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Purple Agave’s & Negroni Damsel’s: A COCKTAIL ODYSSEY

Cocktailian Joe here: I would like to proudly introduce everybody to Two wonderful ladies that will be taking you through a cocktail odyssey through Athenian Bars, as well as giving you helpful guides to become a craft bartender while living on a budget! Oh, and to add some mystery, the two ladies keep their identities secret!

Hey, Purple Agave here! A 20-year old girl who apparently loves the color purple and since the cocktail world inexcusably lack of purple things decided to change the color of one of the most appreciated plants. Being a computer science student can fill many hours in the day, but doing fun things is always necessary. And is there a better way to have fun than experimenting with flavors? Since you are reading this I’ll take for granted that the answer is ΝΟ. Even though I grew up in a house without many spirits laying around, I was always fascinated by the variety of bottles at the liquor stores and wanted to try them all. So I grew up and decided that that’s what I wanted to do. Try as many as I can and try to combine all the different flavors. However, I got to love some flavors more than others. My absolute favorite spirit is  *drum rolls*……Gin! And now you are wondering what is wrong with her. To make things clear let me say that if Gin is my darling husband, Tequila is the irresistible hot guy with whom I am cheating on him. But on this journey of flavor discovering I am not alone. I go through my odyssey with my best friend, The Negroni Damsel. She also suggested that we should describe each other to close our paragraphs and I agreed since I couldn’t think of anything better. So if I had to describe her using five words I would say she is: Energetic, Inspired, Intuitive, Witty and Loud! 

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Hi, people of the booze world. I am the second half of the Cocktail Odyssey and the person behind the camera, the Negroni Damsel. I am 20 years old as well and I love expressing myself through my hobbies especially writing. The name comes from two things; the damsel part comes from the fact that I am a little dramatic and very expressive person; the Negroni part comes from my obsession with negronis. That being said I am a huge fan of gin and anything botanical based, mostly vermouth. That’s why the Negroni is my go to drink. I like to think of it as a nice warm hug. There isn’t any specific time that I got into the spirits world since I always remember myself being impressed by the people that could taste so many different things in one drink. If I could narrow it down to two moments that really made me fall in love with this somewhat weird hobby I would say watching the movie “Cocktail” at the age of 15 and the same year seeing a flair bartender practicing on the beach. Finally, since it was my idea the whole five-word description thing, here it goes. Purple agave is: Assembled, Quiet, Logical (a bit too much), Observing and Patient.
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The goal we are trying to achieve with our Instagram account (@acocktailodyssey) and our future blog posts is to push ourselves into creating cocktails that taste good but don’t drain a student’s budget! Oh, and also give you a taste of the great and advancing Athenian bar scene just in case you’ve ever wondered if our small country has high-end bars. We do and they all are top notch…follow us and you’ll see for yourselves. We hope you will accompany us in this adventurous journey… and as we say in Greek: “Yamas”!
Shaken Jamaican Create cocktails Cocktail

The “Shaken Jamaican” Cocktail

Recipe

Plantation Jamaican Rum 2 oz. | Overproof Rum – a splash | Yellow Chartreuse 3/4 oz. | Grenadine 1/2 oz. | Orgeade 1/2 oz. | Lime Juice 1 1/4 oz. | Creme de Violette – Splash or teaspoon | Jamaican #1 bitters 3 dashes

How-To

Pour in Ingredients / Fill with ice / Shake like crazy / Double-strain into a martini glass

Cocktail Cosmopolitan Shaken Jamaican

Story

Caution: this story is filled with many woes.

I started at a very easy place. I looked at one cocktail recipe that I was inspired by and loved: The Daiquiri. Eventually, I also looked at the Mai Tai, because I love my tiki drinks.

So, right off the bat, I kind of knew what I wanted.

Two things happened next: I decided which spirit I’d used and a few ingredients I wanted to mix the drink with AND I got an idea from a brilliant bartender I work with (We’ll call him Mr. Savage).

I knew the drink was going to be rum-based because the Daiquiri and the Mai-Tai are rum-based. I also knew that Orgeade/Orgeat was going to play a part, as it does in most tiki/tropical drinks.

Lime juice had to make an appearance, for dem citrus notes. And lastly, yellow chartreuse, which oddly does wonders with rum (Courtesy of Mr. Savage).

Now, Mr. Savage filled his highball glass with crushed ice and sprinkled the top with Peychaud’s bitters. I took that idea and one of my own and compared:

Cocktails experimental

The left is akin to Mr. Savage’s drink, and the right is mine. I used grenadine, instead of the Peychaud’s bitters, seen on left. Unfortunately, and predictably, the grenadine sank to the bottom.

I wanted to have three layers: yellow on the bottom (shaken part of the drink), Peychauds, or Grenadine (which, as you can see, did not work out), and a purple layer – Creme de Violette – on top.

This part of the process was a disaster and just did not go as planned. I was disheartened and felt defeated – especially because I had lied in bed at 4 in the morning imagining how brilliant this cocktail would be.

