Episode 049 - Cocktail Architecture

The Architecture of the Cocktail  staged with our Typhoon Tiki Bitters

The Architecture of the Cocktail staged with our Typhoon Tiki Bitters

What’s shakin, cocktail fans?

In this episode, we hang out with architect, illustrator, and cocktail buff Melissa Wood, who is partially responsible for one of the coolest cocktail books I’ve ever come across.

Author Melissa Wood

Author Melissa Wood

The book is called The Architecture of the Cocktail, and it portrays mixed drinks and their ingredients as if an architect drafted them on a blueprint. 

Some of the things we discuss in this episode include:

  • How a girl with a love for literature and art forged a career for herself in the world of architecture and design.
  • The similarities and differences between cocktails, buildings, and designed spaces
  • The process for figuratively slicing open seventy cocktails and organizing their guts for us on a piece of paper
  • Best practices for setting the mood during your next cocktail party
  • The reason why blueprints are blue
  • And much, much more

You learn more about Melissa by visiting www.mwoodpen.com or follow her on Instagram @mwoodpen.

Featured Cocktail - The El Diablo

Blackcurrant berries.

Blackcurrant berries.

To make this drink, you’re going to need a couple normal cocktail staples - tequila and ginger beer. And also a slightly less common ingredient called creme de cassis.

We’ve encountered this ingredient on the podcast before. It’s a French style liqueur made with blackcurrants, which are difficult to find in the US due to a law against their cultivation designed to prevent a certain type of blight.

However, there are a few places where the laws have been revised, and we’re starting to see some domestic versions of creme de cassis. One of those is produced by our friends out at Mt. Defiance Distillery in Middleburg Virginia, and you can hear Distiller Peter Ahlf talk about that in more detail Episode 19 of this podcast.

And, if you want another take on Creme de Casiss, check out flavor scientist Dan McCall’s explanation of why blackcurrants are so damn delicious in Episode 5.

Two Takes on the El Diablo

The Architecture of the Cocktail Recipe

  • 2 oz blanco (silver) tequila
  • 3/4 oz Creme de Cassis
  • Ginger Beer

Shake the tequila and the creme de cassis over ice, then strain into a collins glass and top with ginger beer.

The Imbibe.com Recipe

  • 1.5 oz reposado tequila
  • ½ oz creme de cassis
  • ½ oz lime juice
  • 3 oz ginger beer

The Architecture of the Cocktail version is going to be a bit sweeter and more mellow, with emphasis on the liqueur and ginger beer, and the Imbibe.com version is going to be driven by the aged tequila and accented by that healthy dose of lime juice.

So, looking at these two recipes, we can gather that when you want to make an El Diablo cocktail, you should be asking yourself:

A.) What kind of tequila do I want to use?
B.) How much acidity do I want in my drink?
C.) How sweet do I want it to be?

Lightning Round

Favorite Cocktail

A Bloody Mary, but with Gin.

Cocktail with Anyone, Past or Present

1.) A Gin Rickey with Zelda Fitzgerald in the Riviera.
2.) A Gin & Tonic with Queen Elizabeth of England on the turret of St. George's Chapel in Windsor overlooking Harry and Meghan's upcoming wedding.

If You Were a Cocktail Ingredient or Tool, You Would Be...

I would be a swizzle stick because I like mixing things, environments, people, and stories all into one experience.

Influential Cocktail Books

Advice for New Home Bartenders

Get cool (but not necessarily expensive) glassware. Shop in fours. Having beautiful glassware really adds to the experience.

CC Attributions

Featured Cocktail Background Music

Backbay Lounge Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/