- 2.0 oz. Cognac
- 0.5 oz. Pavan
- 0.5 oz. orange blossom honey syrup*
- 2 dashes orange flower water
- 2 dashes orange bitters
Stir with ice. Strain into a snifter.
* 1:1 water and orange blossom honey, reduced by half
For the final cocktail in The Secret Garden series, I grabbed another floral liqueur I had on the shelf, Pavan, which consists, among other things, of orange blossom essence. I’ve always liked orange with brandy, so I went with a Cognac base. That alone with the Pavan didn’t have the depth of sweetness I would have liked, so I thought a rich honey syrup would help with that (and in keeping with the orange blossom theme). The drink at this point was pretty sweet, so I added some orange bitters in there. The orange flower water is probably a bit unnecessary — I couldn’t detect it in the final drink — but I kept it in the recipe nonetheless.
The name is not the genus of flowering plant, as in the other drinks in this series, as the flower is actually the blossom of the orange tree, and naming the drink “Citrus” (the orange tree genus) just didn’t sit right. In looking for a picture of “orange blossom,” though, I was faced with several images of a My Little Pony, which really gives a whole different twist to the drink. Still, Orange Blossom it was, and the garden was complete.
And if anyone ever casts me in a My Little Pony stage musical, I am already one drink ahead.
- 1.5 oz. Mezcal
- 0.5 oz. Tempus Fugit Liqueur de Violettes
- 0.5 oz. Creme Yvette
- 0.25 oz. lime juice
Shake with ice. Strain into a coupe and garnish with a dash of pink Himalayan salt.
I don’t think I’ve ever made a mezcal-based drink before. I’ve certainly used it in drinks, but mostly to pair with tequila as a secondary flavor. Here, it is the main event, which is interesting since I had originally thought I’d have to go with something a little more delicate to not overpower the violet flavor.
As it turned out, mezcal worked out great. The floral sweetness comes from two different types of violet-based liqueur (can you believe I have two others as well?), one much more — for lack of a better word — soapy than the other. One is fairly fragrant, the other a little sweeter. Together, they balanced the mezcal’s funkiness, with a just a bit of acidic lime to add a tart note.
The final touch is a pinch of pink salt that floats on top, deepening the flavor on the sip. I love salt in drinks (well, let’s face it, I just love salt) and I always seem to have to remember that fact.
Maybe it’s all the drinking.
- 1.5 oz. Elderflower Rum
- 0.75 oz. Aperol
- 0.25 oz. St. Germaine
- 0.25 oz. lemon juice
Shake with ice. Strain into a coupe and garnish with lemon twist.
When you think floral cocktails, chances are you will think St. Germaine. The genus of the elderflower is sambucus, so that’s the name of the drink here. I started with a rum infused with elderflower, itself sweetened, so then only added a little dash of St. Germaine, which opened up the floral flavor a little more. The Aperol is there for some bitterness (and always makes a lovely color) and the lemon juice for acid. I love lemon and Aperol as a combination — one of the few times I enjoy lemon in a drink.
It is curious to me that of all the floral flavors, elderflower is the one with the most available ingredients I found — St. Germaine, an elderflower rum, an elderflower gin, two other liqueurs (and an elderberry cordial, though I guess that doesn’t count). I had never even heard of elderflower before St. Germaine. Just shows you what one popular product can open up. Almost makes you want to go out and start sampling the rest of the garden. Almost.
- 1.5 oz. Silver Tequila
- 1.0 oz. Fruitlab Hibiscus liqueur
- 0.5 oz. Lillet Blanc
- 1 edible hibiscus flower
Stir all but flower with ice. Strain into a coupe and garnish with flower.
I’ve had these edible flowers sitting on my bar for the longest time and never really knew what to do with them. This finally seemed like the perfect opportunity.
The tequila married really nicely with the hibiscus liqueur to my taste. A little sweet, though, so I added a nice kick of bitterness from the Lillet. That’s really all that was needed here. The flower sits at the bottom of the drink and offers a nice final treat after sipping.
And I can finally get rid of those flowers.
- 1.5 oz. Cocchi Americano
- 1.0 oz. Courvoisier Rosé liqueur
- 2.0 oz. Cuvée Rosé
- 5 drops rose water
Stir Cocchi and Courvoisier with ice. Strain into cocktail glass. Top with rosé and garnish with five drops of rose water.
