“Don’t be intimidated by using other acids,” says Vinny Starble, the head bartender at Bad Hunter in Chicago. “Get your hands on some powders, verjus, still wine, vinegar, etc., and start mixing and tasting. The more you taste how these ingredients interact with cocktails, the stronger your palate gets at understanding the base-level balance between sugar, spirit and acid.” In this cocktail, he uses a tartaric acid solution to balance the herbaceous flavors of chamomile liqueur and a blackberry sage tea syrup.
“There's so much room for experimentation,” says Starble. “And if we as a community all start working with different ingredients, we can really change the way the next generation thinks about cocktails.”
This recipe originally appeared as part of “Alternative Acids: How and Why to Use Them in Your Bar Program.”
- 4 dashes tartaric acid solution*
- 1/2 ounce blackberry sage tea syrup**
- 1/4 ounce Singani 63 brandy
- 1/4 ounce Distilleria Gualco Camomila (grappa-based chamomile liqueur)
- 1/2 ounce St. George pear brandy
- 1 ounce Kurosawa nigori sake
Add all ingredients into a rocks glass.
Fill with crushed ice and swizzle until chilled.
Garnish with edible flowers.
Optional: Aromatize with "forest floor" spray (spruce tips, rosemary, herbal liqueur).
*Tartaric acid solution: Combine 60 grams tartaric acid powder with 100 grams water. Stir until powder dissolves.
**Blackberry sage tea syrup: Steep 10 grams blackberry sage tea in 1000 grams boiling water for 3 minutes, then strain out tea leaves. Add 1000 grams sugar and whisk until dissolved.