This will be my first attempt at a Mixology Monday post. I thought about keeping to my ongoing project instead of coming up with an original drink, but that would make sticking to Cardiff Cocktails‘ “Witches’ Garden” theme a bit tricky since the only fresh herb (or root, spice or bean) used in the entire “Playboy’s Host and Bar Book” is mint, which seemed a bit too obvious a choice.
So I decided to mix up something original with about the only ingredient I could gather right outside my window – dandelion. I thought perhaps dandelion-root coffee might perform well as a substitute for coffee in certain cocktails. I didn’t want anything that had coffee as the main ingredient, though, which eliminated a good chunk of the spiked-coffee type drinks. However, the Black Jack (or at least one of the drinks by that name) seemed a likely starting point. This cocktail apparently originated in 1914, and consists of equal parts brandy, kirschwasser, and cold coffee, with a sugared rim.
So I went out, dug up a dandelion root, and took a trip to the emergency room (long story). Once I was back on my feet I washed, dried, and roasted the root, which luckily gave me just enough for making 4 test drinks.
Substituting dandelion-root coffee worked better than I expected – I thought it would be a reasonable, but not perfect, stand-in. Instead, it hinted at coffee but was also very much its own thing. I tried a few proportions, but I like the equal parts the best. I also took the sugar off the rim and put it directly in the drink. The combination of ingredients really showcases the dandelion root flavours well – the smokiness from roasting the roots plays nicely with the brandy, and there’s a sort of nutty, chocolate flavour that enhances and is enhanced by the kirsch.
So here it is, a dandelion variation on the Black Jack:
20 ml brandy
20 ml kirschwasser
20 ml dandelion-root coffee*, chilled
10 ml simple syrup
Stir all ingredients together with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a dandelion flower.
Dig up dandelion roots. Wash them, chop them fine, dry them on a baking sheet for about 2 hours at 200° F. Add 2 tablespoons dried root to a saucepan. Roast over medium high heat until nicely browned. Pour in 1 cup of water. Let simmer, covered, for about 15 min. Strain. NOTE: 2 tablespoons per cup makes a pretty strong coffee, which is good for the cocktail but might be a bit much for drinking straight.
Edit: Here’s the roundup of this month’s Mixology Monday entries. Some great looking drinks there!