The kitchen has truly migrated to the bar. Cabinets have been ransacked, ingredients have been lifted and spun off in wild directions, and bartenders have become mixologists (the closest term to describe the tinkering, oft mad geeky pursuit of flavor and fascination with combinations…the building of formulas a la the chemistry beaker). In the midst of this madness, they have lifted vinegar, and its sour flavor profile, to the level of respected cocktail component, the trend even appearing in the hallowed pages of the Washington Times.
Bartender Kelley Slagle of Hearth Restaurant has been experimenting with vinegar and has come under its spell, utilizing it in four, soon to be five, cocktails giving them a signature zip of sourness. Made by oxidizing the ethanol in wine, beer, cider, or any fermented fruit juice, vinegar gives drinks an acidic backbone that plays opposite its fellow ingredients, heightening them.
Kelly’s recipe for the Marc Antony uses a gastrique of vinegar, a process utilizing sugar and heat to reduce the liquid down until the water is almost evaporated. This recipe is an orange cardamom gastrique made by adding orange juice and cardamom seeds.
2 oz Spanish Brandy
1oz Orange Cardamom Gastrique*
Shake and strain into rocks glass, on the rocks garnish with orange twist
* Orange Cardamom Gastrique
Splash of Lemon Juice
1 Cup granulated sugar
1/4 Cup water, enough to just cover sugar in pan
1/2 Cup White Wine Vinegar
1/4 Cup Cardamom Pods
1 Cup Fresh Orange Juice
Splash of Vodka
In a saucepan combine Lemon Juice, Sugar and water. Cook over medium
heat till liquid turns brown and no longer bubbles.
Slowly stir in Vinegar and Cardamom Pods
Gradually add orange juice to pan, continue to cook over medium heat,
stirring till smooth and syrupy.
Cool and Strain. Add a splash of vodka to preserve freshness. Keep refrigerated.
Vinegar cocktails are tangy, they’re crisp, and they’ll plant a smile on your face when they bite your tongue back with their sour acidity.