Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Bucking Bronco Cocktail

A short entry today, due to the stifling humidity that has saturated my office and caused me to promptly wilt. Luckily, this spicy and refreshing drink served as a pick-me-up and enabled me to push through this rather abbreviated preamble.

This cocktail is a riff on the Moscow Mule, substituting black peppercorn-infused vodka and lemon for the original's plain vodka and lime. Ever since my wife infused our first batch of vodka with crushed black peppercorns, we have been fascinated with cocktails made with the peppery liquor, which easily plays off vodka drinks already on the books, but with names that offer a variation on the theme... For instance, the Salty Dog became the Dirty Cur, and in this case, the Moscow Mule becomes the Bucking Bronco.

This drink also lives in the shadow of the Shangri-La cocktail, with the same basic flavors.

The Bucking Bronco Cocktail
  • 2 oz black peppercorn-infused vodka (recipe here)
  • Lemon wedge, squeezed and dropped into glass
  • Dash of Fee Brothers Lemon Bitters (optional, but it adds a tart high note)
  • Ginger beer (something zippy, such as Gosling's, Barritt's, Reed's, Citadelle, etc.)
Squeeze the lemon wedge into a highball glass with ice, and drop the lemon in.  Add just a dash of the bitters, then the black peppercorn vodka, and top of with ginger beer. Stir and enjoy.

An alternate version of this makes use of a drop or two of Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters instead of the Fee Brothers Lemon Bitters, which enhances the black pepper flavor with a slight hint of chocolate - a surprisingly nice combination with the ginger.

The best thing about the black peppercorn-infused vodka is its ability to add an unexpected nuance to a drink, pairing well with a variety of flavors from citrus to dark fruit, chocolate, ginger, and more. It is almost culinary in terms of the the way the pepper flavor enhances or adds facets to other ingredients. There are many avenues of experimentation.

Bottoms up!

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