Slán, in Gaelic, roughly translates to “goodby”. That is the theme for this Month’s Mixology Monday. It’s over. It’s done. Kaput. So now is goodby to the World’s Best Online Cocktail Party. Hosted by our leader and fearless cat herder, Frederic Yarm of the Cocktail Virgin Slut blog, the actual theme for the final Mixology Monday is the Irish Wake. A most appropriate way to say, “Slán”
Wow! Mixology Monday I, April, 2006. Almost 11 years ago. Back then, you probably had a Motorola RAZR with 5 MB of memory and a VGA camera. Trendy people had a Nokia Chocolate. Or, if you were into taking pictures, you might have had a Sony Erickson with a whopping 3.0 megapixel camera! You listened to music on your iPod but there were no iPhones. No. 9 Park, Milk & Honey, Employees Only and Bourbon & Branch were cranking out the cocktails we love, but they weren’t using St. Germain. It would be a year before that was introduced. How things change.
It would be interesting to know how many cocktails were posted and how many individuals participated in the 115 Mixology Mondays since April, 2006. I’ve participated for only a little over 2 years. I’ve always looked forward to it and had the privilege of hosting twice. I will miss Mixology Monday.
For me, toasting to someone’s memory calls for a shot. Unfortunately, I have raised a glass for several family members and friends that left us. Some were far too young. The one Mixology Monday I missed over the past two years was when a close friend died and I wasn’t feeling too creative. But an essential part of a wake is to celebrate the life that’s ended.
I find that creating a new shot is a bit difficult. While you can sip a shot, they are by nature made to be downed quickly. This means that you’re not going to savor the flavors. So subtlety is out the window. Plus, shots are generally not served cold. This means that sweet, sour and salt are dramatically different.
I usually try not to get too esoteric or or use a bunch of ingredients in my cocktails. This time I’ve done both. The Slán combines Irish whiskey, fernet, blood orange liqueur, Pineau des Charentes and Punt e Mes infused with coffee and roasted cocoa nibs. The infusion only took an hour, but it does need to be made in advance. When you offer someone a shot, it matters how much effort you put into its preparation.
All of these ingredients are very good as stand alone drinks. I think that Jameson has developed some really amazing whiskeys and their Black Barrel is one of the best. The Luxardo Fernet is one of my favorites. It is a touch sweeter than most. I had to mess with the Punt e Mes adding coffee and a touch of chocolate. I’ve only recently started using Solerno, but I’m intrigued with the blood orange. The Penau des Charence adds a touch of sweetness and richness from the cognac.
Even though this is a shot and goes down quickly, there is a lot going on. The nose is Irish Whiskey, with the distinct caramel and malt of the Black Barrel, there is also vanilla and herbs. The taste is caramel and toffee from the Jameson with sweetness from the Penau with a background of bitterness from the Punt e Mes and the Fernet. There is also coffee, orange and touch of woodiness from the Jameson and the Fernet, especially on the finish. Here’s the recipe:
- 1 1/2 oz. Jameson Black Barrel Irish Whiskey
- 1/4 oz. Coffee & Roasted Cocoa Nib Infused Punt e Mes – see below
- 1/4 oz. Penau des Charence
- 1/8 oz. Luxardo Fernet
- 1/8 oz. Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with 1 or 2 ice cubes.
- Stir to chill slightly
- Strain into 2 shot glasses
Punt e Mes Infused with Coffee and Roasted Cocoa Nibs
- 250 ml (8 oz) Punt e Mes plus more for diluting
- 30 gm Cracked Black Coffee Beans
- 3 Tbl Cocoa Nibs
- Heat the oven to 325
- Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and scatter the cocoa nibs across the pan.
- Roast in the oven until they smell like fresh brownies – about 10 min
- Crack the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle or a baggie and rolling pin
- In a lidded glass jar, combine all of the ingredients and allow to infuse for 1 hr.
- Strain through a metal coffee filter and then through a paper coffee filter
- Taste and dilute with additional Punt e Mes to taste. I added an additional 1/2 by volume.
- Keeps refrigerated for a few weeks.
So here is to all of those who followed or contributed to this and all of the Mixology Mondays past:
May the road rise up to meet you, and the wind be at your back.
May the best of your past be the worst of your future.