Hi, Friends of Cocktails. Are you a fan of fall flavors? If so, today's cocktail is for you, because we’ll be making a Chestnut Old Fashioned! It will require some work - infusing the base spirits, making a Mushroom Perfume and finally building the drink - but it will feel like you’re tasting and smelling the autumn forest, sip by sip.
This is not the first Fall-themed cocktail we’ve made, you might remember the Scotch & Apple Highball or the HighFall, that combined buckwheat and pear, but it was time for a stiff Autumn sipper. Today’s recipe will require a similar approach to the Donut Old Fashioned, where we infused whisky with donuts and turned into a delicious Old Fashioned, but this time we’ll be using brandy - 2 in fact, a Cognac and a Calvados.
To infuse it we’ll also need some cooked chestnuts, maple syrup, allspice bitters and some citric acid solution, and afterwards we’ll milk-clarify it.
• 90mL (3oz) Cognac
• 30mL (1oz) Calvados
• 30g cooked chestnuts
• 4 dashes allspice bitters
• 15mL (0.5oz) maple syrup
• 3g citric acid solution (6%)
• 35g milk
Begin by adding the cognac, which is a brandy from the wine-growing region surrounding the Cognac commune in France. Follow that with the Calvados, a brandy from Normandy made most with apples or pears, and the cooked and nicely peeled chestnuts. You can buy these, but foraging for your cocktail ingredients makes it a little extra special. Now to give our chestnut brandy a little festive spice and richness, add 4 dashes of allspice bitters (also known as pimento bitters). If you don’t feel like making your own, Dale DeGroff sells his version on amazon.
Now to balance the bitters and add more fall notes add some maple syrup, and lastly add 6% citric acid solution - which you can make by mixing 6g of citric acid in 94g of water, but you can also use lemon juice. Adding acidity will be a crucial step for the milk clarification to work, since that’s what will make the milk curdle. You can now blend this chestnut-brandy mixture to incorporate all of the flavors, and while it blends pour the milk into a separate glass jar, then add the blended mixture into the milk.
We’ll let this sit for at least 1 hour, for the milk to fully curdle - it might not look the best, but it is what will help catch all of the solids on the coffee filter. As a tip, when clarifying make sure to refilter the first liquid that goes through the filter, as once the curds and all of the solids have settled they will act as an additional layer of filtration. This way we’ll end up with a clearer final product, as well as a brandy full of fall flavors and a smooth mouthfeel, ready to make the perfect autumn Old Fashioned.
But before making it, something that will complement the chestnut flavor will be a fungi perfume that we’ll spray over the cocktail. As the saying goes in food pairing, “What grows together, goes together”, which also sounds like an unofficial motto of House Targaryen and the Lannisters.
• 2g dried mushrooms
• 45mL (0.75oz) vodka
Begin by adding the dried mushrooms to a jar and cover them with the vodka. Foraging and drying your own mushrooms is an optional step, but it is fun and easy and you’ll have enough mushrooms leftover to make cocktails, like the Umami Martini from last year. Now just let it infuse for a week, strain your perfume and then pour into a spray bottle.
With that done, we have everything ready to make the cocktail.
Chestnut Old Fashioned
• 60mL Chestnut Brandy
• 1 barspoon medium dry oloroso sherry
• 4 dashes chocolate bitters
• 2 drops 20% saline solution
• A few sprays of Mushroom Perfume
As always start with a chilled mixing glass before you add the ingredients, while a clear ice block sits in your serving glass to temper. You’ll just need to add the ingredients along with plenty of ice and stir to mix, chill and dilute. After 20 to 40 seconds, depending on your stirring, you can now strain the cocktail over the clear ice block and garnish with a chestnut - I went for a roasted one. As the final touch, a spray of fungi perfume will add pleasant umami notes, really bringing home the notion that this cocktail is straight from the fall forest, so let’s get transported there by tasting the Chestnut Old Fashioned. Cheers!
First you’ll get a wonderful combination of umami mushroom and roasted chestnut on the aroma. It is also clear that going for the brandy as the base for this fall old fashioned was certainly the right choice. Chocolate and maple syrup work great together as well. The whole cocktail has a nice silky mouthfeel and the flavors are so intertwined they create the perfect flavor I can only describe as an autumn cocktail. I hope you’re enjoying the fall and that you’ll try this cocktail,cheers, Friends of Cocktails!
Buy Dale DeGroff’s allspice bitters: https://geni.us/piEPDU
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