Alton Brown Knows Cocktails
I'm currently watching a Tivo'd episode of Alton Brown's Good Eats called Raising the Bar. I had held off watching this episode, because I feared that it would be like most other cooking shows--showcase some godawful tiki drinks, Appletinis, or tell you to keep your vodka in the freezer.
However, I should have trusted Alton. He always does his research. Good show, Alton. Good show.
Good stuff to note:
- Breaking down cocktails into "chords"--you have a base note (spirit), a modifier (mixer), and an accent (bitters, citrus, olive, etc). Some cocktails are two notes, some three, some more. The chord idea nicely encompasses the balance and harmony idea of a good cocktail.
-Making "Mr. Bond" a proper martini (gin, stirred). Because "gin is vodka, with herbs and juniper added." I never really thought about adding the olive first, either--it mixes the brine into the drink. Nice touch, even if I will never drink one (olives I can only take in extremely small doses ideally smothered with other ingredients).
- The nutritional anthropologist also likes real daiquiris. With fresh lime juice. And simple syrup. And I didn't know that making simple syrup (2 parts sugar to one water, boil, then simmera few minutes) breaks about the sucrose into fructose and glucose, which is sweeter than sucrose, plus it resists crystallization. From which I infer that if you have crystals in your simple syrup, you either used the wrong proportions or didn't simmer it long enough. You learn something new every day!
Sadly though, with the Mint Julep he made two unfortunate errors: bad southern accent, and he used the wrong end of the muddler.