice, and top with soda water.

Possible Garnishes are a rose flower, a skewered orange wheel and rose petals.

The drink was spot on for what I envisioned.  Carrying the aromas of rose and mint with the botanical and pungent, juniper heavy gin. The flavor was spot on as well, having the sweet and sour mixture imagined from mixing grapefruit juice, simple syrup and rum. The recap is that two palettes; those of taste and scent, were actualized with this cocktail.

There are a few possible names I've considered for this drink. The first idea was the Rose Rumbito. Which I never really liked, but thought it conveyed the spirit of the drink quite well.  The next was the Rose Rumba, which I KIND of like, but think may be a little obscure. One of the positives is that it does kind of have that tropical, or Caribbean air to it. Another idea, which was a suggestion from a co-worker is the Tommy Bahama. I actually like this one quite a bit, because it's fun, and has my name in it: a good way to leave a legacy. It's also very tropical in its essence, being 'Bahamian' and all. The one flaw with the name is that it doesn't really reveal anything about it. Then again, few casual cocktails do have revealing names such as the Martini.


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