Monday, June 20, 2011

MxMo LVIII: Carmen Sandiego.

Ever since I spent all that time making a balsamic syrup for that one cocktail, I swore that some way, some how, I was going to use that stuff again. It was, understandably, a bit tricky; you can't put a syrup made from balsamic vinegar in just any drink. Enter, propitiously, this month's Mixology Monday, whose theme is "Niche Spirits" (with your host Filip at Adventures in Cocktails). I'd long been wanting to do a cocktail with a pear-balsamic pairing, so this seemed like the perfect time to bust out the Poire William. Poire William is a brandy distilled from pears (translation: a hard liquor, that tastes like a pear) that is a bit underloved in the spirit world, but for some reason crops up quite a bit in this blog. (You'll also see it called Poire William eau-de-vie (a French phrase meaning "water of life", applied to many liquors distilled from fruits), or just plain old "pear brandy".)

To this I added cachaça (another off-the-beaten path liquor, so my entry doubly qualifies), a bit of lime, Cointreau, and a dash of orange bitters, for good measure. (I borrowed a little bit from my original balsamic vinegar drink, and also from this delicious pear sour by Vincenzo Marianella, the man behind the Santa Monica cocktail bar Copa d'Oro.) I put it all over ice and added a little soda, because it's hot as hell here in Houston. (Average daily temperature: about 102 degrees. And I'm only exaggerating a little.)

Then there was the difficulty of what to call my creation. I always run into this problem - interesting drinks, with no idea what to name them. I settled on "Carmen Sandiego", since this cocktail contains ingredients pilfered from all over the globe - Poire William from Germany, cachaça from Brazil, balsamic vinegar from Italy, Cointreau from France, bitters from oranges harvested in the West Indes. And can't you just see Carmen enjoying a cocktail after making away with Machu Pichu?

I know I can.

Carmen Sandiego
1 oz Poire William eau-de-vie
1 oz cachaça
1/2 oz balsamic syrup (recipe here)
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
dash of orange bitters
club soda

Combine all ingredients together in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice. Shake and strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Top with club soda (about 1-1.5 oz).

Verdict: It's well-rounded, it's interesting, it's...zippy. Definitely zippy. No less than what you would expect from that sassy, bridge-stealing broad.


  1. Just wanted to say I enjoyed the post. The recipe looks great.

    Also wanted to say that I greatly appreciate the drink's name inspiration. I credit Carmen Sandiego for putting me on my career path (majored in Geography). I'm just jealous that you came up with this name before I.

  2. Love the name! I remember playing that on those huge computers back in elementary school...ha. The recipe sounds rather interesting, too--I love trying balsamic cocktails.

  3. This really makes me want to watch WITWICS and also really makes me want to get a bottle of Poire William. I am going to have that theme song stuck in my head for the rest of the night.

  4. Great entry for MxMo, thanks for participating. Love your blog.

  5. Another Vinegar cocktail: Imbibe has the recipe for a "Bufala Negra" - served it at a cocktail party, ppl loved it.