This is starting to get silly…

November 13th, 2009

Looking back at the Ri.Pa Deuxième got me thinking about Valentino’s other bitters heavy drink, the Trinidad Especial. Using a full ounce of Angostura bitters the drink amazed me with its balance, and while it may seem perverse to be considering such Angostura heavy drinks in the middle of a worldwide shortage, reports are the bitters are back in production so I can’t think of any better way to celebrate that fact!

Soon after trying the Especial I came across another very similar recipe by Giuseppe Gonzalez of Clover Club and Dutch Kills called the Trinidad Sour. The drink was created by Giuseppe when he and Damon Dyer of Flatiron Lounge were playing around with the Trinidad Especial and swapping out various ingredients for the pisco. In the end they settled for rye creating a drink that is strikingly similar, yet surprisingly different.

Trinidad Sour cocktail

Trinidad Sour

View in: oz | ml | shots

The overall flavour profile remains pretty faithful to the Trinidad Especial, with the Angostura bitters providing a bitter, clovey base that nonetheless doesn’t overwhelm. Despite essentially being in reverse proportion to most rye drinks the whiskey provides a subtle but noticeable effect on the drink (you’ll want to use a fairly robust rye, Rittenhouse Bonded works superbly) and the result, to my tastes at least, is a more successful drink than the Trinidad Especial.

I thought this was probably about as far as it was possible to go with bitters in drinks, but then I came across a comment from Giuseppe Gonzalez himself on Paul Clarke’s post on the Trinidad Sour about another drink that took things even further with a frankly insane 1½ shot / 45 ml / 1½ oz of Angostura bitters. 1½ shot / 45 ml / 1½ oz? There was no way I could not give that a try…

Stormy Mai Tai

Stormy Mai-Tai

View in: oz | ml | shots

Using large quantities of Angostura bitters certainly makes drinks look pretty, and the deep red of the Stormy Mai-Tai contrasting against the green mint makes for a very appetising looking cocktail. The initial flavour of the is quite, well, Mai-Tai-like, with a pleasant mixture of citrus, rum and curaçao providing a refreshing and surprisingly light drink. As the drink works its way through your taste buds though a much deeper, more bitter and aromatic flavour works its way through though it is balanced nicely by the orgeat.

The finish is actually quite dry, meaning each sip is quite an adventure as you meander through the initial fruitiness and the later aromatics, and finally a lasting bitter tang on the tongue. I’m no Mai Tai expert unlike certain people, but this is certainly one of the most interesting, and delicious, Mai Tai’s I’ve tried.

Despite turning all reason and logic on their heads these drinks remain remarkably balanced and enjoyable, and really do make you reconsider the role bitters play in a drink. From relatively light uses like Gonçalo’s Juniper Club Cocktail and the Seelbach, to the cocktails featured today, it just shows bitters don’t always have to be measured in dashes.

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Posted in Aromatic Bitters, Curaçao & Triple Sec, Lemon, Lime, Recipes, Rum, Rye

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17 responses to “This is starting to get silly…”

  1. SeanMike SeanMike says:

    So there seems to be an Angostura shortage going on, and you’re suggesting heavy Angostura drinks…

    I KNOW! You’ve stockpiled Ango and are planning on making a killing selling it to desperate cocktailians! You dastardly man!

  2. Tiare Tiare says:

    Jay, your photos just gets better and better..

    After i read this i just had to dig up my Uitvlugt Full proof demerara and make me a decent Mai Tai – its friday after all..oh yah!

  3. Tiare Tiare says:

    Funny..the Trinidad Especial inspired my very first blog post…

    That drink is a nice one.

  4. Tiare Tiare says:

    And i do agree, bitters doesn`t always has to be measured in dashes.

    I`m out of Angostura for the moment but when i get me a bottle again I will try both of these drinks, i cannot resist.

    Btw, if you read my first blog post you`ll see that Angostura or rather the Trinidad Especial is good over vanilla ice cream, a trick i learnt from Michael Perron.

    Maybe the Trinidad Sour also would be?

  5. AlchemistGeorge AlchemistGeorge says:

    Another Angostura heavy recipe is Jasper’s Jamaica Planter’s Punch which is in the new edition of Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails.

  6. Daily Digest for November 14th at Unusual Snack says:

    [...] Shared Trinidad Sour and Stormy Mai Tai cocktail recipes by Giuseppe Gonzalez » Cocktail adventures at Oh …. [...]

  7. Frederic Frederic says:

    While Giuseppe Gonzalez has created these modern recipes, older recipes for large amounts of Angostura have existed for quite some time. Charles H. Baker’s Angostura Sour is but one of them.

    I am impressed at how much cherry flavor comes out from the cherry bark in the Angostura when used in that quantity. And how much frothy head you can generate from a shake from the bitters alone.

  8. Jay Jay says:

    SeanMike – Damn, you discovered my plan… ;-)

    Frederic – I agree, the cherry flavour is impressive. And the frothy head the biters provide look great.

  9. JP Nguyen JP Nguyen says:

    Hi,I’m a longtime reader of Oh Gosh but it’s my first comment!
    I wanted to thank you for your job in general and for this specific post that inspired me a Mai Tai variation :
    Yeah, I blog about cocktails…and comic books (a special kind of mix).

  10. Party math is hard! + six other links - The Jolly Inebriate says:

    [...] Speaking as someone who loves a liberal portion of Angostura bitters in some of his drinks, it’s nice to see Oh Gosh!’s Jay Hepburn offer up some recipes that use an ounce of the stuff. [...]

  11. Jay Jay says:

    Thanks for the comment JP – 1/2 oz of Peychaud’s in the Mai Tai sounds interesting.

  12. Life’s Bitter « The Manhattan Project – Cocktails says:

    [...] the Trinidad Especial, and it’s cousin the Trinidad Sour, require that you pour a whole ounce (30mL) of [...]

  13. Giselle Giselle says:

    Some wonderful recipes here. It is amazing what Angostura aromatic bitters can do.

  14. mickael mickael says:

    I’m so glad the Trinidad Especial inspires so many bartenders.
    This cocktail is still the most surprising one I’ve tasted for the past…..since I started bartending.
    It proves that everything is possible if you put your mind into it and if you let your taste buds do the talking.

  15. Clash of the Cocktail « A Jigger of Blog says:

    [...] cocktails made with inordinate amount of bitters. While one ounce of Angostura Bitters  in the Trinidad Sour still puts Quinlan’s drink to shame, 10 dashes is a lot of bitters…and a lot of bitters [...]

  16. Jeffrey Morgenthaler » The Kingston Club says:

    [...] I, and the rest of the world, was taken by the combination of bitter, herbal, sweet flavors, it never really struck me as a an [...]

  17. The Kingston Club – Jeffrey Morgenthaler says:

    [...] I, and the rest of the world, was taken by the combination of bitter, herbal, sweet flavors, it never really struck me as a an [...]

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