The Eye Witness. A drink that takes the fairly obvious flavor combination of whiskey, ginger, and citrus, and tweaks it a bit with a background of tepache, and scotch.
This drink took several stages in its’ development for me to be really pleased with it. The first one I made was with Bourbon, lemon ginger syrup and tepache, super simple but it was lacking some luster. Bourbon, tepache and ginger are all darker spicy flavors so it needed something to brighten the drink up. An expression of grapefruit oil over the finished drink did the trick quite nicely but it could still use a little something more.
While staring at my little home bar I realized that there was one ingredient that seemed to combine well with everything in the drink: Scotch Whisky. Another whisky would tie in nicely with the Bourbon, and the smokiness would add to the ginger, tepache, and the citrus. Just a little touch is all it needs and will vary depending on what peated Scotch you choose.
Peat is the decayed organic material that is harvested and smoldered to add the smokey flavor to Scotch, and the amount of smokey flavor will vary depending on the whisky you choose. I used Talisker Storm which has a serious salty campfire flavor so just a little over a quarter tsp did the trick, but adjust the amount of scotch you add so that the smoke flavor sits nicely in the background and ties everything together… Use your judgement and personal preference here, after all, that’s what home bar tending is about!
Tepache is a traditional Mexican drink made by fermenting pineapple together with dark sugar and some cinnamon. It tastes similar to a sour beer but with a sweet pineapple taste. You can pour it together with some soda water and ice for a solid summertime refreshment or use it to add a little depth and tang to a cocktail.
Making Tepache is quite simple and makes me feel a lot better about trimming off that outer half inch of fruit that has all the unpleasant brown spiky things. Cut the top off the pineapple and save some of the leaves in a glass of water to garnish drinks with. Then cut off the bottom and all of the rind and about a quarter inch or so of fruit. Cut the prime parts of fruit off of the inner core and use that for whatever your little heart desires. Now take the rind and core, chop it into 2 inch pieces, and add it to a good sized jar with dark brown sugar and ceylon cinnamon.
I use 600g of pineapple rind, 175g of dark brown sugar and 1 tsp of ceylon cinnamon.
Cover the fruit and sugar with filtered water and place a clean towel over the top with a rubber band to hold it in place. Let the mixture ferment for 4 days in a cool dark place. After the 4 days are up strain the liquid into a new clean container, cover and leave it in the fridge for a few days to carbonate itself. Avoid explosions with a quick daily burping of your container. Open the lid just the tiniest bit before quickly closing it again to let off any serious gas build up that may have occurred
For a nice little ginger lemon syrup add 30g of lemon peel, 90g of peeled and chopped ginger, 150g of granulated sugar and cover it with 350g of water. Over medium heat, dissolve the sugar before simmering the mixture for 10 minutes. Let it rest covered overnight (or at least 3 hours) and then strain the syrup into a storage vessel.
The Eye Witness has a few unique ingredients which give you a great reason to expand your skill set and knowledge. I had fun creating this guy and it’s a delicious sipper for any season.
- 1 1/2 Oz Bourbon
- 1 Oz Lemon Ginger Syrup
- 1 Oz Tepache
- 1/2 Tsp Smokey Scotch - (variable)
- 1 Grapefruit Peel
- Add all the ingredients to your shaker.
- Add ice and shake for about 8 seconds.
- Strain into a chilled rocks glass with ice.
- Express grapefruit oils over the top and either discard or drop in for garnish.
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