This month’s Mixology Monday is all about twists on classic cocktails, that for one reason or another do an even better job than the drinks upon which they are based.
This could be as simple as a classic Margarita with a dash with a special touch that completes it, or maybe as complicated as a deconstructed Hemingway Daiquiri with a homemade rum foam/caviar/jus/trifle. It might be taking a classic like a Manhattan and using Tequila instead of Bourbon?
This was a difficult theme for me. Not because it is hard, but because in some ways it is too easy. Creating a new drink by subbing one ingredient for another is how I, like countless others, began my journey into inventing my own drinks.
Usually I found that my greated substitutions had been discovered long before I tried them. I’ve even reversed engineered a classic or two by starting with the twist, not knowing it was a twist, and figuring out what the drink started as.
I was tempted to write up the Black River Sidecar, a drink of mine that won an early TDN. I had linked to Rick’s great writeup of the drink when he posted it (my prize for winning), but had never posted the recipe here. But I realized I’d never be able to match his funky garnish, and decided I wanted to try something new.
A drink I’m finding remarkably versatile is the Negroni. Initially it seemed to me that this combination of Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin would be hard to tinker with, working largely on its marriage of specific flavors.
Many experiments with it involve subbing another amaro, such as Aperol, for the Campari, or a different aromatized wine, such as Punt e Mes, for the sweet vermouth.
Then I discovered the Agavoni, which trades the gin for tequila, and creates an equally delicious, if very different drink.
Since I was able to participate in TDN Mount Gay XO at Vessel, I still have a fair amount of my bottle left. I realized that it, too, might have the strength to stand up to Campari and sweet vermouth. And so it did. And so I give you the Rumgroni.
1 oz dark rum (Mount Gay Extra Old)
1 oz Campari
1 oz sweet vermouth
Build over ice.
The molasses and oak from the MGXO are surprisingly dominant on the nose. This is a much drier drink than either the Negroni or the Agavoni. I might be tempted to add a little honey mix next time.
What’s your favorite variation on a cocktail classic? Check out the roundup of the opinions of this months Mixology Monday partipants over at The Wild Drink Blog!