For The Secret Garden, I decided on a collection of floral drinks. No, it’s nothing much to do with the show, but having a drink based around cholera or melancholy (melancholera?) didn’t seem very appealing. Although not all of the flowers are necessarily something you’d find in an English garden, I started with one that was not only a flower mentioned in the show, but was also one of the characters, Rose, or, using its genus name, Rosa.
This one was all about the nose. Originally, I was going to make it champagne-based with a rose liqueur that I had on hand. That liqueur ran out before I could perfect the drink, though, and in trying to restock I found the liqueur was no longer available. Enter the Courvoiser Rosé, and building off of that I found a sparkling rosé to replace the champagne. The Cocchi adds a little more sweetness and a necessary bitter component. The final drops of rose water are really what bring the fragrance of roses to the drink.
I suppose I should represent the thorns, not only for the flower, but also for the character. Let’s just focus on the lovelier aspects, though. If you really want to, have a chaser of absinthe. That’ll get ya.
Just a preliminary post for a collection of cocktails I will be presenting next week in honor of my production of The Secret Garden, a musical opening on Friday with the New Players Theatre Guild in Fitchburg, Mass. This 1991 Tony-award winner is based on the classic children’s book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and I get to walk around with a crooked back for two and a half hours. Drinks will be necessary.
The 39 Steps Cocktail
- 1.0 oz. Canadian whisky
- 1.0 oz. London Dry Gin
- 1.0 oz. Edel Kirsch Cherry Liqueur
- 1 barspoon lime juice
- 2 dashes Boker’s bitters
Stir with ice. Strain into coupe coated with peaty Scotch.
Canadian whisky for Hannay in London, thus the addition of gin. The Professor and his nefarious alter ego lends the German liqueur. And of course the Scotch for the setting, which is also interesting since the nose doesn’t really match the taste and so I think lends itself to the deception explored in the movie. And of course in the play, which prompted this entire series of Hitchcocktails.
And with that, I bid you:
North by Northwest was a hard one for me that produced a lot of failed attempts, but one that finally stuck was a riff on the Blood and Sand. I substituted Bourbon (what they drug Roger with) for the Scotch (what he drinks by choice) into a cocktail of mistaken identity.
The North By Northwest Cocktail
- 1.0 oz. Bourbon
- 1.0 oz. orange juice
- 0.75 oz. Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
- 0.75 oz. Averell Damson Gin liqueur
Shake with ice. Strain into old fashioned glass over rocks. Garnish with an orange twist.
I played with the proportions a bit and substituted Averell, a liqueur of Damson plums, for the Cherry Heering, which always tastes like cough syrup to me. I pulled the bitters out as well as I felt they weren’t needed in the final concoction. Yummy, and nary a cropduster in sight.
I had absolutely no idea at first with Rear Window. Then I considered how through his window into the courtyard Jeff observes all these disparate people and I thought that perhaps the cocktail could be just that — a mix where each ingredient represented each of his neighbors, brought together into a single perspective. And I knew it had to be nice and cool to account for that hot summer in the film. Thus:
The Rear Window Cocktail
- 2.0 oz. Old Monk Rum
- 1.0 oz. pink grapefruit juice
- 0.5 oz. Cognac
- 0.5 oz. passionfruit syrup
- 2 dashes Fee’s Whiskey Barrel-Aged bitters
Shake with ice. Strain over cracked ice in an old fashioned glass.
So, grapefruit juice for Miss Torso, passionfruit syrup for Miss Lonelyheart, some sophisticated Cognac for the songwriter and his parties, and a dark, dark rum for Mr. Thorwald. Mix in some bitters from Jeff himself and the result was a surprising, refreshing sipper fit for any voyeur on a hot day.
The Birds Cocktail
- 2.0 oz. Wild Turkey 101-proof Rye
- 1.0 oz. Cocchi Americano
- 0.25 oz. Fernet Branca
Stir with ice. Strain into old fashioned glass over ice. Twist a lemon peel then discard.
I scoured my bar for any bottles featuring a bird, as seemed appropriate for this cocktail. Famous Grouse didn’t work well in it, and I knew there wasn’t a Grey Goose that could stand up to Fernet, so this is the combination I happily ended up with. Yes, all three bottles feature birds. They’re coming for you.