I’ve made a ton of bad decisions in my life, that’s how you get experience, which they say leads to wisdom, but I’m not sure that is guaranteed. I’d love to believe it, but I know too many folks who messed up at nearly every step and never learned a damned thing along the way. I guess that’s the way it goes sometimes. It’s hard to learn from a mistake if you don’t own it and that’s a shame. I figure the only half decent reason for there to be pain in the world is to help us learn to not inflict any more of it than we can help, but what do I know? So, in the spirit of learning from our mistakes, won’t you join me now as we stand and make The Flying Nutsman.
That’s right, we are getting a little nutty today. Well, a lot nutty, if I am honest. This one was a request as a way to use that Skrewball Peanut Butter whiskey my special lady friend is enamored with at present. We bought a bottle on a whim and after I made that first PB&J Sour she’s been hooked. This drink comes to us from The Educated Barfly but not from Leandro’s private stock, this one was submitted for a contest by viewer Mickey Flann. It is an unusual drink, three spirits and a bit of orgeat, no bitters, no citrus; shaken, not stirred. It definitely goes against conventions, but does it work?
Grab your tins and pop in 1 1/4 ounce of Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey, 3/4 of an ounce of orgeat, 3/4 of an ounce of Frangelica hazelnut liqueur, 3 drops of 20% saline solution or a pinch of salt and here comes the kicker, 3/4 of an ounce of gin. Now the success of this drink is gong to vary wildly depending on the gin you choose. They suggest a nice American style gin, maybe something with cucumber, but I had a fresh bottle of Spanish Gin Maré, so that’s what I used. Toss in a handful of artisanal ice cubes and give this one a good shake to the beat of Sturgill Simpson’s “Turtles All the Way Down“. When your tins begin to frost up, double strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with some almond sea salt chocolate bark.
This is where we get to the learning from our mistakes part of the lesson. I adore Gin Maré. It is this lovely, really unique Spanish gin we discovered in Barcelona. It’s got an incredible Mediterranean flavor, full of olive, thyme, rosemary and basil. Truly amazing stuff. Not cucumber forward, not American style, also not appropriate for this cocktail. Of course, I knew that, but it has been hard to find of late and I had finally scored a new bottle, so, in my excitement, I ignored the advice of the drink creator and used it any way. Everything that makes this gin special worked in conjunction to ruin this drink. None of the ingredients played well together and on my first sip I knew what I had done. It was a serious disservice to this drink, so I made it again, using Corsair American Gin with notes of juniper, citrus and cucumber.
With a more considered gin choice, this is a wonderful drink. Seriously, just like every recipe, it is all about the ingredients. Made with Corsair this was an entirely different animal, as I am sure it would be with Hendrick’s or Mischief Fremont Distillery Gin, if I could find a bottle locally. The dry, herbal notes from the gin help to temper all the sweet stuff going on from the peanut, hazelnut, and almond gallery. You definitely get all those nutty flavors going on and it’s a lot of sweet, but between the herbal gin and the salt it is more than palatable. It’s simply lovely. A dessert drink, no doubt, but what is wrong with that?
I’ve been talking about mistakes, so I want to own this. I did not use Gin Maré out of spite or because I thought I knew better. I just got excited because when I went to the gin section of our backbar. It was sitting there, practically shining at me out of the darkness. Perhaps, it was a trick of the light, I simply do not know. Whatever the reason for it’s halo, I snatched it up without a thought as to how it would work in this cocktail. It’s not that I didn’t know better, I just got caught up in the moment. Passion can do that to you. That’s why you have to be careful with the shiny stuff. My only regret is using up some of this “why is it suddenly so hard to find? Oh yeah, global supply chain issues” wonderful gin in a drink I ruined. It’s ok, that’s how we learn. My son is fond of reminding me that our mistakes are just opportunities to become more perfect and the kid is right. So, I am gonna take this lesson to heart and try to not get caught up in the moment quite so much, to be more precise with my actions, well, at least behind the bar. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.