Ever stump a bartender? Maybe… but not here in Columbus. Throughout the year, our sister publication (614) Magazine hosts various challenges from one bartender to the next utilizing a variety of oddball ingredients. Much to our surprise – and imbibing enjoyment – each has shaken and stirred their way into the cocktail lore of the city. A few of the ingredients – peep foam? just in time for Easter! – may give you the willies, but we guarantee an impressed audience at your next dinner party. Here are a trio of our favorites:
Whiskey Sour #14
- 2oz. OYO pumpernickel 3-year rye
- 3/4 oz. oleo saccharum
- 1/2 oz. Pink Peppercorn and Thyme simple syrup
- 1 egg white
- 5 drops Angostura bitters
- 3 drops orange bitters
Combine ingredients in a mixing tin and shake without ice, then add ice and shake again. Strain over chipped ice in a half crushed pink peppercorn rimed high ball glass. A basil bouquet.
The whiskey sour is a classic, and many would argue that there’s no need to mess with a classic, but they would be wrong. With pink peppercorns present in both the syrup, and rimming the glass, the flavor is unmistakable, but not overpowering, and the addition of thyme is a perfect match for the slightly sweet slightly spicy little berry from Brazil. “The Pumpernickel rye has peppercorn notes, but it’s not overwhelming,” Toaddy noted, referring to the lack of the usual spicy peppery flavor found in many traditional rye whiskeys, “so it was interesting to be adding more of that note with the pink peppercorns.”
El Ave de Las Tempestades
- 2 oz. La Caravedo Pisco
- .25 oz. Galliano
- .75 oz. Aloe Vera drink (available at any Asian or Hispanic foods store)
- .75 oz. Fresh lime juice
- Fat .5 oz rich simple syrup
- 2 dashes, Bittermens Hellfire
- 1 egg white
Add ingredients to shaker tin, shake with ice, then dry shake sans ice, strain into Collins glass, top with club soda. No garnish.
This is a summer drink through and through, and the flavors would be at home on a patio or at the pool. The lush, creamy texture is brightened with a burst of acidity that’s balanced with a touch of sweetness and herbal complexity. The aloe shines through, giving a cooling sensation not altogether dissimilar from the gel with which I am familiar. The finish is all about the heat as you transition from the cool aloe and begin to feel a slight burn from the habañero at the back of your throat.
Orange With Frenemy
- 2 oz. sweet potato “juice”
- 1.5 oz. Wild Turkey
- .5 oz. Benedictine
- .25 oz. apple cider vinegar
- 1 egg white
- Peep foam
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake vigorously. Add ice and give three or four hard shakes. Strain into a chilled coup. Spoon peep foam on top.
Obviously, weird ingredients are the point of this whole challenge, but I have to congratulate Greg on adding even more strange cocktail ingredients to the mix. Sweet potato juice and apple cider vinegar are not stocked in most bars, but in this drink they work flawlessly.
Along with Wild Turkey, the drink underneath the Peep foam included Benedictine, sweet potato juice, apple cider vinegar (to provide some acidity), and more egg whites to add viscosity and give the foam something to sit on.
“I feel like egg whites are the St. Germain of past years,” Greg said, referring to the overuse of the elderflower liqueur that led to it being nicknamed bartender’s ketchup. “But this drink needed them.”