I cannot begin to express what a rewarding experience teaching Sunday School has been for me. I am still amazed that you all come and hang out, learn and have fun with me. I am so grateful. As we were coming up with the next semester of classes, we really wanted to push ourselves to bring some fun and unique ideas to the table. The fun thing about this job is that I never stop learning. There are always new techniques, old traditions, and countless cocktails to taste and master. I’m never going to call myself an expert but always a student who happens to like to share what she learns. There are a lot of whimsical and kooky trends in the cocktail world (blended Negroni anyone?) that I love reading about and researching. It’s even better when I can share some of these crazy ideas with our adventurous and trusting Sunday School students. At the end of the day, we’re having fun and that’s what matters most to me. We can learn and drink Dr. Pepper reduction out of red solo cups because that’s how we roll at Sunday School. For our first class of the year, we’re exploring the world of split base cocktails. A split base cocktail is basically taking two spirits and using both to build the foundation for your cocktail. I look at split bases as a great way to add layers of flavor to the cocktail without being tied down to one spirit taking over. You see a lot of mezcal and tequila split bases and scotch and bourbon. By far my favorite split base is bourbon and gin! It’s almost devilish how delicious some of the bourbon/gin cocktails I’ve had around town are. For today’s cocktail, I take one of my favorite ingredients to use this time of year, and create a shrub. For those not familiar, a shrub is a drinking vinegar syrup that is awesome in cocktails because it adds balance and acidity to otherwise overly sweet syrups. A split base with a shrub is beautiful because you’re creating almost a symphony of flavors, adding layer upon layer of different nuances. The bourbon adds a nice sweetness and heat, while the gin brings in botanicals and spice. Also split bases are great because it means you don’t have to decide, and really aren’t we making enough decisions this time of year?
DAY 7: THE WATSON AND HOLMES
GLASSWARE: rocks glass
GARNISH: orange peel
¾ oz Watershed Bourbon
¾ oz Watershed 4 Peel Gin
1 ½ oz persimmon shrub
1 oz soda water
METHOD: Add all ingredients, except for soda water, to a shaker tin. Shake and strain into rocks glass. Add soda water, add ice. Sip and sip.
4 cups water
4 cups brown sugar
¼ cup of tarragon
2 tbsp whole allspice slightly muddled
1 1/2 cups champagne vinegar
METHOD: Cut persimmons into cubes. In a medium sized pot over medium-high heat, add sugar and water. Once sugar has dissolved, add persimmon, tarragon and allspice. Bring mixture up to a boil and then lower heat. Simmer for 40 minutes. Take mixture off the heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer, making sure to press down hard on the soft persimmon. Allow mixture to cool. Once mixture has cooled add vinegar and keep in an airtight container.
LIKE A VIRGIN: Shrubs are one of my favorite things to make because they make for fun non-alcoholic options for your guests who don’t partake in spirits. They’re also a great alternative for overly sweet sodas or juices that you would otherwise be serving. I like to set up a nice bar with the shrub in a bottle next to some seltzer water and then also bottles of booze. This way the guest is free to make a choice about what they’d like to drink, and I’m not excluding anyone.
Cheers, and I hope to see everyone in our January class for more split base madness.
Your neighborhood bar geek,