Saturday, August 4, 2012

Cocktail Wednesdays: French Pearl

French Pearl

This week's cocktail, The French Pearl, was created by Audrey Saunders and Kenta Goto at the Pegu Club, New York, NY. It was originally made with pastis, which emerged as an absinthe substitute in France after absinthe was banned. It has a lower alcohol content, and unlike absinthe -- which is made using wormwood and green anise -- pastis gains its licorice flavor from star anise and licorice root. Pastis is also a "liqueur", meaning it is always bottled with sugar. Still, I see no reason not to substitue the original spirit that inspired pastis, if that's what you've got on hand.

French Pearl
2 oz Gin
1⁄2 oz Lime juice
3⁄4 oz Simple syrup
1⁄4 oz Absinthe
1 sprig Mint

Muddle mint with other ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake over ice, and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Note: If made with pastis, increase lime juice to 3/4 oz.

The verdict: This drink is crisp and bright. I expected it to have a less strong absinthe or licorice flavor, and Scott expected the flavor to be stronger. Our guest, I found out, is not a fan of licorice, and it was a bit too much for him. I felt that the licorice flavor was louder than the citrus or juniper flavors, but I found myself enjoying the balance of flavors more as I kept drinking it. Scott, on the other hand, found that the acidity started to bother him, though he usually doesn't have a problem with lime, and there isn't a huge amount in the drink. He says, "I didn't like it. It tasted good, but it burned my stomach."

After speaking with him a bit, the mystery is solved. Usually, I mix the drinks, but this time, he mixed the drinks while I made dinner. For whatever reason, he misread the recipe and actually made it it with lemon juice. Be sure to make it with lime, and you'll have less struggles with acid reflux sensitivity.

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