Monday, February 6, 2017

Devil's Backbone

Devil's Backbone

Before I talk about today's cocktail, some shameless self-promotion: a couple of weeks ago I submitted my Mediterranean Gimlet recipe to Nautical Gin's Gimlet contest, and now voting has begun. Check out all the entries on Nautical Gin's Facebook page and vote for your favorite by giving it a "like." You can find my recipe here - I'd appreciate your votes!

Whenever I'm feeling uninspired or I'm not sure what cocktail to make, I head over to Fred Yarm's blog Cocktail Virgin Slut. It's an incredible database of recipes - Fred posts at least one basically every day - and each one is accompanied by historical details, expert tasting notes, and often good suggestions for substituting the more unusual ingredients. A clickable list of spirits on the side of the page allows you to pick at least one thing you definitely want in your drink, helping to narrow down the vast number of recipes on the blog.

I was using this feature, browsing through the recipes that used amaro, when I came across the Devil's Backbone. It was really too intriguing to pass up. Two bitter liqueurs (Averna and Gran Classico) and a whole half ounce of peaty Scotch promised for a pretty intense cocktail. It seemed right up my alley.

Devil's Backbone

The Devil's Backbone smells intensely smokey with citrusy undertones. It's sweet and citrusy at the beginning of your sip, and then all the bitterness hits you, blending with smoke and peat at the end. It's big and complex and really wonderful - one of the best new cocktails I've made in a while.

If you're lacking some of the ingredients in this recipe, don't despair! You've got some options. For the Scotch, anything with a lot of smoke and peat will do - some examples are Laphroig, Lagavulin, Caol Ila, and Ardbeg. I used Compass Box's Peat Monster, which is a blended Scotch that I got for my peat-crazy husband - it's quite good. You could try subbing Amaro Montenegro or maybe Ramazzotti for the Amaro Averna. And Campari is a decent substitute for the Gran Classico; Fred used Campari when he made this drink.

History: Fred got this recipe from The Complete Cocktail Manual by Lou Bustamante, but it was originally created by Chris Lane at Lolinda in San Francisco. The idea behind the recipe was to use two whiskeys, two amari, and two types of bitters.

Devil's Backbone

1 oz. rye whiskey
1/2 oz. smoky single malt Scotch
3/4 oz. Averna
1/2 oz. Gran Classico
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash orange bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a coupe and garnish with an orange twist.

Recipe from Cocktail Virgin Slut.

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