In my search for new cocktails to learn and try, I stumbled across Mixology Monday - The monthly online cocktail party. “Yey” came to my mind just before “oops - frightening”. But as we used to say: “Yo what the hell, throw a cocktail!”. So here´s my contribution to the general happiness and cocktail-sipping joy.
This month´s Mixology Monday is hosted by Filip Jach and his blog Adventures in Cocktails, and he chose the theme “Favorite Niche Spirits”, namely any spirit except the regulars (rum, gin, vodka etc.).
I went for (but of course) the Scandinavian signature spirit aquavit - and one of the best for mixing in my opinion; Løitens Linie. In 1780, a Norwegian ship travelled to Indonesia with potato spirit in it´s cargo. They failed to get rid of the barrels in Indonesia and had to bring them home again (such a pity) years later. Upon return, they discovered that the travel did the aquavit good - the rolling of the waves and storage in barrels did some magic. And that´s the way they still do it - travelling to Australia and back before it´s released on the market. It´s main notes are caraway (karve in Norwegian), citrus, oak and florals.
So; what do to with the aquavit? I wanted to combine it with something classic Norwegian, but also add some foreign touch. The Norwegian climate doesn´t suit a lot of different fruits - but we do have apples. Good ones too. So, juice from fresh Norwegian green apples should match the aquavit. Apples of the not-so-Norwegian name Granny Smith. Legend has it that it was a mutation discovered in the garden of - yes - Granny Smith in Australia. So much for the Norwegian heritage…
I´ve travelled a lot in the Middle East and always loved the combo of cardamom and apples. So we throw in some cardamom-flavored syrup and some tangy lemon. And there we are; I hereby give to you - without too much further ado; Tofaha!
4 cl Løitens Linie Aquavit
4 cl fresh, unsweetened and organic apple juice*
2 cl fresh lemon juice
2 cl cardamom simple syrup
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake and strain into rocks glass with crushed ice. Garnish with three cardamom pods.
Aquavit: Use the one you got or can get hold of. Substitute with gin if you (horror-of-horrors) can´t get to a lovely bottle.
Apple juice: I once bought one of those kitchen machinery you use every other year and then stash away collecting dust; a juice extracting machine for making juice of fresh fruit and vegetables. It´s wonderful for one thing: It makes the best apple-and-lemon-juice-lemonade-thingy. Since it juices the lemon piece with zest and all it gets a really special, sweet and tangy taste. First time I made this cocktail I used the juice from the machine, but considering the amount of dust on it as of now, I thought fresh apple and fresh lemon juice works better. But - and listen carefully; make sure to stay away from those clear, yellow-orange sweetened standard apple juices! Make sure you get one made of fresh organic apples, with no added sugar or sweetening, with a milky-to-yellow color. The better the apple juice - the better the cocktail.
Lemon juice: Fresh. Nuff said.
Cardamom simple syrup: Boil 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water with 1/4 cup with cardamom pods - let it cool, and rest for a couple of days in the fridge. Remove the pods - store and use. Good for almost anything. If you´re in a rush; muddle 1 pod in your shaker before you add normal simple syrup and the other ingredients. Make sure to double strain to avoid cardamom seeds in your drink.
You might have to adjust the tartness of it to match your personal taste and also the variation in sweetness from the apple juice.
The name of the cocktail? Tofaha means apple in Arabic. There goes.
Soundtrack for mixing: Alf Leyla wa Leyla (Oum Kolthoum)