I’d like to take the time to explore the concept of interaction between the guest and the drink. People like to play with their food. Cocktails are no different. I propose, and I believe, that this concept can be used to produce drinks that are highly entertaining from a user-end perspective.
Lick it; slam it; suck it. We all know the mantra of the archetypal tequila shot. The same concept could be applied to, say, a lemon drop. A crusta would be formed on a spoon by slightly brûléeing sugar. This would then be licked, the vodka triple sec shot would be taken and then the lemon would be bitten. The result would be the same flavor profile, yet more exciting because of the act of participating in the delivery of the drink.
Deconstruction is a concept that has found favor in culinary circles for some time now. Loosely defined, all of the elements should be represented in normal proportions so that if combined, they produce the classic recipe they represent. The other key is to choose a recipe where people enjoy various amounts of the ingredients and let the guest decide to what degree they would like to incorporate said items. A perfect example of this is the Sazerac and the degree of Absinthe or Herbsainte used. The rye, Grand Marnier, flamed orange swath and simple syrup would be kept separate and then accompanied by a glass of cracked ice and an Absinthe-soaked sugar cane. The individuals could then incorporate all ingredients and adjust the anise nuance to suit their own personal taste.
Let’s Make a Deal still is a favorite worldwide game show. I propose that the same concept could be applied to a flight of mini-drinks. A perfect example is the Cuba Libre-go-Daquiri
To the left:
0.5 oz Silver rum
2 oz Coca-Cola
5 cubes of ice (or a pre-chilled rocks glass)
In the center:
0.5 oz Silver Rum, room temperature, in a shot glass
To the right
0.5 oz Silver rum
Juice of 1/8 lime
½ tsp simple syrup, built over 2 cubes of ice, in a rocks glass
The key would be to present the flight (pointing) as ‘sweet, pure, and sour.’ The guests would then make their own decision as to how they would enjoy this offering, much like a wine or spirit flight. I would think that this interaction would be the topic of conversation for some time in their experience.
The primary drawback to these sorts of offerings is that they take time to execute and explain. Every cocktail has its place and these wouldn’t be the drinks for a bustling nightclub. Yet, for an intimate party or top-shelf, well-staffed restaurant it should be slightly more involved than a wine flight.
I do hope you have enjoyed and have found some inspiration to explore the concept of interactive cocktails. Expect to see some of our own developments in the coming months, as I personally love this lesser-used technique.
Recipe and Article by BourbonBlog.com Beverage Consultant/Mixologist Stephen Dennison