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Imagen Vintage Perfection Cocktails and notes about the Killing Hours drink

Vintage Perfection Cocktails and notes about the Killing Hours drink

George Restrepo

The challenge: The Glenrothes, the brand of one of the best single malt, creates an innovative project in Spain and a group of bartenders from Spain are invited to create a cocktail aged in barrels. So a 5-liters barrel of Spanish oak are given to us, which has been previously used to age The Glenrothes, and we can choose between The Glenrothes Select Reserve and The Glenrothes Vintage 1998.

The team (in alphabetical order):

Paco Bretau (Slow - Barcelona)
Diego Cabrera (Le Cabrera - Madrid). His cocktail La Vie en Rose
Joao Eusebio (Le Magatzem - Barcelona). And his cocktail Carrousel 
Miguel Figueredo (The Cocktail Room - Madrid). His proposal The Shove
Juan José González (Milano Cocktail Bar - Barcelona)
Ruth Mateu (Barcelona). A classic reversion, Boulevardier - Vintage Perfection Cocktail 
Carlos Moreno (O’Clock - Madrid)
Jordi Otero (Moritz - Barcelona). His cocktail King Single Sour
Alberto Pizarro (Bobby Gin - Barcelona). With the cocktail Rest in Gold
George Restrepo (Coctelería Creativa - Barcelona). His proposal Killing Hours
Mario Villalón (Restaurante El Padre - Madrid)

As for the brand: who leads the project, Carolina Gómez, Brand Ambassador; Ronnie Cox, Global Brand Ambassador. Jared Brown, well-known spirits specialist.

The assumption: my first thought when thinking about a new cocktail is "first on paper rather than in the shaker." Because I believe that a cocktail should work first on paper. If so, it is more likely to be balanced after cooling in a shaker. Less product wasted and surely if the idea of ​​the cocktail is good, is just a matter of adding more or less drops, or a little touch with a product. For me it is essential to have a mental picture of the cocktail before starting.

The starting point: the paper. Having a clear idea of ​​what I wanted and based on the product itself, in this case The Glenrothes Select Reserve, the idea of ​​aging cocktail in a 5-liter barrel and my non-experience-at-all in aging cocktails. The best of all, Carol’s words: "George, do not worry, whatever the result is, it will be amazing because we all learn during the process." With such a confident beginning, all I had to do was working on it.

The tasting notes The Glenrothes Select Reserve:

- Appearance: Pale gold
- Aroma: Oak, vanilla and coconut, hints of plum 
- Palate: Malt flavor, medium sweet, vanilla and orange peel
- Finish: Long and spicy.

The idea: I wanted to play with the concept of time. The time the whisky is in the barrel, the time we have the cocktail in the barrel, and what we all do while we wait that something magic happens inside the barrel. That valued time concentrated in a drink but that we have to spend killing hours
Supporting this idea, I found some products that are mostly aged in wood. Therefore, we have a mix of ideas and products that assembled in the wood as in one drink.

The caprice: Tobacco Syrup. It got into my head that I wanted a tobacco note. Even though I am not a smoker, I did have the curiosity to try a cigar. So I know the spicy feeling of a cigar on the tongue, a feeling I wanted to capture for my cocktail. So I made tobacco syrup but after some guilty conscience, I started the task of making fake tobacco syrup which I actually used.

The cocktail on paper: as the idea of the cocktail was clear, I wrote three versions of it, doing some small variations of the base used (The Glenrothes), and the other selected products. These tests were made before the barrel, so the result would still unknown.

Killing Hours Version 1:
5.5 cl The Glenrothes Select Reserve
2.0 cl VEP Yellow Chartreuse
1.0 cl Cocoa liqueur cream
3.5 cl Pear juice
0.4 cl Fake tobacco syrup
Tasting Notes: Toffee, caramel, malt.
Comments: Too sweet, the citric note was missing. I like it, can be improved with a citric point.

Killing Hours Version 2:
5.5 cl The Glenrothes Select Reserve
2.0 cl VEP Yellow Chartreuse
1.0 cl Cocoa liqueur cream
3.5 cl Pink grapefruit juice
0.4 cl homemade tobacco Bitter
Tasting notes: bitter, toffee, malt, dry finish, greater presence of whisky.
Comment: OK, but I prefer the first version. Grapefruit juice does not seem so balance with the rest of ingredients.

Killing Hours Version 3:
6.5 cl The Glenrothes Select Reserve
1.5 cl Cocoa liqueur cream
3.0 cl Orange blossom water (water with few drops of concentrated orange)
2.0 cl Ratafia
Tests for this cocktail: I also did a test with orange blossom tea, black tea and dried orange peel, infused in Ratafia. Good result, but discarded for the cocktail.
Tasting Notes: Floral, toffee, caramel, malt.
Comment: no balance.

Conclusions: starting with Version 1, and having the need to increase the presence of the whisky, adding a citric note to decrease mellow, I raise a centiliter of whisky, I changed the cocoa cream for a cocoa spirit (less sugar for the whole mixture), I searched a pear juice with no added sugar and although the recipe does not have lemon in the composition, I used for the 5-liters 8 cl. of lemon juice. The result ready to get into the barrel was:

Killing HoursFinal Version:
6.5 cl The Glenrothes Select Reserve
2.0 cl VEP Yellow Chartreuse
1.0 cl KKO Mascaro - Distilled from cocoa
3.5 cl Pear juice 3.5 (no sugar added)
0.4 cl Fake tobacco Syrup
Drops of Chocolate Bitter, The Bitter Truth
Cocktail of 13 cl.

Now, into the barrel: after increasing the corresponding amounts for 5-liters barrel, mix the ingredients and include them into the barrel, I tested the mixture every other day to see the evolution. I found that two weeks was just right. The ideal time to have all the flavors balanced and amalgamated harmoniously. The notes I wanted to highlighted were there, and probably some more time in barrel will exalt the sweetness in the mixture (and I didn’t want that as the cocktail itself is sweet). The fake tobacco notes can be found at the end, the strength of the malt remains and the presence of The Glenrothes is well maintained, along with new notes of chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and green fruit.

Service: in a shaker or the glass of the shaker. Cocktail glass. For the presentation I used a vintage glass.

Possible problems: using juices in the composition had the difficulty of the possible fermentation inside the barrel as it is an organic product. In my case, the juice which represents about 25% of the mixture showed no fermentation. Although it presents some natural sedimentation for the pear content, so I’ve half turned the barrel every day.

Presentation: with the concept of killing time "Killing Hours" and the idea of ​​time value, the product in the barrel, the waiting time, etc., I decided to present the cocktail with a crossword, a clock without hands (time stopped), a vintage pen, the cocktail served in a glass of the 20’s and  Bitter Chocolate bars with the shape of the clock pointers with golden flakes inside.

About the fake tobacco syrup: as I wanted to use tobacco no matter what, before finding the solution of creating the fake tobacco syrup, I did two tests with tobacco leaf. One was infusing a bitter with tobacco leaf and the other making tobacco syrup. For the actual syrup I used 300 ml water, 30 gr. tobacco leaf, 150 g sugar, all in reduction to 1/3 part.
After searching on Internet, I found a conversation where someone used rooibos tea syrup. I did the test but still I needed the spicy taste and intensity. I’ve deeply searched different types of rooibos tea and the one I’ve selected was from Yogi Tea brand.
To make my fake tobacco syrup I used: Rooibos (Yogi Tea) 3 envelopes, Sugar 60 gr., Water 150 ml., Black pepper, ginger, cinnamon and cayenne. All this over low heat and reduce 1/3 parts.

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