Pardon my fuzzy photography from my ancient iPhone- I had to capture this picture with the camera I had on hand. This drink came together after a particularly unpleasant day yesterday. My day started with two deeply placed cavities being drilled out- at the dentist.
Please don’t get me wrong, he is most gentle and very kind- no barbarians here!
My mouth was not happy and after a few hours of discomfort I was able to get to work writing and dreaming.
My mind sometimes wanders to cocktails for reasons other than purely creative expressions of my inner self. Yesterday, it drifted towards alcohol to kill that dull pain of the experience.
I waited until the early evening to let my mind wander. Waiting for the magic to take place.
A fire graced the dining room fireplace- warming against my back. I was eagerly awaiting that flood of inspiration from using great ingredients to create new flavors.
They lend their secrets through creativity.
The cast iron pan heated to smoking in the kitchen. I had some tiny Florida Blood Oranges in a bowl for snacking, then, inspiration struck. What if I segmented the oranges into sections, then seared them in the cast iron pan, smoking nicely in the background? Certainly would change their flavor. Deepen it somehow. Make it sensual- a seared blood orange juice for a cocktail or a punch? Absolutely.
But what liquor to go with this. I’m sure cognac would work, but I didn’t want to go down that road from a flavor perspective. I needed something with deep mystery. What liquor evokes mystery more than Absinthe? Nothing except maybe Chartreuse VEP? Having several bottles of Absinthe and one of the VEP in the liquor cabinet didn’t hurt.
Carefully I drew open the ancient wooden box that contained the VEP. The wax covered top and hand numbered bottle looking like something from an alchemist’s lair. The bottle of Absinthe that I chose was Tenneyson. The company hails from Texas, yet the magic captured in the bottle is distilled in France. Is there a connection here? I’m not sure.
With the blood oranges popping up and down on the sizzling hot cast iron pan, I realized that they were attaining that crunchy covering that only can happen with high heat. Removing them from the pan I set them aside to cool. Then I juiced them by hand through a cocktail sieve.
I chilled this really cool mid-century modern glass down with some ice and water, but I didn’t want this drink to be cold. My teeth were pretty sensitive at this point.
Combining a bit of Chartreuse with Absinthe takes real fortitude. The Chartreuse VEP is 108 proof. Not for the meek. Tenneyson Absinthe, rolling in at 106 proof is at first sniff, pure Gin. I don’t know how they do it, other than the specific Terroir of the herbs in their unique recipe. This Absinthe is contemplative, yes- but when combined with Chartreuse VEP and charred blood orange juice- something magical takes place.
It is a punch beyond dreams- a simple drink really. Made with passion! You need to include two other ingredients that may have to be ordered directly from their source. Bitter End Moroccan Bitters and Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Tamarind to acheive my flavor profile. Or you can skip them and use the bitters on hand and a sugar cane simple syrup.
Magic Monk’s Eventual Dream Punch (Makes two or more… Just lovely cocktails)
2 oz. Tenneyson Absinthe or your choice of Absinthe
.25 oz. Chartreuse VEP
4 oz. of grilled blood orange juice
A few slices of (ungrilled) blood orange for garnish
Sear blood orange segments in a cast iron or stainless steel pan until nicely browned on both sides, set aside to cool, then juice through cocktail sieve
Combine Absinthe and Chartreuse VEP in a cocktail mixing vessel of your choice.
Add seared blood orange Juice slowly while mixing with a stainless steel cocktail mixer. Be gentle. Watch the louche’ take place in the glass. Contemplate the creamy, gin and citrus scented aromas that rise up from within.
Add a medicine dropper of the Bitter End Moroccan Bitters.
Add a splash or two of the Royal Rose Tamarind Syrup.
Give another gentle stir.
Pour into one of your most favored glasses… Have a connection to your glass that you will pour the drink into- make it memorable and share this elegant little punch with someone who appreciates FLAVOR!
Top with a bit of seltzer water, and garnish with a slice of blood orange. Sip, then dream into your Absinthe colored mystery!