Blue like the January sky.
Blue ghosts cross a white field
Ice blossoms dance in cold sunlight
Blue is the memory of color.
Anyhoo, Blue is the theme for this month’s Mixology Monday hosted by Ginhound! The blue cocktail trend is supposed to become a thing, so this seems very a la mode. I’m not really one to add food coloring to my drinks just in order to turn a perfectly good martini blue, or a beer green. However, it is near impossible to walk a hard line on food coloring. I’m pretty sure that Campari contributes a fair amount of it, as does Angostura and a host of other common occupants of my bar, for that matter. But as for just adding a few drops of blue… well, that would be too easy anyway.
So, I originally set out thinking about how I could turn a drink blue more naturally. (I also didn’t have any Blue Curacao or other blue liqueur.) Ginhound had plenty of good ideas of using red cabbage, blueberries and the like, which could totally work, but I wasn’t feeling it. Then I thought about ingredients that have blue in the name, then cocktails that have blue in the name… But that’s when things got more interesting. I started thinking about blue outside the food context and things/feelings associated with that color/word. The challenge to create something around an abstract theme is exciting!
Enter Miles Davis
A smoky, blue lit club swirling sounds about the atmosphere. Jazz always has had this hazy blue vibe to me. Not all jazz recordings of course, but rather the general idea of it.
Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue is one of the greatest jazz albums of all time.
“Why does Kind of Blue possess such a mystique? Perhaps because this music never flaunts its genius…. It’s the pinnacle of modal jazz — tonality and solos build from the overall key, not chord changes, giving the music a subtly shifting quality….” – AllMusic senior editor Stephen Erlewine
Let’s create a cocktail inspired by Kind of Blue!
After listening to the record, I knew right away that the rounded sophistication of the sound called out for cognac. Naturally, my thoughts turned to the Vieux Carré, hailing from the land of jazz with a solid base of cognac. But I didn’t want to just make a classic cocktail. I wanted something that spoke to the source material more specifically.
The finer details of the drink, therefore, needed more boundaries. So, I narrowed the album down to one track in particular, Blue in Green. The soft piano and bass undertones would be played nicely by the cognac. An accent of scotch for my smoky haze. The brassy inflections that pop above those undertones add complexity and high notes to the sound and really make the music interesting. Bitters and a twist of lemon. A little sweet vermouth to echo the Vieux Carré, add mouth-feel and round it all out.
Let’s swirl some green chartreuse into a chilled coup for the improvisation and a subtle shout out to another New Orleans classic. Then, we’ll pour our Blue into the Green!
Blue in Green
1 oz Cognac
1 oz Scotch
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
2 Dashes Peychaud Bitters
2 Dashes Orange Bitters (Fee Bros.)
1 Bar Spoon Green Chartreuse
Lemon Peel for Garnish
Set a cocktail glass to chill. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a mixing glass/tin. Add ice and stir.
In the chilled glass, add a bar spoonful of green chartreuse and swirl it around the glass.
Strain the contents of the mixing glass into the coup, twist the lemon peel over the drink to release the oils and garnish.
Blue in Green – a “subtly shifting” cocktail.
Check out the Mixology Monday round up here.