Molecular Mixology III: Rubicon

Those of you that know me, know that I don’t much believe in molecular mixology as it currently exists. Plasmatic liquids, drinks that you eat, or better yet, smell, are fun to experiment with, but don’t really have a place in most bars. As companions to a meal, they may have a purpose, but standing alone they usually fall short in the enjoyment and/or refreshment department.

Does this mean that I think that we should shrug this movement off as a fad, forever immortalized in VH1 Classics “Remember the Cocktail”? (OK, this doesn’t exist, but you know that I’d watch it) Not necessarily, but I do think we need to reexamine its uses.

Instead of trying to use molecular mixology as a “wow” factor, let’s try to use it to better understand the ingredients and how they may react under specific situations. A perfect example of this would be the Rosewater Rickey, whose recipe is listed in this blog, and is filmed via an episode on the Small Screen Network. In this cocktail, I use Angostura bitters to “brulee” brandied cherries. The reason for this is three-fold: the Angostura is heated, thereby releasing the flavors and aromas of the spices (as seen in Indian cooking), the sugar is caramelized, changing the flavor, and the cherries are warmed, allowing the juices and flavor to be more easily extracted into the beverage.

Another example of how I use energy (heat) to change the properties of a spirit and its ingredients can be found in another cocktail I’ve created: the Rubicon. In this drink I light green Chartreuse, using the liquid to cook a sprig of rosemary. The neat thing about lighting green Chartreuse is that it immediately becomes, in my mind, a more interesting product. A lot of the alcohol edge is burned off, and the botanicals seem to blend and integrate a little more smoothly. (To see this in action, pour some green Chartreuse on a spoon and taste. Now, pour some on a spoon and allow to burn for about 6 seconds. Blow out and allow the spoon to cool. Now taste and marvel at the difference)

The burning Chartreuse also has the benefit of cooking the rosemary, releasing a lot of aroma and allowing the flavors to better permeate the beverage as oils are released. As for the “wow” factor, when you extinguish the flame with the rest of the ingredients, a thick white smoke develops.

Please enjoy this refreshing late summer/ early fall beverage that can be found in Seattle Metropolitan’s Bride & Groom magazine:

………………………………………………………………………………

RUBICON

In a rocks glass:
½ oz green Chartreuse
1 rosemary sprig
Curl rosemary in rocks glass and light Chartreuse, cooking rosemary
(if available, put Chartreuse into a mister, and use this as a “torch” to light the Chartreuse in the glass)

In a mixing glass:
2 oz gin
½ oz maraschino
½ oz lemon
shake, strain into rocks glass, extinguishing flame
top with crushed ice

see my reply in the comments for more detailed instructions.
………………………………………………………………………………

The rosemary curled in the glass reminded me of Caesar’s laurels and therefore I’ve named this libation after the famous river Caesar crossed in 49 BC after uttering the now famous words: ‘Let us go where the omens of the Gods and the crimes of our enemies summon us! THE DIE IS NOW CAST!’ It is with this action that the Roman Empire began, and western civilization as we know it.

Drink and picture by:
Jamie Boudreau
www.vesselseattle.com

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~ by Jamie Boudreau on July 13, 2007.

12 Responses to “Molecular Mixology III: Rubicon”

  1. I wonder if there is anything that could replace the green Chartreuse, the reason I ask is simple. The only kind I could find(anywhere, not just at my local store) is very expensive, and I am just a home mixologist at the moment so its just a bit steep for my pocket. I have some homemade absinthe that would burn if given the chance, or do you have any suggestions. Thanks, and also I just found your blog and enjoy it very much, keep up the good work.

  2. You could try it with absinthe, but it would be a VERY different drink indeed. The herbaceous qualities of Chartreuse blend very well with gin and rosemary, which is why it is used. Chartreuse does come in half bottles, and this may be the way for you to go.

  3. I realized my problem, when I first commented I had only seen Chartreuse in one store, and they only had one kind. I not sure of the exact difference, but it was some kind of special edition or reserve or something. The bottle was $114, this past weekend I spotted a both the yellow & green for a more resonable price(around $40 or so).

  4. […] Seattle and can visit Vessel, this is the one drink I want to try more than any other. He calls it the Rubicon, and it also uses lemon juice instead of lime and ups the gin portions as well. I didn’t mean […]

  5. thanks for hosting us last night, Jamie. this drink truly is a marvel and you, sir, are a master. i never fail to learn alot when i visit, jamie, no matter how blasted i am!!!

  6. Have a favorite Gin for this?

  7. Ian M:
    Plymouth is always a favourite, but something like Beefeater would be wonderful as well.

  8. Hey,

    Just a big thanks for providing a comprehensive way in to MM. Have been working on a ultimate Aperitif using Botany and Herbal Liqueurs as appetite stimulants. Nice to see Chartreuse & Rosemary combo is tried and tested (and slightly annoyed im not original). Thoughts on using Strega, Dubonnet, Ginger, Bitters as well?
    Too much for one Cocktail?
    Hendricks a good base gin?
    Also Catnip supposedly good appetite stimulant, bit wary though, mayb garnish.
    Thoughts anyone..

    • I’ve tried this a few ways, and prefer an ‘old’ London dry gin for this, something like Tanqueray. It takes a lot of juniper to poke through the Chartruese.

  9. Any thoughts on how long to let the Chartreuse burn? I just tried this at home. It’s very nice, but I can’t imagine that I’m going to make enough of these to optimize the burn time. When I made it I assembled the other ingredients in the mixing glass, lit the Chartreuse, gave the rest of the cocktail a good long shake, and then doused it. It probably burned for around 30 seconds. Too long? Too short? What’s your standard, Jamie?

    • Ben:
      30 seconds is way too long. Place the rosemary in the glass. Pour the Chartreuse over it. Make the rest of the drink and shake it. Light the Chartreuse and swirl around the glass so that the flame encompasses all of the rosemary. After about 5 seconds (before the rosemary is burning) put out the fire with the drink (a beautiful white smoke should appear). Top with crushed ice and consume.

  10. […] Je vous raconte tout ça simplement parce que je me suis rendu ce vendredi au Belmondo, un bar madrilène qui, à peine lancé, est déjà en train de ses construire une très belle réputation, et que j’ai pu y essayer un excellent cocktail mettant fort bien en évidence les caractéristiques de la chartreuse verte. Je n’ai pas pu voir comment il était préparé – il y avait beaucoup de monde – mais on m’a laissé entendre qu’il s’agissait d’une variation sur le Rubicon, une création du mixologiste canadien Jamie Boudreau. […]

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