Now Serving – Bengali Strepsil

By The Gentleman

 

So the other day I was watching an episode of Jamie and Jimmy’s Food Fight Club and they kept going on about how beer cocktails are the big thing in drinking at the moment. It was also an episode where Jamie and Jimmy said huckle-my-buff so many times it became a form of torture and I wanted to huckle Jamie’s buff to make him stop, but it did get me thinking that I hadn’t had a beer cocktail yet.

 

I skipped through my books to see if I could find any interesting beer cocktail recipes, but nothing took my fancy. There were either a version of ‘shot and a brew’ or something akin to a shandy. Not that there’s anything wrong with those combinations, I’ll probably try them later, but I was feeling a little more adventurous. I eventually searched online and adapted the Weissen Sour from here. It was an interesting drink that grew on you over time.

 

Bengali Strepsil

1 1/2 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon

3/4 oz lemon juice

1 tsp lime marmalade

2 dashes Bitter Tears Lucille Blood Orange bitters

2 oz Sixpoint Brewery Bengali Tiger IPA

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Combine ingredients in shaker over ice. Gently shake together. Pour over fresh ice in glass. Top with remaining Bengali Tiger and an extra squeeze of lemon juice.

 

Now you are probably wondering why I called it the Bengali Strepsil. Well, the drink had a very intense bitter and hoppy flavour at first from the beer (you can see my views on the Bengali Tiger IPA here). As the flavour progressed you picked up on the lemon juice, the citrus from the beer and the ginger from the bitters. What you were left with was a flavour and sensation reminiscent of sucking on a strepsil throat reliever, but in a good way. The Lady commented that they reminded her of these particular Danish strepsils that were ginger flavoured. In the same way that a Strepsil works, your mouth felt very cleansed afterwards with a very pleasant aftertaste and a hint of numbness. The drink also had a very pretty light orange colour to it, I assume from the beer that I used which had more of a hazy orange colour. Pleasing to look at and, eventually, pleasing to sip.

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The recipe itself could use a little work. It probably wasn’t quite as balanced as it should be but it didn’t taste like rocket fuel and that’s always a plus in my book. I didn’t think the marmalade added anything, mainly because the ice kept it solid. Maybe warming it up could help. Adding in the extra beer and squeeze of lemon was a personal flavour thing as it was pretty damn intense without them. If you’re a bourbon drinker you may not want to add the extra beer and lemon in. The IPA was also quite a heavy, strongly flavoured beer on its own so I’d like to come back to it and try out a few different types of beer to see how the flavour changes and a few different bitters too. I would also like to try it without adding the beer to the shaker. That way you could get the bourbon, juice and bitters more incorporated and then top it with the beer.

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Overall, drinking the Bengali Strepsil was somewhat reminiscent of Dylan Moran’s stand-up where he talks about drinking wine. You start of thinking ‘God that’s strong!’ but then overtime the flavour grows on you, becoming more pleasant and familiar and easier to drink. Who knows, I may even whip one up next time I’ve got a sore throat to see if it does the job. It’s certainly a more attractive proposition to drink an alcoholic strepsil than to suck on one.

 

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On the Shelf – Bitter Tears ‘Lucille’ Bitters

It’s funny to think that bitters were originally developed and marketed for medicinal purposes. Now they are an essential part of any bar to add a little something extra to a cocktail or even drunk straight up or with ice. The humble bitters has come a long way and there are now many other companies, outside of the industry institutions Angostura and Peychaud’s. In choosing the first bitters for my collection I decided to go for something a little different and chose the ‘Lucille’ by Bitter Tears.

Bitter Tears are a small batch bitters company based in Los Angeles, California. The company was founded in 2010 with just three flavors and have since expanded to make twelve different flavors, with six flavors forming the core of the brand.

They really seem to be trying to differentiate themselves from the traditional offerings of Angostura and Peychaud’s with such flavors as smoky bacon and peppercorn in the Ms. Piggy. As the people from Bitter Tears explain, bitters can be made from pretty much anything these days so the crazy flavors aren’t so surprising. For my first bottle of bitters though I wanted something a little less out there, but still full of flavor. In the end I settled on the Lucille.

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Lucille’s main flavors are blood orange and ginger with hints of anise and cinnamon. And yes, the site does say the drink is named after the comedic redhead. I’m basically a fan of anything with ginger and cinnamon in it and the introduction of blood orange sounds great as its such a strong and distinct flavor.

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The company has also developed a very distinct branding that runs across all their bottles that I am a fan of. Each bottle features the eyes with a single tear, but a different color range for the pattern on the bottle. It is very well done and looks quite effective when you seen an image of all the different bottles lined up together.

 

I’m quite looking forward to sitting down with a nice cocktail that’s been amplified by a few pulls of my Lucille bitters from Bitter Tears.

 

As always remember to like, share, and follow The Cocktail Challenge on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.