My favorite words to hear in a bar are “Here, try this.”
It’s one of the perks that come with being a cocktail writer that bartenders want to show off their new creations to me- and usually the results are delicious. Though most of the time this happens when I’m sitting in a bar, sometimes drinks come to me via email, or via text message as in the cocktail below.
Johnny Raglin, a bartender and co-owner of Comstock Saloon in San Francisco, texted me this drink recipe and photo. It both looked and sounded delicious, so I had to go through the effort of recreating it at home to test it. Not surprisingly, it tastes amazing.
Pisco is unaged grape brandy from Peru or Chile that often manages to be both light, fruity, and earthy at the same time. Apricot brandy (which is almost never real brandy but in reality a liqueur no matter what it says on the label) ups the fruitiness of the drink, and the St. Germain elderflower liqueur adds a nice floral note. The egg white is to add that nice soft texture and frothy foam atop the drink.
I asked Raglin what he calls this drink, forgetting that he has a policy at the bar of not naming any of his cocktail creations. So rather than naming after myself, as I was tempted to do, I decided we should just keep it unnamed. This cocktail by any other name will still taste as sweet…
Unnamed Pisco Drink
By Johnny Raglin of Comstock Saloon
1 fl. oz. Pisco
1 fl. oz. Apricot Brandy
1 fl. oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1 fl. oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 Egg White
Thin strip of lime peel, for garnish
Campari “Sugar”*, for garnish (optional)
Add all ingredients except garnish to an ice-filled shaker and shake hard until frothy. Strain into a glass and garnish with lime strip and optional Campari “sugar”.
*Campari “Sugar” is dehydrated Campari. Campari is a liqueur, and thus has added sugar. You can dehydrate many liqueurs it in a food dehydrator, on a silicone sheet or pan in your oven on the lowest heat setting, or on the stovetop. I did many experiments to find the best way to dehydrate various liqueurs – read all about that here.
Atop egg white drinks, sprinkled dehydrated liqueurs give a surprising flavorful crunch amidst the soft foam. I first saw this done in Vancouver a year ago and the practice seems to have caught on at other bars.