Originally published Apr 3, 2012
Given the title of this post, the drink that I am going to describe to you might shock you. Before we dive into this mystery craft cocktail, I will share with you a type of drink that bars should stop serving right now: liquor mixed with Red Bull. If you need Red Bull to stay awake after drinking too much, then perhaps that is a sign to go home. Mixing a downer with an upper is never a good idea, it tricks your body. Keep in mind that alcohol dehydrates you, so does caffeine. So when you wake up with a splitting headache the next morning, you have no one to blame but yourself and your college level decision making process.
Now that the amateurs have left the room, let's have a discussion about craft cocktails. Don't forget that if you have questions about this, save it for the professionals behind the bar.
The Rubicon is a drink that for whatever reason bars are extremely shy to serve. When I say 'shy', I mean that so far only one bar has ever agreed to make it for me. I am guessing that the reason behind this is because the recipe calls liquor to be set on fire. Upon further inspection, every aspect of the Rubicon has hidden meaning. The liquor needs to be lit on fire at the right moment, the ingredients mixed at the right time, the type of ice is crucial as well (crushed ice keeps the rosemary petals down).
Robert Hess with Essential Bartender's Guide first taught me this drink.
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1 rosemary sprig
2 oz gin
1/2 oz maraschino
1/2 oz lemon juice
Light the Chartreuse and rosemary on fire in a rocks glass, and extinguish with the mixture of gin, maraschino and lemon juice.
Hess references that this drink came from Jamie Boudreau. The blog post for this drink is here.
Here are my notes, my readers are asking for this (despite the fact that I'm not a pro at this):
I picked this drink out of the collection because it uses Green Chartreuse. So expect the same type of medicinal flavor. I do pick up on the Maraschino more so than other spirits. Gin is the predominate spirit here, but it easily gets overshadowed. I actually like to start shaking the gin mixture well before lighting the Chartreuse on fire, this means that the fire is really only going on for perhaps five long seconds. Nothing smells better than burning rosemary, just don't overdo it. I love this drink and it changes flavors as you sip on it. Which I don't know if the melting ice has something to do with that or if the gin mixture is sitting on top with the Charteuse on the bottom.
Go to your nearest bar and ask the bartender about this. They might introduce you to my new friend: Mezcal Last Word. The smokiness of the Mezcal emulates the burning of the Chartreuse. More info on that here: What is the Mezcal Last Word?
It is weird for me to end a blog post without thanking someone. So do me a favor and chat to your bartender and thank her/him for explaining the craft to you.