Blomme i Madeira
A pickle for Christmas
Coming to Denmark from a different country is usually not the hardest thing ever. However, adapting to the local culture may sometimes prove tricky. Especially when it comes to deeply rooted traditions as Christmas.
Finding something you can relate to on a personal level is not easy as the traditions across the world vary wildly. For Kester Thomas’ Erwan Le Bonniec, the missing link ended up being a marzipan candy – Plum in Madeira. So as a Christmas serve at his bar, he tries to recreate the taste and mouthfeel of this classic Anthon Berg treat.
To achieve a perfect balance of acidity and sweetness so typical for marzipan, madeira and plums alike, Erwan chose to go with a pickle. A drink category on a slow rise, brought to attention by Finnish bartender Eetu Topo, that employs vinegar for acidity.
40ml Linie Double Cask Madeira Aquavit
25ml Leacock’s Madeira 5
barspoon Monin Orgeat
teaspoon Meyers Plum Balsamic Vinegar
Stirred with ice, served up in a cognac glass and garnished with dark chocolate.
After a quick stir, the drink arrives in front of you in a cognac snifter, with a piece of dark chocolate sitting on the rim. The nose is therefore dominated by cocoa, but upon burrowing your nose deep in the glass, it’s just plums all over the place. Considering the only plum ingredient is the vinegar, you instantly understand how carefully balanced the drink needs to be.
Most aquavit cocktails provide a blank slate for the other ingredients to shine on, but as the Linie used here was aged in Madeira casks, the subtle hints of wood provide the main leading note.
The Madeira wine itself adds body and acidity to the drink, while supporting the plum taste. And despite their small measures, the orgeat and vinegar play a very important balancing role. Instead of using an anonymous sweetener like simple syrup, orgeat brings character and another flavour level. Meanwhile the vinegar delivers a solid boost of acidity, authentic plum feel and something that will awaken your tastebuds.
The cocktail evolves further when you sip it over a bite of dark chocolate, which adds a rich and bitter mouthfeel. And as you let the concoction flow around your mouth, you’ll discover just how close it gets to the candy that inspired it and how close we are to Christmas.
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