New Cocktail: Knock on WoodThursday, March 20th, 2014
Chief Barman Matthew Campbell has been busy as of late. Recently added cocktail “Summer Camp” is a big hit, and fast on its heels is his latest: Knock on Wood. The name is a reference to the wood barrels used for aging the Zaya twelve-year rum that is the centerpiece of the drink, but we believe that consuming this cocktail will likely preserve good fortune much like the age-old superstition from which it derives its name.
Without further ado, Matthew’s notes:
This drink is the product of a hypothetical question: Could chile/heat/spice be incorporated into a stirred cocktail to good effect? We’ve had success with spicy cocktails of course, and with agave-spirit stirred drinks that act like our favorite whiskey classics. The two did not seem mutually exclusive; we just hadn’t gone down that road yet.
Ancho (roasted poblano) seemed the perfect chile as it had a mellow heat and smoky, cooked sweetness reminiscent of whiskey. Apricots and orange peels were added to round out this house-made ancho liquor as I wanted the finished drink to have a depth of mid-palate that often comes with Curaçao.
We recently added Zucca Rabarbaro Amaro (rhubarb bitters) to our pantry because it’s delicious and we knew it would find a home in one of our cocktails before long. Dolin blanc is a dry vermouth with a floral nose and a dry sherry-like finish. It adds front-end brightness and long oxidized, nutty finish.
I have loved Zaya since they began distilling in Venezuela some years ago. Now produced in Trinidad, the Gran Reserva is aged 12 years on American oak (bourbon barrels) – toasted, caramel, vanilla, etc… All in all, a perfect spirit for a whiskey-esque stirred drink with Mexican accents (heat).