The next day, I wrote the story of the cocktail, which was named, “The Sun Also Sets”:

This is “The Sun Also Sets”. Firstly, the cocktail pays homage to Ernest Hemingway and his first book, The Sun Also Rises, and secondly, is visually appealing and quenches any person’s thirst. This cocktail is the tongue-in-cheek answer to Hem’s masterpiece.

Pretty fun, right? I was really into it. 🙁

Anyways, after some time, I was just like, “Screw it. Let’s shake em’ up altogether.”

So, I had the rum, yellow chartreuse, lime, orgeade, and the Creme de Violette (for oomph), and slammed em’ together. The result was incredible.

Cocktail beautiful Martini glass

After a few more tweaks, I had the style of rum, Jamaican #1 bitters and the exact measurements I wanted and needed.

My drink, the Shaken Jamaican, was finally ready to be consumed.

Choosing Ingredients And Measurements

So, as you know, I had my basic ingredients from the two recipes…

The Daiquiri and the Mai-Tai… which were Rum, Lime, and Orgeade/Orgeat.

I also had the idea of using Yellow Chartreuse and Peychauds bitters from Mr. Savage.

After some frustrating variation tests, I decided to use grenadine as a sweetener, instead of the bitter Peychauds.

It still wasn’t enough. It needed some EXCITEMENT. Fate led me to Creme de Violette.

After the failed “The Sun Also Sets” experiment, I shook everything together, and I shook them hard.

Once I had nailed down my basic recipe, I was ready to start fine-tuning.

Fine-tuning 

This part is essential. Once you reach this stage, you can’t give up and just throw together whatever portions.

The exact opposite needs to be done: this drink requires your obsessive tendencies to reach perfection!

And this is exactly what I did.

I found the perfect kind of rum: Plantation Jamaican Rum (I was using Plantation Pineapple – so good).

Then I added Jamaican #1 Bitters, which paired really well with the Jamaican rum. (It has allspice, ginger, and black pepper notes. Mhm).

To get the exact measurements was challenging.

What the bartender is trying to accomplish is making a cocktail that can be deemed delicious by enthusiasts, connoisseurs, and regular ol’ beer-drinkers. The bartender is also trying to find balance.

First, I sought balance. I balanced the citrus to the sweetness. When I felt that was right…

Second, I had taste-testings. I had bartender buddies try them, for their expertise. I had my dad try one, for his, ahem, beer-drinking expertise.

I made one for my girlfriend, who is not a drinker and offered a unique perspective. Finally, I made some for two of my friends who like drinking all kinds of things.

I took all of their suggestions and altered my measurements yet again – until I was happy.

Taste is so subjective. Not one person tastes the exact same. So, making drinks that everybody will love is hard. And unfortunately, it isn’t going to please everyone.

But I feel pretty damn confident that this drink is going to be (mostly) loved.

Make It

If you don’t know what kind of tools to make, check my other post on bar tools.

Let me walk you through this little doozy. Here, hold my hand.

Cocktail-process

Yeah, I made a fancy picture for this blog post.

First, we pour all of our ingredients (with the help of our jiggs) into a mixing glass or a smaller Boston-tin. Then we fill that mixing glass two-thirds full with fresh ice/the smaller Boston-tin to the top.

Then, I shake everything up – to dilute the cocktail a bit and to cool it down.

I double-strain that sum-na-beech into a chilled martini glass:

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Double-straining that sum-na-beech

Finally, I drink the hell out of it.

Naming the Cocktail 

I had a particularly difficult time naming this cocktail, especially since it used to be a layered drink:

Cocktail-sun-also-sets-hemingway

This drink, which is now the “Shaken Jamaican”, used to be called “The Sun Also Sets” because it looked like a sunset (I wanted to layer the purple Creme De Violette on top of the red, but it didn’t work out).  I decided to forgo the layering of the red grenadine/Peychauds on top of the drink and to instead mix up the ingredients. The conclusion was satisfying, to say the least.

I decided to forgo the layering of the red grenadine/Peychauds on top of the drink and to instead mix up the ingredients. The conclusion was satisfying, to say the least.

So, now I had a new drink with a name that didn’t fit.

I loved all of the other tiki drinks, like the Bahama Mama, Mai Tai, in that they had great rhymes and were all super tasty and palatable. I wanted the same thing for my drink.

Here’s a short list of other potential names…

-Destination Jamaica

-Jamaican Destination

-The Flaming Joe

They were pretty depressing names and my unoriginality made me give up for awhile. Then the name just came to me.

I’m sure you guys are going to have a ton of questions. I don’t mind answering them – leave a comment below, or email me if you’d like!

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More Curious Cocktailian

If you want to understand Liqueurs better, check out these posts:

Fernet Branca

Yellow Chartreuse

And here’s the cocktail basics that every bartender needs to know:

An Easy Guide To Bar Tools

The Ultimate Guide To Making The Perfect Manhattan

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