Cocktail Recipe – The Sovay Cocktail
Deep in the hidden recesses of the MixPourSip.com cocktail laboratories lay the results of recent experimentation with homemade liqueurs and some of the possible cocktails they can create. One of these possible concoctions, the Sovay Cocktail, is built upon the bones of our homemade lemon/thyme/juniper liqueur. The entire team down in the super secret custom cocktail vault felt this one should be shared with the general public as soon as possible bypassing the normal double blind studies and regulatory approval processes.
The entire process for the homemade lemon/thyme/juniper liqueur will be featured in an upcoming piece. That said, you can come reasonably close to mimicking it by muddling a half sprig of fresh thyme in a half ounce of Italian limoncello and a half ounce of Martin Millers Westbourne Strength Gin. The flavor will be close although our liqueur comes in at 98 proof whereas the resulting gin/limoncello mixture will come in at around 70-75 proof depending on the limoncello.
The liqueur was built upon Buffalo Trace Distilling’s White Dog un-aged whiskey steeped with, as you might imagine, fresh thyme, juniper berries and fresh lemon peel with some pith included for bitterness. The White Dog whiskey starts the show off at 120 proof and, after five weeks of steeping, was cut with filtered water and agave nectar. At the final of 98 proof, the liqueur is a fairly serious sip.
The Sovay Cocktail started its’ life mixing the lemon/thyme/juniper liqueur with Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Agnostura bitters, lemon juice and agave nectar. This effort was too smooth and too sweet. We switched the bourbon to Bulleit Straight Rye feeling the rawness of the rye was more appropriate here than the smoothness of the bourbon. This was close but still too sweet and not bitter enough for my taste. I wanted to go all Pink Gin with this one and add eight to twelve drops of Agnostura. In the end I switched from the bitters entirely and went with a half an ounce of Compari. This added the bitter I wanted but also added orange notes that played off the lemon juice nicely. Still a little sweet, I dropped the agave nectar to just under a half ounce and increased the amount of Rye to two full ounces. The resulting cocktail is harmonious, I believe, but while still highlighting the main stars of the drink, the Rye and the homemade hooch.
As for the name, Sovay is the name of two songs. The first is a traditional English ballad about a young woman who dresses as an old roadside bandit, or highwayman, in order to test the true love of her man. The other is the name of a song by Andrew Bird off of his Mysterious Production of Eggs album. It was the first song that I heard on one of the most memorable nights of my life. Insert knowing, memory filled smile here. I hope this drink will bring a somewhat similar smile to your face.
So mix two of these up, turn on the Andrew Bird and share one of the glasses with someone you wish to make a lasting memory with.
The Sovay Cocktail
2 ounces Bulleit Straight Rye
1 ounce homemade lemon/thyme/juniper liqueur, or alternately
1/2 sprig of thyme muddled with 1/2 ounce of limoncello and 1/2 ounce of Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength Gin
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
just under 1/2 ounce agave nectar
1 thyme branch, for garnish (not pictured)
Mix all ingredients in an ice filled cocktail shaker and stir well to combine just as you would a Manhattan. Strain into chilled coupe or cocktail glass and garnish with the thyme branch. Serve and enjoy.