101 Best New Cocktails: Havana Daydreaming by Tony Gurdian, Imperial, Portland, OR, USA

by Gaz Regan · Friday, November 6th, 2015 · 101 Best New Cocktails, 101 Best New Cocktails 2015

Havana Daydreaming    

Tony Gurdian, Imperial, Portland, OR, USA

My approach to cocktail creation is based on the cuisine of a given region. Lately I’ve been inspired by Cuba and Cuban cuisine and realized that it reminded me of the key ingredients of Calisaya. Inspired by an old Italian amaro recipe, Calisaya liqueur is an inimitable herbal liqueur that allows you to add to a sour/sweet combo without overpowering your cocktail. In terms of Cuban cuisine, I incorporated fresh bay leaf, fresh oregano, and acidic oranges in the spice syrup. I wanted to create a complex drink that was easy to make. The syrups can be made in advance so that the drink itself is quick and easy to make when ordered.” Tony Gurdian

Havana Daydreaming.230 ml (1 oz) dry white Cuban rum (or any dry white rum)

22.5 ml (.75 oz) Calisaya

22.5 ml (.75 oz) Lime Acid Orange*

15 ml (.5 oz) Cuban Spice Syrup**

2 fresh bay leaves, as garnish

Shake over ice and double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Use a clip to add the garnish.

*Lime Acid Orange: This is a way to boost orange juice to the acid level of lime; cut the recipe in half or in quarters depending on how much Lime Acid Orange you need. Combine 1 L (1 qt) freshly squeezed orange juice, 32 g (1.18 oz) citric acid, and 20 g (.66 oz) malic acid. Mix with a stick blender until dissolved.

**Cuban Spice Syrup: Combine 650 ml (2.75 cups) water, 10 g (2 tsp) fresh oregano, 5 g (1 tsp) fresh bay leaves, 5 g (1 tsp) cracked and crushed black peppercorns, and 2.5 g (.5 tsp) cracked and crushed cumin seeds in a small pot and simmer on stove for 10 minutes. Strain out solids with a fine strainer and coffee filter. For every 500 ml of strained mixture, add 500 g (2 cups) sugar. Mix in a blender or stir until dissolved.

gaz sez: God is good. This recipe landed in my in-box just one day before a bottle of Calisaya appeared on my doorstep. She’s a thoughtful sort of a God, I think, but not thoughtful enough to send me pre-made Cuban Spice Syrup or Lime Acid Orange. The work was a bit of a slog, but the reward made everything worthwhile. This is one darned good drink.


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