Monday, November 10, 2008
Mixology Monday XXXIII: Gay Caballero, or Infused with Walnuts
The Jack Twist . . . a sweet, nutty Cowboy drink.
As bartenders, bar chefs, mixologists—call us anything you’d like—we like to tinker. Something deep inside prevents us from ever being satisfied with settling for labeled distilled spirits. So what do we do? We strive to create flavors that excite, challenge, and hopefully satiate our ever-exploring palates by changing a spirit’s flavor profile. Like Byrd searching for the South Pole, we bravely face adversity as we taste-taste and mix old reliable spirits with a dash of this and a pinch of that, wait a few days (or weeks . . . or months), and blammo, we’ve created a liqueur.
Enter walnuts. Walnuts are one of our favorite nuts. They add a perfect complement to chocolate in a Toll House Cookie. Their marriage with bananas are a classic to-die-for component in many breads, desserts, and breakfast fare. Why not go all walnut on some whiskey such as Jack Daniels? After all, Jack is filtered through sugar maple charcoal. Perhaps maple and walnut would do the two-step with some tasty results. Well, after toasting some walnuts in the oven, and then infusing the darkly aromatic bits in some Jack for three days, the whiskey acquired a pleasant viscosity that made for a more pleasurable mouthfeel. Add some walnut liqueur and a little bit o’ dark brown sugar, shake it all up, and strain into a very receptive rocks glass, eager to feel the pulse of your waiting lips. Don’t forget to throw in a tiny twist of lemon, so it’ll kiss you with every sip.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the drink was named after the character in Brokeback Mountain, as portrayed by the inestimable Jake Gyllenhaal. Add a little bit of advocaat to the mix (about a 1/2 ounce), and you’ve got yourself a Jack Nasty.
(created by Paul Zablocki, Cocktail Buzz)
2 ounces toasted walnut-infused Jack Daniels*
3/4 ounce walnut liqueur
1/2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
small lemon twist (about 1/2 inch)
Shake vigorously with ice for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled rocks glass. Garnish with the twist.
* Walnut-infused Jack Daniels
2 cups Jack Daniels whiskey
1/4 cup walnuts
Pour Jack Daniels into an airtight container. Toast walnuts in 350°F oven, or on stove top in skillet, for up to 12 minutes, careful not to burn (shake skillet occasionally). When walnuts have started to brown and you can smell their oils being released, remove from heat and add to Jack Daniels. Cover. Infuse for 4 days, shaking occasionally from day to day. After four days, strain Jack Daniels into a clean container, and discard walnuts.
photo © Steve Schul, Cocktail Buzz