Champagne Cocktail roundup
Time for a belated summary of the drink of the month for December 2007. The results were generally very good, though I suppose it's a simple enough drink that it's hard to get wrong if the ingredients are explained to the staff.
And there was indeed a lot of explaining to do. D4 and the Buena Vista Social Club both had to be talked through this extremely complex and obscure cocktail one step at a time, but the results were worth it. Some places (such as Plum and Superfino) lacked sugar cubes, but while the results may not have all the visual appeal, they taste just as good. In fact, I quite liked Buena Vista's use of palm sugar, which gave a slightly earthy complexity.
One fairly common problem was the idea that "Champagne Cocktail" is another word for "Kir Royale". Even after some detailed explanation, one time at Sweet Mother's Kitchen we ended up with a Kir Royale instead. On another occasion, though, the same request was received from the bartender with a cheery "Ah! A fine and often neglected drink!", and his classic rendition bore out his confidence and enthusiasm. Buoyed by that, I led him on to try some experiments, endeavouring to concoct a New Orleans equivalent. The obvious substitutions were bourbon for brandy and Peychaud's bitters for Angostura, but the result was too sweet. A quick dash of absinthe fixed that, though further research is required to arrive at the optimal proportions.
Other than that, I didn't try too many deviations from the classic, and had excellent versions at Boulôt, Hawthorn Lounge and the (sadly now defunct) Herd St Brasserie, where they took the "Champagne" literally. An exception was at Alice, where a night of exploring their list eventually led to their "Blue Caterpillar". Big mistake. It's not that it tastes bad: it's just that it tends to lead to whole chunks of your weekend going missing. Or maybe it's just that by the time of night when one is ready to been seen drinking fizzy blue cocktails, such mishaps are already inevitable.
Thus ends the "drink of the month" series, though something of the sort may eventually re-emerge over on The Wellingtonista.