Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Mocktail: Golden Orchard

Golden Orchard Fennel Mocktail

There's a great book a lot of cocktail enthusiasts have recommended to me called The Flavor Bible. This genius tome is a must-have reference for anyone who likes to develop their own recipes for food or cocktails. It goes through dozens of ingredients, from achiote seeds to zucchini blossoms, and lists other flavors that work well with them. Some combinations are obvious, while others can be quite surprising. Under pineapple, for example, you'll find banana, coconut, lime, rum, and vanilla, but also chile peppers, curry, fennel seeds, maple syrup, and star anise. There's a gold mine of cocktail ideas right there! I've found the book particularly helpful with mocktails, where I often need a little creativity boost and suggestions for ingredients I wouldn't normally think of.

I turned to The Flavor Bible for this recipe because I had a definite starting place in mind: I wanted to do something with fennel. It's a favorite of mine, and I've been meaning to work it into a cocktail for some time. The Flavor Bible pointed me in the direction of a number of ingredients that are all supposed to work well with fennel and with each other: honey, almond, turmeric, and apple. It was a bit challenging to decide how to incorporate all of them; most went into a flavored syrup I made by simmering honey, water, chopped fennel, and turmeric together with a bit of almond extract added at the end. Non-alcoholic sparkling cider was a perfect apple base, and lemon juice and a bit of club soda evened out the flavors. I used Martinelli's because it's what I could find, but a drier cider would be even better - the Martinelli's is pretty intensely flavored and did its best to try and overpower the other ingredients.

This mocktail is sweet and tart, laced with subtle flavors of almond and anise. It would be a great one to pull out instead of champagne for a celebration, or to dress up the usual sparkling cider.

Golden Orchard Fennel Mocktail

I could not for the life of me come up with a good name for this drink! There are too many ingredients to keep it descriptive. The color is distinctive, but anything containing the word "orange" seemed misleading. A number of fennel puns came to mind (Fennel Word, The Fennel Countdown, That's My Fennel Offer) but I just have too much self-respect. So Golden Orchard will have to do.

Booze it up: Try an alcoholic sparkling cider!

Golden Orchard

2 oz. fennel syrup*
1 oz. lemon juice
4 oz. sparkling cider
1-2 oz. club soda, to taste

Combine fennel syrup and lemon juice in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled and strain into a stemmed glass. (Alternatively, you can build the drink in the glass, especially if your syrup is good and cold.) Add the sparkling cider and the club soda. The amount of club soda will depend on your cider; the Martinelli's is very sweet and intensely flavored, and I felt like it needed to be toned down a bit. Garnish with a sprig of fennel.

Fennel Syrup:

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1 cup chopped fennel
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp almond extract

Combine honey, water, fennel, and turmeric in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and let simmer for about ten minutes. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract. Let cool slightly before pouring through a fine strainer. Let cool completely before using.

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