Everyone’s dealing with the pandemic in their own way. Some of us are sewing masks. Others have converted our home meth labs to produce hydroxychloroquine (so civic-minded!) Here at Our Long Table, for better and for worse, we’ve decided to punctuate the end of the work-from-home day with a genteel five o’clock tipple.
To that end, we’ve been mining our library of mixology books and websites, and we’ll be sharing our curated selections – mostly hits, some misses – with you. Most mixology books, it seems, suffer from one (or both) of two flaws: they feel compelled to catalogue dozens of hoary old classics that have gone way out of style (Brandy Alexander, I’m looking at you), or they depend on obscure ingredients and hyper-specific variants of liquors without offering viable substitutions.
In our daily cocktail feature, we’ll be focusing on ingredients that are more or less readily available in Canada, whether at the liquor store or – in the case of bitters and mixes – through online vendors like The Crafty Bartender. We’ll also feature some drinks that require a little kitchen time, e.g., crafting homemade syrups.
On to our first tipple. It’s from the archives at Imbibe Magazine, where we’ve had a good ratio of hits to misses. The Ananda Spritz is a big, full-flavoured sipper with a bourbon backbone. It’s on the sweet side – courtesy of muddled fruit and palm sugar syrup – but this is nicely balanced by the fire of the bourbon and the bitterness of Amaro Nonino. The latter is a versatile Italian bittersweet herbal liqueur that’s really nice to sip on the rocks as either an apéritif or a digestif. It’s widely available at the LCBO, and is well worth adding to your cabinet.
Palm sugar is available at all Asian grocers. If you don’t have it on hand, a 1:1 mix of simple syrup (that’s 1:1 granulated sugar and water by volume) and light brown sugar syrup will suffice.
Apart from that and a bit of bubbly, all the ingredients – including Angostura Bitters – are available at your grocery store. Oh: cocktails like this are a good way to use up leftover cheap bubbly. To that end, it’s good to have a champagne stopper on hand to keep the fizz alive in the fridge overnight.