I don’t quite remember what the goal was going the first time I started tinkering with the Head in the Clouds, but I didn’t envision this. It is light and thirst quenching, it has a decent bit of sweetness but it is held in check with some lemon and the grassy funk of Batavia Arrack.
Lillet Blanc was already chosen as one of the main ingredients because Belinda from the instagram page The Patron Saint of Gin challenged me to create a cocktail using it, but other than that anything was fair game. The first rendition I used bourbon which wasn’t terrible, but it certainly was not a drink to write home about.
Lillet Blanc is a French aromatized wine made from a blend of Bordeaux wines, macerations of fruit and a proprietary blend of botanicals, all of which is then rested in oak barrels. It smells light and fruity with a little bit of breadiness and tastes quite like it smells. Light citrus, warm spices, and crisp white wine flavors all come together and create an aperitif delicious on its’ own or mixed into cocktails like the Head in the Clouds.
I am not sure why clementine juice is not used more in cocktails. It is sweet and bright and adds a unique flavor that is deliciously different from orange. Try messing around with it in your drinks in place of orange and see what happens! In the Head in the Clouds it plays really nicely off of the citrus notes of Lillet to tie everything together.
Batavia Arrack is one of the oldest distilled spirits often mentioned to be the grandfather of rum. It is distilled from molasses and fermented with red rice which gives it a vary unique rum-like funk, a slight smokiness and, to me, has an aftertaste of tomato gazpacho (which is a good thing don’t be weirded out). Batavia Arrack has traditionally been used in punch recipes as a base spirit to add complexity because of its’ a unique flavor that is pretty tricky to describe. Think green grassiness with some light herbal notes, rounded out with some smoke and fruit, but all in a vary rum type of way. Anyway, it tastes delicious and is fun to play around with in cocktails.
Upon mixing the Batavia Arrack, Lillet and citrus the direction of the drink seemed to be going the right way but so far all of the flavors were on the light and bright side and it really need a touch of darkness. Angostura Bitters served as the perfect remedy for this issue (as it does in many drinks) by adding some depth. Bitters act as the glue in cocktails. They are like the “locker room guy” on a sports team that brings everyone together despite playing a pretty small role on the team. In this cocktail the bitters are not here to add lots of flavor, but rather and some dark flavors to balance everything out.
Last on the list is the demerara syrup. It adds a touch of sweet to make everything pop, and brings in a little of the dark flavors like the angostura does.
The Head in the Clouds is a drink like a classic daiquiri that you really just want to swallow in one big gulp, but do your best to savor it. Have fun mixing this up and enjoy!
- 1 3/4 Oz Lillet Blanc
- 3/4 Oz Batavia Arrack
- 3/4 Oz Clementine Juice
- 1/2 Oz Lemon Juice
- 1/4 Oz Demerara Syrup
- 3 Drops Angostura Bitters
- 5 Drops 20% Saline - (optional)
- Add all the ingredients to your shaker tin.
- Add ice and shake for 10-12 seconds.
- Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
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