“I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table,
after four I’m under my host.”
— Dorothy Parker
So one night recently I was watching Springwatch on the Beeb and sipping a wee dram of Scotland’s finest. After the show I went to waste some time on the machine – Empire Deluxe Enhanced Edition being my latest addiction. At some point I thought a bit of Cointreau would finish off the evening, so I poured a small slug. It was late and the room is not well lit – at least that’s my excuse for not noticing that a small amount of single malt still remained in the glass.
On the surface this looks like a recipe for disaster, but the result was intriguing. The main impression was the dry intense orange flavour of Cointreau, but somehow the smoky, peaty malt added a very pleasing edge to the concoction.
The result is a new cocktail which I strongly recommend to my broad-minded readership. After a full round of testing (oh the lengths I go to in search of the truth!) the ideal mix turns out to be 1 1/4 ounces of Cointreau to 1/4 ounce of Laphroiag Quarter Cask. No ice or branch water is required.
If you aren’t a fan of the smoky Listerine flavour of Laphroaig (pauvre toi) I reckon that most any island malt would work, so feel free to substitute Talisker, Jura, Lagavulin or Highland Park. Caol Ila 16 year-old is particularly lush. (Sound of keyboard interrupted by a sip and a sigh of contentment).
This experience reminds me of a time a few years ago when we were again working through the liquor cabinet in advance of a move of F&E. If you spend a bunch of time with a cocktail recipe book you may conclude, as we did, that a lot of recipes come from this sort of Availability Based Serendipity (ABS). The classic cocktails are straightforward: a martini is an excuse to drink straight gin; rum goes well with fruit juices etc. But the only explanation for such oddities as, e.g,, the Bowery Cocktail (Dubonnet, gin, brown sugar and Angostura bitters) is a late evening when all the standard beverages have gone downrange and necessity becomes the mother of invention.
So in that spirit I give you my new cocktail – the Burnt Orange. Try it and let me know what you think.