This week’s drink is a refreshing little number that utilises a special coffee liqueur from New Zealand. It’s called the Slingshot!
Slingshot is a catchy name: it sounds like a cocktail from the golden age but actually the term still seems to be up for grabs. The only reference I could find to a cocktail of that name was from Esquire where the author had coined it for a drink that was somewhere between a Sling (a mixture of spirit and water usually made with lemon and sweetened with sugar) and a shot, a small measure to be knocked back (you knew that though).
This week’s cocktail is nothing like that. It’s a long drink made with a variety of ingredients including Quick Brown Fox Coffee Liqueur. Coffee in cocktails is having a bit of a moment as baristas and bartenders swap ideas. As Nate Brown pointed out recently, the word barista just means bartender in Italian. The man behind Quick Brown Fox is a New Zealander called Arjun Haszard. He was living in a town called Dunedin on the South Island, and found himself unemployed and at a loose end. His mother stepped in, as mothers do, and told him to stop moping and suggested he make a brandy liqueur with the feijoas, a local fruit. It makes a change from, ‘help your father in the garden’.
From there he moved on to coffee. “I had a realisation that coffee liqueur didn’t taste like coffee, so I wanted to create a liqueur using real coffee with nothing artificial added”, he said. “This task was harder than I’d originally thought but I had time on my hands and I’d curiously obsessed with the goal. A year and a half later I’d developed a coffee liqueur from cold extracted Fair Trade Organic coffee with a dash of cinnamon to give a velvety mouthfeel and moreish finish.” He uses a blend of beans from Colombia, Sumatra and Papua New Guinea, and gives them a darker roast than espresso, and “the highest quality neutral spirit we can get which is derived from Australian wheat”, he said. Oh, and that peculiar name? Haszard filled me: “Quick Brown Fox is named after the Pangram (a sentence that contains every letter), because that sentence, like Quick Brown, Fox is the root of conversation.” Makes sense, sort of.
As its less sweet than some coffee liqueurs, Quick Brown Fox is good neat as well as in cocktails like the Espresso Martini and, of course, the Slingshot. Today’s cocktail was created specifically for Quick Brown Fox by another New Zealander, Mikey Ball, who worked at Dandelyan in London before returning home. “I asked him to create a sophisticated cocktail that could go beyond an Espresso Martini. In an Espresso Martini you tend to be shot to the moon with the caffeine and can only really have one (unless you’re 20 years old). I wanted a drink that would be tall and refreshing yet still complex… so you could drink more than one in a night”, Haszard said.
Sounds good. Let’s give it a go. Here’s what you’ll need:
40ml Quick Brown Fox coffee liqueur
20ml Johnnie Walker Black Label (or any good quality blended Scotch)
20ml lemon juice
10ml Giffard crème de mure
7.5ml orgeat syrup
40ml ginger ale
Add all the ingredients except the ginger ale to an ice-filled shaker. Shake hard and double-strain into an ice-filled highball glass, top up with ginger ale, stir and garnish with a twist of lemon and a blackberry.