Thursday, August 4, 2011

The St. Bernard

My favorite citrus-based beverage would have to be the Greyhound and it’s brother the Salty Dog.  A greyhound is simply vodka with grapefruit juice and the addition of a salt rim on the glass makes it a salty dog. The greyhound makes a great morning beverage especially in the summer when fresh grapefruit is available. 

Grapefruit was originally bred in Barbados in the 1800s as a hybrid of the sweet orange (where it gets it’s sweetness and color) and the Japanese pomelo (where it gets it bitterness and large size).  The first addition of grapefruit juice in a cocktail is unclear but the bittersweet taste of grapefruit pairs extremely well with vodka and gin. 

The "breeze" family of cocktails (bay breeze, cape cod, sea breeze) all contained cranberry juice with citrus and were very popular throughout the 1950s and 60s.  Most likely the greyhound was a byproduct of the “cranberry crisis” in 1959 when it was found that cranberries were contaminated by a pesticide.  The sea breeze dropped it’s cranberry juice and gained a salt rim and the two drinks were born and when the crisis ended the greyhound and the salty dog remained. 

Today there’s a new dog in town, the St. Bernard.  The St. Bernard is much sweeter than a traditional greyhound and the sugar rim replaces the salt of the salty dog.  I’ve added the orange blossom water to accent the flavor of the sweet orange inherent to the grapefruit and the fresh lime juice mildly offsets the sweetness of the elderflower liqueur.

I recommend using the fresh juice of ruby red grapefruit and this drink is the most flavorful in the summer.  If fresh grapefruit is not available, try an unsweetened juice such as white grapefruit juice and try to avoid the ruby red/pink grapefruit sweet varieties (don’t worry about the color difference).  When using bottled juice you will have to adjust the sweetness levels from the original recipe to taste.

Glassware: Old Fashioned 

Muddle 5 mint leaves with a dash of simple syrup (the tiniest dash ever)
1oz Vodka
¾ oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
½ of small fresh lime
3 drops of orange blossom water (Be extremely careful with the blossom water too much will overpower the whole drink. Use an eyedropper for the best results)
fill fresh ruby red grapefruit juice

Serve the St. Bernard in a sugar rimmed glass with a mint leaf

Woof, woof, ya’ll!

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