The Cardamom Rose Cocktail is a special occasion cocktail that will take you from New Year’s Eve, to Valentine’s Day, and all the way back to the winter holidays…
This cocktail combines so many things I love. And it gave me a chance to try out the Rose Simple Syrup I made on Tuesday. This drink is a good example of the craft cocktail movement, which I think is one of the most exciting niches in food today. It’s actually pushing the boundaries of our experience of flavor, and if you’ve been in a bar lately you’ve probably noticed its influence. Bartenders are experimenting with creative and unusual recipes using fresh juices, seasonal ingredients, and unusual spices and flavors.
One of the most exciting trends is that bars are making their own in house flavorings and syrups, so the creativity is just explosive. Think tinctures of tobacco, chipotle, cacao, clove… Part of the art is finding flavor marriages that make sense. Hendrick’s is a Scottish gin that’s actually flavored with rose petals and cucumber, so it’s a good paring with the rose syrup. The Peychauds Bitters are a little sweeter and have a more pronounced cherry flavor than the more common Angostura Bitters, so they complement the floral element in this cocktail too.
This drink starts with a cardamom pod. It gets lightly muddled, or crushed, at the bottom of the shaker. If you don’t have a muddler, use a wooden spoon. I like to start with a toasted pod, which just adds depth to the cardamom flavor. It’s easy to do, just toss it around in a dry pan over medium heat for a few minutes. Then in goes the gin. I don’t usually drink gin, so I used a couple of the small airline sized bottles in my collection. I keep building my collection every time I find myself in a liquor store and it really pays off when I need a certain type or brand of alcohol for a drink or recipe.
Then there is the all important dash of bitters. Bitters are such an interesting ingredient; they’re alcoholic herbal tinctures that were originally formulated as medicines, and all by themselves they do have a strong medicinal taste. They aren’t meant to be consumed alone…
Bitters are concentrated tinctures combining herbs, spices and botanicals, such as cardamom, aniseed and dried orange peel, their flavors typically (but not always) expressed in high-proof alcohol, with a bracing bitterness from gentian, quassia bark, dandelion or wormwood. Bitter is an evolutionary alarm signal sent by nature that a plant is potentially dangerous—but sometimes the risk comes with rewards. “Whenever a bitter flavor hits your tongue, it lights up your brain and sends you one of two messages: ‘This could kill you,’ or ‘This could be fun,’ ” ~~~Imbibe.com
Apparently there is something to this theory. A dash of bitters can wake up a drink like nothing else.
Serve this straight up or over ice. You can also use a martini glass if you want to. I adjusted the amounts slightly to bump up the citrus. All the flavors in this drink are evident, from the cardamom, to the rose, and the citrus. The bitters leave a pleasant heat at the back of the throat. I hope you try it, it’s very unusual and pleasing.
- 2 oz Hendrick's Gin (an airline sized bottle is just the right amount)
- 1 oz ruby red grapefruit juice
- 1 oz lemon juice
- 1/2 oz rose syrup
- 2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
- 1 cardamom pod (if you want to intensify the flavor, toast in a dry pan for a couple of minutes)
- Put the cardamom pod in a cocktail shaker and gently muddle, or crush, it. Give it just enough pressure to crack the pod and a few of the inner seeds.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and then shake well with ice.
- Strain over ice into an old fashioned glass and garnish with a rose petal.
My husband coincidentally just downloaded The Drunken Botanist, by Amy Stewart, for me on his kindle and I’ve been enjoying reading about the ways in which humans have used plants to distill, brew and embellish alcoholic drinks throughout time. The book delves into history, botany and mixology and it was a really enjoyable read. I recommend it if you want an introduction into the subject.