Not to keep harping on the same point, but this post is also going to start with Seven Grand. We visited there a few weeks ago (full review to come after I return to, uh, verify some finer points of their cocktail menu) and I started out the night with a Bourbon Crusta.
Now, in my not very long or illustrious career in drinking, I had never had a crusta of any sort. I hadn’t made them at home because I couldn’t be bothered to trim out the gigantic peel that forms the distinctive garnish of the drink, and because I have a shallow, infantile response to sugared rims.
What? It makes me think of Cocktail. I can’t help it.
Finally, though, I took the plunge with Marcos behind the bar and it proved to be a delightful experience. So much so that I even grabbed the paring knife and tried the original brandy version at home. I checked out a few recipes, but finally decided on Jamie Boudreau’s, as the sweet-sour balance seemed to be more my speed and the inclusion of maraschino intrigued me.
1½ oz brandy
¾ oz Cointreau
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
dash of maraschino liqueur
dash of Peychaud’s bitters
Shake over ice and strain into a cocktail glass rimmed with sugar. Add a small chunk of ice and garnish with a large peel of lemon tucked inside the rim.
You will have noticed by now that my lemon was too small to get a peel large enough to wedge into my glass, so I had to resort to artfully hanging it off the side. Also, Jamie’s recipe does not actually call for a chunk of ice to be added to the drink post-mixing; that’s a little tidbit I swiped from Dr. Cocktail’s recipe in Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails.
As to the drink itself, it’s easy to understand how the crusta has stood the test of time. Jamie notes that this drink is the parent of the Sidecar, which makes it part of a line I was bound to love. The tartness of the lemon is amply rounded out by the richness of the brandy and the sweet citrus of the Cointreau, while the maraschino gives it that little dash of sophistication. The color is a lovely dusky rose, one of those colors that evokes spring without even trying. It’s a fantastic drink, one that would be delightful sipped in the shade on a sunny afternoon.