Thursday, March 1, 2018

Bottle Swap: Banane du Brésil

Banana Bread

It's finally time for another bottle swap with our good friend Adam of Mr. Muddle! I say "finally" because we organized this one and swapped the bottles before I got pregnant with Luke, and it's been on hold now for over a year. And let me tell you, this Giffard Banane du Brésil has been burning a hole in my bar. I did not expect it to become an ingredient I used frequently. Banana can be such an overpowering flavor and aroma. But I have been shocked to find myself reaching for this bottle over and over again. I try not to post recipes with ingredients I haven't officially introduced, but with this one I couldn't help it. It found its way into my Banana Stand for #TikiTheSnowAway (which was featured in an article by Liquor.com, by the way!) and my Savannah Sunrise for Amarula. It was also great in the L'Acajou, which I posted on Instagram. Banane du Brésil has probably been the single most surprising thing I've added to my bar.

I think Banane du Brésil is so good because it's not just some sugary banana-flavored liqueur. It's made from a mixture of neutral grain spirits macerated with bananas and a spirit actually distilled from bananas. A bit of Cognac adds the finishing touch. It's sweet, yes, but it has a rich flavor like caramelized bananas with hints of vanilla. I've just been shocked at how versatile it is. Mixing it with bourbon or aged rum brings out its richer notes, while lime juice and coconut play up its more tropical banana flavors.

Banane du Brésil

Price: $35
Alcohol content: 25%
Popular cocktails: Often added to daiquiris, Tiki drinks, and spirit-forward rum cocktails

Brown Butter Washed Rum

For this cocktail, I was inspired by a drink I had at Blossom Bar in Brookline that had both banana liqueur and brown butter in the ingredient list. I love baking and cooking with brown butter, and fat-washing a spirit with it seemed genius. And it was. I know this post is supposed to be about the banana liqueur, but this brown-butter washed rum is AMAZING.

I've only fat-washed a spirit once before, when I made an olive oil-washed gin. Fat washing is one of those techniques that sounds intimidating but is actually incredibly easy. Basically, it involves mixing a spirit with a fatty substance like butter or oil and then chilling or freezing the mixture until the fat separates and rises to the top. Once the fat is strained out, the spirit retains its flavor. It can be done with a number of different fats and spirits. I've seen bacon-washed whiskey, coconut oil-washed Campari, sesame oil-washed gin, and more.

Washing an aged rum with brown butter gives it an incredible rich, toasty, buttery flavor that goes perfectly with Banane du Brésil.

Brown Butter Washed Rum

Brown Butter-Washed Rum

1 stick butter
1 cup aged rum (I used Plantation 5-Year)

Place butter in a saucepan and melt over medium heat, swirling the pan frequently. The butter should melt and then begin to foam up. Continue to swirl the pan frequently until the foam begins to go down, brown solids appear, and the butter gets a toasty, nutty aroma. Remove from heat and slowly stir in the rum - the butter will foam and sizzle a little. Let cool slightly and transfer to a cup measure or jar. (This is the stage pictured above.) Let cool completely. A layer of fat will begin to form on the surface of the rum. Once it is cool, transfer it to the fridge for 48 hours, then stir it to break up the fat and strain it through a coffee filter or cheesecloth. Store in the fridge for up to a week.

With my Banane du Brésil and my brown butter rum, I wanted to create a cocktail that basically tasted like banana bread. It's sweet, nutty, and boozy with a thick, buttery texture. It's downright decadent. And it does a nice job of showcasing this fantastic banana liqueur.

Don't forget to head over to Mr. Muddle to check out the Pratfall: peaty Scotch, Banane du Brésil, maple syrup, and apricot liqueur!

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

1 1/2 oz. brown butter washed rum
3/4 oz. Giffard Banane du Brésil
1/2 oz. Amaro Averna
1/4 oz. Allspice Dram
1 dash maple walnut bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over one large ice cube and garnish with banana chips and walnuts.

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