Add all ingredients to a mixing glass
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe
* * *
It easily goes without saying that the greatest reward of doing this site is the people we get to meet. Not only have we formed some lasting real-world friendships with the kind of folk who otherwise wouldn’t be caught dead in public with the likes of us (it’s all quite Breakfast Clubby at times), but we have assembled a cadre of loyal readers who keep us sharp with probing questions like “Hey, why is there only one Absinthe drink on the Drinks page?” Readers like Dominic.
Back in June, Dominic and I exchanged emails about the lack of drinks on our site which use Absinthe as their base spirit. For us, Absinthe has always been something used in measured doses, and to be quite frank, we’re not big fans of the stuff as the main component of any drink. On numerous levels, a little Absinthe goes a very long way. Still, if you hunted down a bottle of Kübler because of us, we owe it to you to throw a few more drinks your way. Since Dominic was kind enough to send me a list of Absinthe-based cocktails he found in Patrick Gavin Duffy’s The Standard Bartender’s Guide, we figured we better choose one of those.
The Brunelle is a strange little drink of which most people don’t seem too fond. Erik Ellestad added a bit of Gin to his version (a fine idea if ever there was one), but that gives the Brunelle something other than Absinthe as its base spirit. If we were going to come through for Dominic and add another primarily Absinthe drink to our list, we’d have to stick closer to the recipe as given, which is simply ¼ part Absinthe, 1 Tbsp sugar, and ¾ part lemon juice – ratios which just didn’t excite us in any way that could be called positive.
Our liberties began with scaling back the green fairy, which works best providing a harmonious background note. Noting that the drink is really nothing more than lemonade with a splash of booze, we made a nice, yet tart lemonade with rich demerara syrup. The thinking here was that the demerara would complement the Absinthe, while the rich version would allow us to bring in enough sweetness without forsaking the tart, herbal qualities of the drink. And that pretty well sums up the result.
The Brunelle, as presented here, is a refreshing summer quaff that wakes up the mouth and invigorates the body (if you believe in aromatherapy) without getting you all sloppy. There are a lot of layers going on in the drink, with the sour, the sweet, and the Absinthe each stepping out of the band for their own solo moments. As always, if you’re not an Absinthe fan, pass this one by, but if you’re looking for a new variation on the summer sour, I highly recommend it.
Esoterica: Patrick Duffy, the actor, will be returning to the role of Bobby Ewing for the 2012 sequel to the hit series Dallas. No word on whether he will make his entrance via the shower.