Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Have a Cocktail: Variations on Greta Christina's Half Century

Not long ago, I sang the praises of the Half Century cocktail Greta Christina created, as published on her most excellent blog. I think I must've mentioned that the secret sauce of this delightful libation was the cardamom simple syrup. The thing is, the Half Century recipe requires 1/2 oz of this nectar... but the recipe Greta provided makes nearly a pint. What to do, what ever to do?

Well, make more drinks, obviously, amirite? After making a second Half Century (just for research, of course, to verify the initial results), I set about experimenting with variations on the theme.

My first thought was to try replacing the rye with Connecticut's own Onyx Moonshine (made in nearby East Hartford) and the lime juice with lemon juice, producing what I call, in deference to the fact that Connecticut is much older than Greta, the Four Centuries:
  • 2 1/2 oz Onyx Moonshine
  • 1 oz cardamom simple syrup
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • Dash orange bitters.
 This is brighter and lighter than the original, partly because the Onyx doesn't have the woody, smoky notes of a barrel-aged whiskey, but it has the smoothness of a whiskey drink, as opposed to the sharp bite of vodka or gin. Very nice.

And then tonight I ate half a grapefruit, looked at the leftover juice in the bowl, and thought (as I have before), "hmm, I should make a cocktail with that." Thus was born the Eastern Half Century, which is a kind of cross between Greta's original and the Eastern cocktail I blogged about earlier, replacing the latter's maple syrup with the former's cardamom:
  • 2 1/2 oz rye whiskey
  • 1 1/2 oz cardamom simple syrup
  • 1 oz fresh ruby red grapefruil juice.
Also very nice. And the beauty part? I still have a couple cups of the cardamom syrup!