Winter is citrus season. Those willing to explore past their local grocer will be rewarded with exotic citrus that may not lend itself to the casual peel n’ eat but will provide a complex flavor experience for other tasks. I know few people who are more dedicated in finding exotic citrus for use in cocktails than Mr. Manhattan, who turned me onto the bergamot orange.
The bergamot’s claim to fame is that it’s the crucial ingredient in Earl Grey tea. It is the extracted essence of the peel that gives the tea its quintessential flavor. To smell a bergamot orange is to quickly comprehends its magic. Countless chefs have championed its flavors in dishes around the globe.
It’s no newcomer to the cocktail scene, either. Range in San Francisco modified their fantastic Third Rail cocktail to create the B-Line, incorporating bergamot with stunning success. Mr. Manhattan has written about the bergamot as well, and introduced his own concoction, the Calabria, which I find to be quite delightful.
The bergamot is quite sour and makes a better substitute for lemon than for traditional orange. Its breathtaking aroma and complex flavors, however, add a whole new dimension to cocktails. I looked to the classic Clover Club cocktail for inspiration to create my own bergamot twist and so far the reaction has been fantastic. So, have a dinner party and impress your friends with this divine tipple using some homemade ingredients and exotic citrus.
To make this libation you’re going to need some grenadine. Please don’t go to your local mart and purchase some food coloring-ladened high-fructose corn syrup that gets passed off as grenadine. Homemade grenadine is so simple to make that you will never purchase the fake stuff again. You simply need some unsweetened pomegranate juice, (such as POM), and sugar. Take two cups of POM and bring it to a boil. Quickly reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer until the POM is reduced in half. Once it’s reduced, stir in the sugar until it’s fully dissolved. Remove from heat and you’re done. I’d recommend getting some nice sealable glass flasks, (container store has great ones), to store your grenadine. A plastic container will do, otherwise. Your creation should last in the fridge for up to a month. You can prolong its life by bottling it with a splash of high proof vodka.
Earl of Clubs
- 1 ½ oz Gin (Brokers 94 proof)
- 1 oz Bergamot Orange Juice
- ½ oz Homemade Grenadine
- 1 egg white (bring egg to room temperature first, if possible)
Separate the egg white from the yolk and drop into your shaker first, then pour in the rest of the ingredients. I’d recommend using a proper Boston Shaker as most 3-piece shakers don’t seal well enough for egg white drinks. Give the drink a dry shake first, (no ice), to foam up the egg white. If you’re using a 3-piece shaker and having trouble getting it to foam I recommend removing the spring from your hawthorne strainer and dry shaking with it inside your shaker. Then, add your ice and give it another vigorous shake as egg white drinks don’t do as well with a limp-wristed shake. Strain into a cocktail glass and you should be rewarded with a divine cocktail with a beautiful foam on top.