Friday, February 22, 2013

Have a Cocktail: The Easterner

So when I finally joined the 21st century and got an iPhone, I did what I assume every new smartphone user does: I gorged on apps. Things being (as a coworker used to say) as they are, rather than as they should be, one of the apps I downloaded first was a cocktails app called Mixology.

As with most of the apps I downloaded, I haven't really scratched the surface of what it can do, but I have discovered one feature that is really cool: You can search for drink recipes by ingredient. So when you have an item and you think, "I wonder what I could do with this," the answer is no farther away than your phone.

One of the items I've had handy recently is grapefruit juice: My wife and I have gotten into the habit of splitting a fresh ruby red grapefruit as an evening snack, and I find that after I've eaten all the segments, my half will yield an ounce or two of juice. Normally, I'll just drink it off, but so many great cocktails call for fresh citrus juice, and it seems a shame to waste it.

The obvious (to me, at least) pairing for grapefruit juice is gin, and there are, in fact, any number of delicious-sounding recipes for gin and juice (including Gin and Juice), but I was in the mood for something different tonight, so I keyed in grapefruit juice and... rye. And what Mixology offered me was:

The Easterner
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

That last ingredient was a bit of serendipity for me: I happen to have some local Connecticut maple syrup (from Maple Leaf Farm in Canterbury) that I purchased in a silent auction at a Democratic fundraiser, and I'm always looking for interesting ways to use it. This turns out to be a very interesting way: The maple is a perfect sweet pairing with the smokiness of the rye, and the grapefruit juice adds just the right bit of acid brightness to keep the overall drink from being... well, syrupy.

A quick search around the web turned up (on several sites) a different version that uses 2 ounces of juice and only 1 1/2 ounces of rye, and that adds grenadine, and maybe I'll try that at some point, but I doubt I'll like it better than this version, which is distinctly a whiskey drink, smooth and sweet and bright, but always with the rye out front.

Besides, with this recipe I had enough grapefruit juice to make a second. And that was a Very Good Thing™.

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