INNOVATIVE SERVES FOR SUMMER
Summer is coming and with it lots of customers are out to have a good time.It’s the perfect season for getting lots of friends together who are looking forward to sharing some seasonal drinks with one another.
Even if you're not lucky enough to get good weather, here are a couple of simple tricks that can bring a little sunshine to your serves.
The practice of mixing drinks is built on a few key ingredients - spirits, liqueurs and other modifiers (such as vermouth or other fortified wines), souring agents (typically lemon or lime juice) and syrups. The last of these trends tends to get somewhat less consideration than the others, but they represent a great chance to introduce more depth and flavour to drinks in summer.
A perfect example of an underused ingredient which has come back to prominence - and which works perfectly for summer - is Oleo Saccharum. We can thank David Wondrich's book Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl for reinvigorating bartenders to start re-using it.
The term is Latin for ‘oil from sugar’ and is a way of extracting the oils from citrus peels to create syrup. Essentially, you zest a citrus fruit and store the zests with sugar in an airtight container - overnight is usually plenty of time.
Thanks to science, the oils from the zests are extracted and mix with the sugar, giving a rich and zesty syrup that can add an extra dimension to a sour cocktail. Imagine adding a lemon and orange Oleo to a White Lady… it brings an extra sherbet-y note to the drink and almost creates a whole new taste experience.
The great thing about the process is that it isn't limited to citrus fruits - it'll work with anything that has some moisture about it: apple, mango, pineapple even root ginger - they'll all give you something new to play with.
And this leads me nicely into a summer serve, guaranteed to impress your customers this season:
Summer White Lady
15ml Orange liqueur
15ml Orange and lemon Oleo Saccharum
25ml Lemon juice
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and fine-strain into a chilled martini/coupette glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon zest.
(1.9 standard drinks* - 2.8 units per serve)
Orange and Lemon Oleo Saccharum
Granulated cane sugar
Method: Using a peeler or a sharp knife, remove the peels from the lemons and the orange.Weigh the peels and add twice the weight of the peels in sugar (e.g. if you have 200g of peels, add 400g of sugar) and store in an airtight container. Leave for a few hours; I'd suggest a minimum of 4 hours but generally 12-24 hours will be more than enough.Once the oils are extracted from the peels, mix everything thoroughly until the sugar is fully dissolved and strain out the peels. Once finished, the Oleo Saccharum should last for up to two weeks. If you want to keep it for longer, adding 25ml of vodka to every 500ml of Oleo should keep things fresh for up to six months.
The process of making Oleo Saccharum leads nicely into another old-school technique that's making a big comeback for summer especially - shrubs.
The word itself derives from Arabic - from the same root that gives us ‘sherbet’ - and typically refers to a cordial combining fruit with sugar and vinegar.
By now, we're familiar with using fresh citrus juices to add acidity to drinks but it's rare to encounter acidity in drinks that don't include lime or a lemon. Shrubs offer a new way to add freshness to a drink and that acidity that you might be looking for this season.
There's a range of ways you can make them – ‘Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drinks for Modern Times’ (2014) by Michael Dietsch is a great primer if you want to get started. The recipes are all pretty simple and given the range of ingredients available (from various fruits to differing types of sugar to the wide variety of vinegars out there), they can offer a whole new area to explore in these (hopefully) hot months.
50ml RON ZACAPA™
15ml Blueberry and mint shrub
15ml Vanilla syrup
Method: Combine all ingredients in a rocks glass; add crushed ice and mix thoroughly with a bar spoon. Garnish with a sprig of mint and three blueberries on a cocktail stick.
(1.9 standard drinks* - 2.8 units per serve)
Blueberry and Mint Shrub
20g Mint leaves
300g Granulated cane sugar
200g White wine vinegar
Method:Cut the blueberries in half and add them to an airtight container. Lightly crush the mint leaves and add them to the container along with the sugar. Seal and store somewhere dry for at least 24 hours. Add the vinegar and mix everything together thoroughly until the sugar is dissolved. Strain out any remaining solids. Once finished, the shrub should keep for at least a month; the flavour will change over time so you can experiment with waiting to use it.
(*One standard drink contains 8g of alcohol)
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