Foundation has another wonderful cocktail to add to its list with the Golden Era. Bourbon has been my spirit of choice for the past year or so, but recently, it’s been a bit too harsh for my palate. So I’ve gone back to my first love, rum. The Golden Era uses Cruzan single barrel rum, Foggy Ridge Pippin Gold cider, Peychaud’s bitters, and lemon peel to create a strong drink that’s smooth going down. Isn’t that what all good cocktails should strive for?
The star player in this drink is definitely the cider used to complement the rum. It’s a dessert cider, which wasn’t something I’d heard of before, though I know apples are common to the dessert wine world. In this drink, it mellowed out any harshness from the rum, and the subtle lemon oil from the peel gave it all a little infusion of brightness.
If you love rum, I think you’ll find this is a golden era at Foundation for your tastes.
Reviewed 10 Dec 11.
The Old Ceremony
Central Park District, Durham
As you can see, I’m not talking the band here, which I happen to love, but the shooter named after them by Motorco. The first time I went to Motorco, I thought naming shots—there’s no cocktail list here, just fancy shots—after local bands was a fun twist for Troika, Durham’s annual music festival. Turns out it’s standard practice! However, only the names of the shots appear on the blackboard, so I’d suggest asking the bartender if you can take a peek at their cheat sheet to find out what’s actually in that drink you’re ordering—unless you’re feeling daring. And if a band you enjoy is on that board, it probably is safe just to order the shot, if the rest of them are paired as well as this shot was with its namesake.
Bourbon, ginger, peach, bitters, and I believe, lime, were combined for this small, yet sophisticated, libation. Just like the band, it went down smooth. For a shot, it really was just the right amount of everything to make it glide down your throat and leave you feeling a bit sweet afterward. If this were in cocktail form, however, it would likely get bland after a few sips and call out for something unexpected, and maybe a little spicy, to come in and liven up the drink. It’s a fine shot, but at that price, I do want a bit more liquid in my cup.
My lovely friend, Laura, paid close attention to my status updates and decided to buy me a bottle of green chartreuse, a liqueur I’ve been intrigued about for years but never had the chance to purchase. She found it in NYC and voila! A long-time wish is fulfilled.
Green chartreuse is a blend of 130 herbs from an 18th century recipe that monks from the Grand Chartreuse monastery are still making in France. The nose was full of horehound, licorice, and pine needles. Held up to the light, chartreuse has legs, and lots of little particles floating about as though they were sea monkeys. The beguiling green color beckoned me (the shade chartreuse comes from this liqueur), but those smells made me fear that it would be too close to gin for my liking—and it is on its own, but like gin, I think it’ll be great for cocktails. Personally, both alcohols are a bit too strong in flavor for me to drink on their own.
When sipping, it was dense, very dense, a step down from syrupy in texture. The flavor initially struck me as that of Chloraseptic, but with more pizazz, as though it had a couple of drops of bitters added in to that sore-throat soothing blend. Like that image, I think chartreuse’s best use for my drinks will be to add a splash of strong flavor to an otherwise mellow cocktail. Pepper came out strongly on the aftertaste. There was definitely pine, too, and I think the horehound flavor also came through, or maybe it tasted like a combination of old-fashioned candies that I’m not sure appeal to my modern taste buds but I keep trying them anyway. It might be an interesting flavor for an after-dinner mint.
Can I sip it alone again? Definitely not. But I think it will add a fabulous layer to drinks in small quantities. Now, what will I try it with?