Discerning Drinking, Chapter Seven.

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Originally posted 9th April 2012

One rainy Sunday evening in Limehouse…

I recently wrote about 4th July Cocktails (edit, May 2020: I did, but the website where I wrote about this and got paid twenty-six pence for my efforts has long since closed).  OK, so I am getting a bit ahead of myself but I figure that by July, I will be so far embroiled in Olympic nightmares at work I will only have time to drink the nearest thing to hand, let alone getting out the shaker and some ice and attempting be creative.  Anyway…

The whole piece got me thinking about the great American beverages- where to begin!  Rolling Rock, Jack Daniels, the fantastic wines of the Napa Valley and of course, Bourbon.  I am a bit of Bourbon convert; I only recently tried it  and it is slowly wooing me away from Scotch.  I haven’t tried many; in fact I have only got so far as Maker’s Mark really (remember when I bought it?).  It’s cracking; hints of honey and even apple; it’s light and sweet in just the right measure.  What could I do with this fabulous drink?

So, faced with a chilled out Sunday night with no work the next day (thank you Mr. Jesus) I decided it was time for less talk and more action, so whipped out the old shaker and get to work.

An idea to Americanize the Godfather came to mind.

As well as being a slothfully long-winded gangster epic (I am firmly with Peter Griffin when he states that the film ‘insists on itself’), The Godfather is a damn good after dinner drink consisting of Scotch and amaretto.  My housemate introduced me to it a couple of years ago and it was one of those moments which was life-changing, like when you hear a song that you just know will always be up there with the best you will ever hear.  The measurements of the Godfather vary from equal parts amaretto to Scotch (housemate’s formula), or 2:1 in favour of Scotch (as per Difford’s Guide to Cocktails).

The drink with no name

The first idea was to literally just sub Scotch with Maker’s Mark.  I chose a 1:1 balance; 1.5 shots of amaretto and bourbon.  The result was fantastic; a slightly lighter version of the Godfather which let the distinctive taste of bourbon shine through.

It was a keeper, though I felt that this drink had way more to offer; after all, we have sweet bourbon on sweet(er) amaretto.  I decided to turn the volume up to 11- and needed to do so quick- I’m running out of Disaronno.

The next attempt was more complex:

  • 1.5 shot Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 1.5 shot Disaronno Amaretto
  • 0.75 shot Southern Comfort
  • 0.5 shot Lemon juice
  • 0.25 shot Monin 2:1 sugar syrup

The drink was a huge success; it has massive depth of flavour and rollercoastered through lemon, then bourbon, then amaretto, with a slight, subtle and constant undercurrent of SoCo.  The sugar was an afterthought and it was stirred in after tasting; the first drink needed a bit of balance.  I may ease the lemon juice to 0.25 the next time I make it.

The only challenge I have is categorising the drink; it isn’t quite ‘after dinner’ like the Godfather, not quite ‘winter warmer’ either.  I can’t see myself ordering these on night out either (probably because ordering a round of these in London would cost about five-hundred quid).

‘Autumnal’?  Yup, definitely.  An autumnal drink for grown ups, consumed on the rocks.

And the name?  Well I thought long and hard, but to keep it in line with the Godfather, the American ingredients (with SoCo added to the fray), along with tasting notes that could be described as ‘quietly powerful’, I decided on…

‘The Soprano’

That’ll do.  Off to the shops to get more amaretto then.  Keeping a bar is an expensive business…

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