Mixpoursip has a thirst inducing review of their trip to Clyde Common in Portland, run by the incomparable Jeffrey Morgenthaler. Morgenthaler is widely recognized as one of the the luminaries in the field of mixology, well-regarded for knowledge, innovation, and attention to detail. You need look no further than his recent successes in popularizing barrel-aged cocktails to realize that Morgenthaler is something special. And so are his cocktails. In fact, one of the best parts (and worst, if you are far from Portland and unable to partake) of the Mixpoursip article is the inclusion of Clyde Common’s current cocktail menu, which runs the gamut from a delicate gin and amontillado buck to a devilish Irish whiskey and Cynar concoction. In perusing the menu, one drink in particular jumped out at me, and a quick check of the liquor cabinet confirmed that I had the necessary ingredients to create my own (albeit amateur) Clyde Common cocktail.
Bourbon Renewal (via Jeffrey Morgenthaler)
2 oz bourbon
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz creme de cassis
1/2 oz simple syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
Mix ingredients and pour over cracked ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge, or, if in season, fresh currants.
A couple of notes on the preparation. First, although Morgenthaler’s blog recipe calls for Woodford Reserve, Mixpoursip’s menu lists Maker’s as the current bourbon of choice, so I went with that. Also, since the instructions have you simply mix and pour over cracked ice, I used a dry shake (no ice) before pouring into a glass with hand cracked ice (a decisive whack with the back of a bar spoon does the trick).
The interplay of flavors in this drink is something special. The bourbon is certainly dominant, which I loved. But there is a hint of fruity sweetness from the creme de cassis that is very complementary. In the past I’ve found cassis difficult to work with because it can be so cloyingly sweet, but here it added a simple, clear, but subtle suggestion of fruit and sweetness. Enjoying my homemade version of this cocktail makes me pine for the chance to sit at Morgenthaler’s bar and drink in (literally) his expertise. For now, I live vicariously through Mixpoursip, and the many Bourbon Renewals that I am sure to make in the coming months. Cheers.