The Frontier Psychiatrist editorial board is meeting tonight to enjoy some serious cocktails. We certainly will not be drinking Conjure, the cognac brought to you by Ludacris. Indeed, there seems to be a certain compunction among those in the public eye — artists, sports stars, etc. — to pursue endeavors well-outside the established areas of their expertise. Shaq, for example, has been denying us his musical genius by wasting his career on basketball instead. Here, Karl Malone wistfully ponders what could have been.When it comes to liquor, the attachment of a celebrity to any spirit is generally a red flag that the producers of the product in question don’t care about what’s in the bottle, but are focused instead on branding, lifestyle, and the aspiration to be — as Diddy insists we must — “ultra premium.”
That said, today’s post focuses on Absolut Brooklyn, which bills itself as “a Spike Lee Collaboration.” Apparently, Spike had a hand in the bottle’s design, and the address of the brownstone in the background is that of his own home growing up in Brooklyn. Despite an initial hesitation, we must admit that the bottle’s pretty damn cool; even the seal of Lars Olsson Smith, founder of Absolut, has been Mars Blackmon-i-fied.
Many readers, lured in by the packaging and the Kings County connection, have perhaps snapped up a bottle of this limited-release spirit, only to get it home and find themselves without an idea of what to do with it. Sure, you could just add some club soda and call it a day, but Frontier Mixology is not about to let you do that. Instead, we obtained a sample, and set to work creating a bespoke cocktail based on Absolut Brooklyn. Of course, the testing was highly scientific, assuming that your definition of “science” is sufficiently elastic to encompass gathering together a bunch of friends, opening up the dark reaches of the home bar, and getting everyone drunk. Doctoral dissertations have applied less rigor.
The flavors of Absolut Brooklyn are listed as red apple and ginger. As to both its taste and meaning, the apple we get but the ginger remains a mystery. Perhaps counter-intuitively, applejack proved a great partner to the other-wise overpowering apple flavor. After several iterations with various other ingredients, including a particularly unsuccessful attempt with rhubarb bitters, a drink emerged that played to Absolut Brooklyn’s strengths while smoothing out its weaknesses. As for the name, paying homage to both Mr. Lee and Brooklyn without being too obvious, we give you…
The 25th Hour
1 ½ oz. Absolut Brooklyn vodka
1 ½ oz. applejack (if you can get the 100-proof, use it)
2 dashes aromatic bitters (we used Fee’s old-fashioned)
2 oz. ginger ale or ginger beer
Stir vodka, applejack, and bitters in a mixing glass with ice; strain into an old fashioned glass, and top with the ginger ale; garnish with a slice of apple, if desired.
If Spike Lee wants to continue down this line, he should take note of Sammy Hagar, who was able to grow his line of tequila, Cabo Wabo, into a veritable empire with a nightclub and restaurant in Cabo San Lucas. When asked how he balanced his business interests with his deep commitment to rocking out, the Red Rocker replied that “I always had other people doing everything.” We could only be so lucky.