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The B & B cocktail

Posted: October 7th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Cocktail Corner | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Ok so one of the ‘B’s is for “Benedictine” and the other is for “Brandy.”  According to Mr. Boston’s bartending guide a B & B should be 1/2 oz of the one ‘B’ and 1/2 oz of the other.  Mr. Boston says you should pour the Benedictine first, into a cordial glass, which is one of those glasses that looks like a tiny red-wine glass, and then float the brandy on top.

B & B take 1

figure 1: this has gone terribly wrong

My first problem was that I could not find a cordial glass.  I am not sure we even have any.  It does not help that about 2/3 of our bar glassware is currently all packed up in the basement.  But so anyway first I fetched a sherry glass, which is like if you took a red wine glass and made it more narrow but left the vertical dimensions untouched.  I got as far as pouring the Benedictine in before I realized I was going to have a lot of trouble floating the brandy due to the fact that there was about three inches of glass between the top surface of the Benedictine and the rim of the glass.  So I went and fetched this sort of like child sized cocktail glass (what some of you barbarians refer to as a martini glass).  Well that got the top of the liquid closer to the rim of the glass but I was using this really narrow jigger to measure out the brandy and it started spilling all over the bar while I was trying

to pour it over the hello kitty spoon and then some dinosaurs blew up the earth etc. etc. and so I just poured the brandy in and it got all mixed up.  See [figure 1] to the right.

So anyway despite the lack of liquor separation in the glass, and the fact that the glass is all wrong, and the dinosaur guts all over the place, this cocktail proved to be quite delightful.  The brandy cuts the strong anise-y flavour of the Benedictine and draws out the more subtle flavours.  I detected a flavor that reminded me strongly of Turkish chai, which was this stuff we drank when I lived in Turkey that I think was actually just instant tea because I remember it being oddly shaped dry crumbly bits that you mixed in with hot water and then viola!  Chai!  Not at all like what they call “chai” at the hipster coffee houses.  Anyway.  The flavour was sort of grassy, in the end.

no dinosaurs this time

figure 2: look at the exciting brown on brown layers!

Ok and but so one ounce of cocktail is not all that much and pretty soon that was gone and I got it into my head that I should really make more of an effort to try floating the brandy.  So I did basically the same things except instead of pouring straight from the jigger I poured the measured amount of brandy from the jigger into a shot glass, which I reasoned held a larger volume of liquid and would therefore allow me to pour it from a more reasonable angle.  It didn’t really work out; the brandy clung to the outside of the shot glass and trailed all the way down and trickled off the bottom.  That was ok, though, because I could still pour it in a semi-controled fashion and I managed to successfully float the brandy.  See [figure 2]:

But the flavour?!  Brandy.  Of course.  It tasted just like brandy at first because thats all you get when you sip a drink like that.  Maybe it works different if you have a real cordial glass but anyway I got sick of it pretty quick and swished the glass around a few times to mix the two liquids together.

And so but that one went down pretty quick too and so when it came time to mix the third I decided to do some science on this drink.  I formed the following hypothesis:  I will enjoy this drink even more in a lowball glass over some ice, and also with larger volumes.  So I mixed a whole shot of each ‘B’ in a lowball glass over three frozen cubes of distilled water (science!).  Then I realized my methods were highly questionable as I had no way of providing a control for this experiment.  So all I can give you is qualitative, anecdotal observations that this is a good drink over ice, but you do loose some of the subtle flavours.  Also somehow the brandy comes through more strongly although this could be because I had given up on trying to float anything so I did not spill a bunch of the brandy on the bar.

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