The Rita DanielsOctober 3, 2011
As I’ve talked about quite a bit over at canigetasample, the “cocktail” has made a serious comeback. Combinations of liquor, liqueur, and flavor is the basic recipe for a winning cocktail but it’s a balancing act that should never mask the true flavor of the liquor. I like it front and center.
A margarita is a great example of this. The sweetness, the acidity, and the freshness are all designed to have the tequila shine. Maybe even more perfect is the addition of grapefruit juice which seems to compliment the liquor even better than the lime. But anyone can make a margarita…
Jack Daniel’s, one of the oldest homegrown brands, is famous for it’s iconic black and square bottle. Marketed as a Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey, it’s become a popular bar standard mixed with coke or served on the rocks. But the “sour mash” part of the label got me thinking this weekend. Think back to last week’s post on distillation. I passed over fermentation rather quickly and failed to mention one of the more interesting applications. Sourdough bread, is known for its yeasty flavor and is created by using a “starter”. The “starter” comes from a previous fermentation batch and if used properly, the same “starter” can be re-used and re-generated for years guaranteeing a reliable and delicious flavor. Same thing applies here for the Sour Mash whiskey which utilizes a sour mash starter for it’s fermentation….
And you appreciate this much more when you have the JD on it’s own. A can of coke will pummel the nuance of the whiskey into submission, but a few ice cubes bring out the rich and just a bit acidic notes of the whiskey. By now it should be no surprise how the Rita Daniels came to mind. My own take on the margarita is given a shot of toughness, with a couple of shots of whiskey. Enjoy!
The Rita Daniels:
2 oz Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey
1/2 oz Cointreau (or Triple Sec)
Juice of Half a lime
1 tbsp of Honey Water (see detail below)
Splash of Seltzer
Mix the first four ingredients together and pour over a rocks glass with ice. Add the splash of seltzer and serve with a lime for garnish.
Note: I love honey as a sweetener for cocktails. But if you add honey directly to a cold beverage it solidifies and does not mix well. I like to mix a tsp of honey with a tbsp of warm water to create a honey water for mixing. Think you will too!