Mistakes, we all make them. I make so many mistakes that this almost feels like a retread of stuff I have said before. I wanted to quote Maya Angelou and her admonition to, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Then I figured I had probably use that bit before, I am a big fan of quoting her whenever I can. If you’ve read much of her work, you know why. I wasn’t properly prepared for today’s drink, so I missed a trick and I hate that. My whole hook is working tirelessly in the background to be better prepared than the next guy, all so I can try to make it look effortless. I failed at that, but all is not lost, now we have one of those teachable moments, so we are going to go with that. In that spirit, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make the Fantasticus.
This drink comes to us from Drink Kong himself, Rome’s famed barkeep, Patrick Pistolesi. It’s an Italian riff on the Classic Daiquiri, that presents like a martini, or at least it would if I had done my research before making the drink. That’s part of life, we make mistakes, we learn more and we try to do better. I was torn about how to handle this newfound knowledge, since I could easily remake the drink closer to it’s original intention, but I opted to enshrine my gullibility on this one and just explain my mistake. So, let’s go ahead and make the drink and I’ll apologize for my shortcomings later.
Grab your tins and pop in 1 3/4 ounce of that lovely Italicus Bergamot liqueur, 1 ounce of rum, the recipe I discovered called for gold rum, I used El Dorado 5, but the original used a clear rum, specifically Havana Club 3 year. The clear rum will help this one sell itself as a martini, so do as I say, not as I have done. Toss in 1/4 ounce of simple syrup and a single drop of Tonka Bean Bitters, add ice and shake well to the beat of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds“, but switch it up and use the Elton John version. You want this one to go ice cold, so shake for a while before straining into a cocktail glass to continue the martini-esque deception, instead of the Nick & Nora I chose. Garnish with a single tiny mint leaf flat in the center of the drink and serve.
That is a lovely little after dinner digestif. A little sweet, but not overly, that bergamot liqueur steps in to replace both the citrus and the simple syrup in the classic daiquiri, for a unique twist on the original. I adore this bergamot liqueur and how well it plays with other flavors. I wish I had learned more about the drink as it was presented when Drink Kong first opened. I really think that dressing this one up as a martini would lean into the twist reveal in a nice M. Night Shyamalan way. Not a wow Sixth Sense, “I see dead people” reveal, it’s more of a “Lady in the Water” or “The Village” sort of bait and switch. It’s nice, but nothing you won’t see coming if you are paying attention.
I know it might not seem like much, but I am disappointed in myself for not doing better research before I made this drink. I am usually better than this. I stumbled across the recipe while looking for ways to use that shiny new bottle of Italicus and just added to my list of things to do, without bothering to learn if there was more to the story. The version I made is excellent, but it missed the point of the drink. Poking a little deeper into that one, it probably missed the point of the drink because they had a deal with an alcohol company who had a golden rum. Nothing wrong with deals. I love them, I’d happily sell my soul for the right price, but in this case, while the choice of a golden rum was fine, flavor wise, it totally changed the look of the drink. That choice, when coupled with the suggestion to serve it in a Nick & Nora, rather than a traditional “Martini” cocktail glass, totally lost that Daiquiri-in-disguise subterfuge, Signore Pistolesi intended.
So, yeah it’s not the end of the world. I made a super tasty cocktail that doesn’t look like what the creator intended. Worse things have happened. Still, it was avoidable. If I had put in the work and done my research before I got all fired up to make this drink, y’all would never have known and things would have gone off without a hitch. I’ve got a theatre background, so I am all about not letting the audience know there was a mistake, usually, but I also love the honesty of owning my errors. So, there you go, I mess up and you get the benefit of the experience, that seems like a pretty good deal, especially since I got to enjoy the cocktail…and the second one I am inevitably going to make, just to get it right. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.