I would like to talk a little bit about the ALEXANDER WITH PRUNELLE, which first means talking about prunelle. I stated earlier that one of our drinks used a now defunct ingredient. I was referring to prunelle. I say defunct because it is not something that you can get in the states, at least we couldn’t find it anywhere. However online you can find prunelle liqueurs in Europe. Did America ban prunelle? No. Did America lose touch with an obscure cocktail ingredient used in a handful of recipes? That seems more plausible.
Prunelle is a liqueur made from the stones and fruit of the sloe berry. The closest substitute liqueur we thought of is sloe gin. Sloe gin has a dark red almost purplish coloring to it and is quite sweet. Sloe gin is made with sugar, sloe berries, and gin whereas prunelle is made with a neutral spirit. The sugar is used to help fully extract the flavor from the sloes and to sweeten the liqueur.
ALEXANDER WITH PRUNELLE
1.5 oz. gin (Hayman’s Old Tom)
1 oz. prunelle sloe gin (Plymouth)
1 oz. cream
Combine with ice; shake well. Strain, and dust with cinnamon.
Since we substituted sloe gin for prunelle we are almost doubling the gin for this cocktail. I should also remind you that we have tackled gin and cream cocktails before with the ACE. I have reservations about this one, but one bright side is no more nutmeg and instead cinnamon. Cinnamon is one of the alternatives we thought up for a spice on either of the ale drinks.
The cinnamon aroma hits as you sip the drink, then the cream coats your tongue with sloe gin. The fat in the cream coats your tongue so well that the flavor lingers for what seems like fifteen minutes. Eric likes the drink and says, “It sits on your tongue like a blanket. Like a heavy blanket. It has some weight to it.” James likes the “very present” sloe gin flavor, calls the aroma “miraculous,” and deems the drink a “good one.” After some discussion on 1) whether we would make this drink again and 2) the context in which this would best be drank, we score the drink.
James: 8. “I like drinks that are a little bit odd.”
Brian: 6. “It’s desserty.”
Eric 7.5. “It’s a handsome drink.”
We made a good drink from the book! It’s these little successes that keep us going. In the case of the ALE FLIP we did have some failure, but I attribute that to my stubbornness in making the drinks specifically as stated in the recipe—knowing full well what could happen. These small moments, failures, whatever you want to call them, make us better connoisseurs. Ultimately having a bad cocktail isn’t bad; it’s a moment to hone your tastes and your skills. In our next post we hone our skills with ALEXANDER YOUNG, ALEXANDRA, and ALFONSO.