The theme for this month’s Mixology Monday (hosted at Cocktail Nerd) is Fizz. A few obvious things came to mind (Tom Collins, G&T, French 75, etc.), but I thought I’d try and do something nobody else was likely to come up with. Given how well a heavy dose of bitters worked in the Calvados Cocktail I made last month, I thought that this month I’d once again go for something bitters heavy. This time though I decided to use Angostura.
I have heard that during prohibition Angostura Bitters remained legally available, and so people took to using it for effect rather than as a flavor enhancer. There are thus a few old recipes using Angostura as a base spirit and I thought I’d try one.
I started with a recipe for an Angostura Fizz (which you can find online at www.cocktaildb.com). I didn’t have any cream though, so I started adjusting things, and of course once you start down that road it gets hard to stop. I decided to use ginger beer instead of soda, plus some ginger wine to really bring out the ginger taste. I made a version with one once each of Angostura Bitters and Stone’s Ginger Wine, topped up with ginger beer. The ginger became a bit lost in all the Angostura Bitters though, and so I started to think about something to cut the bitters with. My homemade Pimento Dram (allspice liqueur) seemed an inspired choice and worked very well. It may not have been entirely necessary but I decided to throw a little rum into the mix as well, just to add another dimension of spice.
I had recently bought a spicy Indian rum called Old Monk. Old Monk seems to be a bit of a cult item. Indians living overseas wax lyrical about the stuff. However, this misty eyed enthusiasm has to be balanced against the product’s rock bottom price back in India. If it was that good wouldn’t the producers charge a little more for it? The name is also suspicious. We all know about Chartreuse and Benedictine liqueurs, and who hasn’t heard of Trappist beer? But what did monks ever know about rum? Old Monk is interesting tasting, with a rich spicy caramel type profile, but I have to wonder how much of the taste comes from additives. I certainly doubt genuine monks are involved in its production.
The use of the Indian rum and Caribbean Angostura Bitters and Pimento Dram allowed me to come up with a silly name for this drink.
So this was the final recipe.
East & West Indian Fizz
¾ oz Stone’s Ginger Wine
½ oz Angostura Bitters
½ oz Pimento Dram (homemade)
½ oz Old Monk Rum
Bundaberg Ginger Beer
Stir over ice in a Collins glass and top up with ginger beer.
The result is a pleasant fizzy drink for people who like spicy flavors. The caramel from the Old Monk may comes through pretty strong considering everything else in there. If it’s too much substitute another rum or even omit the rum entirely. The recipe could certainly be played around with some more, but personally I reckon the big dose of Angostura, together with Pimento Dram, ginger wine and ginger beer is a winning combination.