MxMO – Humbug for The Perfect Wee Bastard

It is time once again for Mixology Monday, the monthly online cocktail party that appears to be one of the few things to get me to post in this crazy time of the year!

This month, it is JFL of the Rated R Cocktail Blog hosting. The theme is “Humbug,” or as described in more detail:

  • Lets face it the holidays suck, yeah I said it. You put yourself in debt buying crap people will have forgotten about in a month. You drive around like a jackass to see people you don’t even like, or worse they freeload in your house. Your subjected to annoying music, and utterly fake, forced kindness and joy. Plus if you work retail your pretty much in hell, so don’t we all deserve a good stiff drink? So for this Mixology Monday unleash your inner Grinch. Mix drinks in the spirit of Anti-Christmas. They can be really bitter and amaro filled. They filled with enough booze to make you pass out in a tinsel covered Scrooge heap. They could be a traditional holiday drink turned on it’s ear. Or they could be a tribute to your favorite holiday villain. If you celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa then you still suffer through the holidays, so feel free to join in with your Anti-Holiday drink as well. Whatever it is add a hearty “Humbug!” and make your drink personify everything annoying or fake about the holidays.

Read more here

We have all had less than joy-filled holiday seasons, so this one got me thinking pretty quickly.  I wanted something not unlike a Manhattan where near all, if not all, components were alcoholic.  I wanted to play up my love of the bitter flavor profiles.  I wanted something that just sort of screamed “Humbug.”

I started with the idea of a Rob Roy, a Scotch based Manhattan.  I thought about how to sharpen the profile, and decided to make it perfect.

  • Start perfect sidebar. Cocktail geeks will refer to a “perfect” drink when you split the vermouth evenly between dry and sweet.  You can also split a clear liquor so you could order a Perfect Martini Perfect to get a ⅓ gin. ⅓ vodka, 1/6 sweet vermouth and ⅙ dry vermouth.  End “Perfect Sidebar.”

Considering all the attention Skyfall has been getting, I decided to go ahead and toss some Lillet in as my dry vermouth but then I ran into a roadblock on the sweet vermouth.  The Cinzano in the cabinet didn’t seem right. I love Campari, but I had used it for another MxMO post too recently.  As long as I am just offering minor twists on existing cocktails, I should try a little bit harder.  Punt e Mes was the answer.  This is a stronger, richer, more bitter component from Italy.  My mind had images of something bitter, bracing, and gloriously humbug dancing in my head.

Finally, in a few twitter conversations, the name “Perfect Wee Bastard” was suggested by Muse of Doom from Feu de Vie. She & I are both geeks, so brownie points to anyone who identifies the phrases origins.

Without further adieu, my idea of what to mix together to quench and quell the Humbug spirit:

  1. Prepare for the drink.  Chill a brandy glass.  Add ice to your mixing tin until ⅔ full. Prepare a long strip of orange peel for garnish.
  2. Add Blended Scotch.  Please note glass decanter labeled “Scotch.” It is blended. It is not expensive. 1.5 ounces
  3. Add Lillet. .75 ounce
  4. Add Punt e Mes .75 ounce
  5. Stir.
  6. Empty chilled glass, rub orange peel on lip for essence.
  7. Strain into glass.
  8. Add several dashes of bitters.  I used good ole Angostura.
  9. Twist peel into spiral and place in drink.  Or be more artful and drape it over the edge if you have the time.

I was concerned that I had overstepped my good taste when the smoky nose hit me.  I took a sip and an assertive drink manifested itself.  Then, it died down.  It didn’t linger or leave me feeling the components on my tongue.  I took another sip, and it happened again.  This came out even better than I had expected. The Punt e Mes cut into the drink, preventing the scotch from overpowering the drink.,  The lillet added a sharpness to the drink, highlighting some of the fruitier flavors of the scotch, and I believe is what helped prevent the finish from being overpowering.

It was so pleasant that I promptly got up and made another, letting the complex flavors linger on my tongue.  The Perfect Wee Bastard is, indeed, a nigh perfect drink to collapse into after a stressful holiday outing.