Wednesday, January 21, 2015

blue girl

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo XCIII) was picked by Andrea of the Ginhound blog. The theme she chose was "Blue" which seems like a great way to shake off the winter "blues" with something fun. This is the first month that I am doing a double post, one on the CocktailVirgin blog and one here on the MocktailVirgin blog. Do mocktails have a place in the event? Definite! Especially considering that we did low alcohol "shims" back in November and no alcohol "Temperance" ones back last April. Andrea elaborated on this month's concept by describing, "January needs a bit of color -- or perhaps the month after all the holiday mania makes you Either way this month's Mixology Monday is a chance to live those emotions out. You can dazzle us with a brilliant blue drink or you can share that blue feeling with a melancholic drink. Blue has been predicted as a new cocktail trend several times in recent years... Feel free to interpret blue as freely as you wish -- if natural is the way you want to go blueberries, violets, cornflower or red cabbage could be good ingredients to work with."

For a mocktail idea, I thought about blue ingredients and quickly shot down a Gatorade-based libation. While blueberries might have worked, most ingredients found in nature just aren't all that blue. My friend who works for Hasbro has described why kids' drinks and foods are unnatural blue and why children seek them out -- it is like their bitters to the cocktail drinker. Bitter is something that nature tells us is dangerous, and blue is something that chemical compounders use to tell us that the anti-freeze or glass cleaner isn't to be drank. To get at that level of blueness, I opted for food coloring. And the drink that I wanted to riff off of was one of my early cocktail favorites, the White Lady. I used to make the White Lady as a gin Sidecar sans egg white, but soon, I lost my fear of eggs and began enjoying White Ladies as they were intended. While White and Pink Lady drinks are well known, certain cocktail books have the Brown Lady (made with South African Van der Hum liqueur) and the Café Royal Cocktail Book from 1937 contains the Blue Lady! Theirs used blue curaçao for the coloring.
To riff off of the Blue Lady, I would keep the lemon juice and egg white components. Instead of the blue curaçao, simple syrup and a drop of blue food coloring would suffice save for the fruit notes lost. To regain the fruit notes, the gin would be replaced by a fruit juice. Originally, I planned on using the flavorful but not overly sweet Ceres-brand passion fruit juice in my fridge, but when I opened it that night, I discovered that it had gone south. Passion fruit has a great citrus-like feel to it that would help to replace the notes lost from 86ing the alcohol-laden curaçao. As a last minute punt, I reached for pineapple juice.
Blue Girl
• 1 1/2 oz Passion Fruit or Pineapple Juice
• 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
• 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
• 1 drop Blue Food Coloring
• 1 Egg White
Shake once without ice and once with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with Fee's Bitters. Here I used Fee's Boston Cocktail Summit Bitters (similar would be their Aromatic Bitters), but I considered using their orange bitters save for the fact that they would not appear in a photo well). All of Fee's bitters are alcohol free (although the whiskey- and gin-barrel bitters have seen a barrel that previously contained alcohol).
The aromatic Fee's bitters donated an elegant gentian and cinnamon note; definitely, Fee's orange, lemon, or grapefruit bitters would work well with the flavors in the drink, although their lack of coloration would make for a less showy presentation. A creamy lemon sip shared hints of pineapple; however, most of the pineapple came through on the swallow where it was joined by cinnamon notes when the bitters on the foam worked their way into the gulp. The only change I could think of was that perhaps a flavored syrup like an alcohol-free falernum (see the BG Reynolds syrup line, for example) would work well here instead of simple syrup.

So thank you to Andrea of Ginhound for leading this month's foray into that end of the color spectrum and for all of the other Mixology Mondayists who conjured up Picasso's blue years with their shakers and mixing spoons this month! Cheers!

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