Lillet variations and the Bon Homme Richard

by Stevi on February 11, 2008

in Brandy,Liqueurs,Mixology Monday,Rum,Vermouth

I spent much of today eagerly refreshing my RSS feed and reading the new Mixology Monday posts, hosted this month at Jimmy’s Cocktail Hour. I wasn’t sure what to post on myself – as a rank newbie to the cocktail world, most of my variations have involved trying out the variations I’m finding in many other blogs. It’s scary to try completely new things.

I thought maybe I’d experiment a little more with the Corpse Reviver #2. Lillet is one of those revelatory discoveries for me. I reread the Kaiser Pengiun post, and followed the link to the eGullet thread on Lillet drinks. Having just bought a bottle of apricot brandy, the Culross seemed like a a drink to try.

I initially tried the CocktailDB recipe listed by Chuck Taggart, which he seemed happy with. I found it a tad too sweet. I think I was mostly held back by the fact that the only apricot brandy I’ve found so far here in the Washington state liquor stores on the Eastside is DeKuypers. Also, I used Mount Gay Eclipse rum, not having any white rum on hand, which may be a little too assertive for the balance.

The Culross Cocktail (Cocktail DB variation)
1 ounce Lillet blanc.
1 ounce rum. (Mount Gay Eclipse)
1 ounce apricot brandy
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice

It was drinkable, but not something I’d make again. I gave my trusted and far more cocktailian cohort, Bryan, a taste, and he had basically the same opinion.

Chuck’s post mentioned having found another variation he might try, so I gave it a shot:

The Culross Cocktail (via Chuck Taggart on eGullet)

2 oz rum (Mount gay eclipse)
1/2 oz Lillet blanc
1/2 oz apricot brandy
1/4 oz fresh lemon juice

As I suspected, the Mount Gay utterly overpowered this. The initial mix was nigh undrinkable. so I poured it back into the mixing glass, poured in another 1/2 oz of Lillet, shook a bit more, and tasted again. Better…but still not special. The rum was still too dominant and it needed, ironically, some sweetness.

I didn’t want to make the same mistake of letting the apricot brandy dominate. I reshook the drink with 1/2 oz of Grand Marnier, and tasted…and it tasted good. A little watered down. OK, a lot watered down, from three shakes. But it was tasty. It had a nice body and that broad range of flavors i was looking for. We sipped the the new drink, pondered names, and decided I should make some more. Bryan initially liked the the level of water in the first drink, but i suspected with less it would be brighter and better. The second round proved me out.

Bryan suggested the name – looking for some tie among Scotland (having started with the Culross), the English Navy (rum) and France (most the rest of the ingredients), he came up with the:

Bon Homme Richard
2 oz rum (Mount Gay Eclipse)
1 oz Lillet blanc
1/2 oz apricot brandy
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
1/4 oz lemon juice

next variation is, of course, to try this with a proper apricot brandy!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

anonymous December 31, 1969 at 4:00 pm
ikkyu2 February 11, 2008 at 11:13 pm

I will continue to plug Noilly Prat dry in this space until you see the error of your ways.


anonymous February 11, 2008 at 11:19 pm

i have, in fact, managed to find and purchase a legal bottle of noilly prat.

but all due respect, it ain’t lillet blanc.


anonymous February 12, 2008 at 6:02 am

Noilly Prat drat – oh yes, I recall that – the “Miller Light” of france! I’ll insist we use that when we are homeless – it will definitely help then.


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