Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Palmer, With Dueling Whiskeys

In another Amateur Mixologist first, we're making two drinks of the same name, with a change in the base liquor. 

As often happens in the world of mixology, one person's cocktail contains a list of ingredients that varies from another person's cocktail of the same name.  Such is the case here with the Palmer.

In the foreground, we have the iDrink Palmer cocktail recipe, and in the background, the American Bar Palmer cocktail recipe.  The iDrink version uses rye whiskey, while the American Bar version uses bourbon.

Here are the two versions, side by side:

American Bar, page 148

Dash lemon juice
Dash Angostura bitters
1 3/4 oz Bourbon

Pour Bourbon over ice cubes in an old fashioned glass, add dash of Angostura, squeeze lemon wedge over drink and drop into glass, stir well.

iDrink - http://www.idrink.com/v.html?id=2986

1.0 dash Bitters
0.5 tsp Lemon juice
2.0 oz. Blended Rye/Whiskey

Stir all ingredients with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve.

In the American Bar version, I'll be using Maker's Mark, a very nice, somewhat sweet Kentucky-made bourbon.  I'm a big fan of Maker's Mark, and figured it'd be a nice whiskey choice to contrast the more spicy rye whiskey.

I hate to immediately kill the suspense, but I must tell you up front that the American Bar recipe is a no go.  We already know from the Sazerac that bitters and rye whiskey go together well.  So what's the problem here?  Is it the flavor profile differences between bourbon and rye whiskey?

I don't want to pin the blame squarely upon bourbon here, because I think that the combination of flavors causes a really rough overall taste.  The lemon juice, however little the wedge adds, is hurting, not helping.  In fact, I think it's the combination of lemon juice and bourbon that  makes this drink difficult to drink.

Bourbon is an excellent alcohol, but this cocktail recipe is not the best way to consume the good stuff.  I would never order this drink under any circumstances.  It is one big fail.

Is the iDrink version, with rye whiskey, any better?  Well, by comparison, yes, the iDrink recipe is better, but only marginally so.  In the iDrink recipe, I use Sazerac Rye Whiskey, a nice mid-range rye that I like. 

In the iDrink recipe, the lemon juice is a little more forward in the drink and seems to be a better pairing with the rye whiskey.  The lack of ice cubes also seems to add to this version's drinkability.

But again, I'm not ordering this at a bar anytime soon.  There are a litany of other cocktails that I'd prefer in the place of the Palmer. 

If I had to make an argument for one of the two Palmers, I'd have to go with the iDrink recipe.  Neither Palmer works though.  We're not in Jack Rose territory, but we're damn close.


Anonymous said...

An unfortunate waste of good bourbon! Live and learn, right AmMix?

The Amateur Mixologist on April 20, 2010 at 1:54 PM said...

So true. The good news is that it was only a couple ounces, at the most.

There is only one way to know if these drinks are any good, and that requires trying them. :)

bluemillion on April 20, 2010 at 2:16 PM said...

Come see where it all begins. You can take the free Maker's Mark Distillery and Kentucky Cooperage (bourbon barrel-making factory) tours. MM is located just outside downtown Lebanon, Ky. and the cooperage is right on Main Street, along with The Oak Barrel restaurant - a great Bourbon Country experience! Book the Heart of Kentucky Bourbon & Barrels Getaway at www.VisitLebanonKy.com.

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