Monday, August 7, 2017

Continental Crimes with a Berlin Blonde

Or is it a Parisian Blonde... Many years ago I had a not great cocktail book, now long gone to a charity shop. One of the recipes in it was for a Berlin Blonde, which was just cream and golden rum with nutmeg (or so I remember). I made it once at least a decade ago, so can't have been hugely impressed or I'd probably have made it again.

Now I have found Berlin Blonde recipes online, they call for rum, Cointreau/triple sec/Curaçao, cream, and a sprinkle of cinnamon, but I couldn't find anything about it's history, or any mention of it in The Savoy Coctail book. What I did find was a Parisian Blond (equal parts Jamaica rum, sweetened cream, and Curaçao).

I made that, and threw on some cinnamon anyway because the rum and cinnamon combo was very reminiscent of half the recipes in 'Classic German Baking'. It was okay, but the alcohol felt unbalanced - to harsh, I hadn't sweetened the cream either, and the cinnamon didn't feel quite tight either. So I had another go (proper research goes into this you know) with just rum (a dark rum this time because the last of the golden went into the first round) slightly sweetened with sugar cream in a higher ratio, and the cinnamon again. It wasn't an improvement; the colour was a better Blonde, but there was to much cream which made it bland. Third time was the charm.

1 measure of dark rum, 1 measure of Cointreau, 2 measures of cream, a dash of gomme syrup (which dissolves properly but I'd forgotten I had earlier despite it being in front of me) shaken over ice, strained into a coctail glass with a grate of nutmeg across the top. Just sweet enough, just strong enough, and pretty well balanced all round. The orange from the Cointreau came across nicely, the sweet spicy flavour of the nutmeg complimented the orange better than the altogether more Christmassy cinnamon did, and looked rather more blonde as well.

I like the idea of Berlin for this, rather more than Paris, but even more I like that at some point this drink has changed its identity (like a pulp fiction femme fatale). Creamy drinks aren't normally my thing but this one is simple enough to have a certain elegance, the creamy (after testing 3 I want to say velvety) texture is appealing as well.

I will write more about 'Continental Crimes' in a few weeks, I'm still working my way through it at the moment (so far it's great), I'm particularly pleased that it has an Arnold Bennett story in it. A cocktail plays a pivotal role in his 'The Grand Babylon Hotel' and it's that story that made me want this cocktail with this book.

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