Stewards of Spirits: Cascara Champagne Cocktail
I wanted to give you one more sneak peak at, Stewards of Spirits: A Collection of Sacramento Cocktails and the People Who Make Them. It's my fantastic e-cookbook that brings together 26 of Sacramento's best bartenders and drinks together into one epic cocktail book.
Edie Baker is the owner of Chocolate Fish Coffee in Sacramento. While not a bartender exactly, she's learned how to curate the various flavors of coffee in cocktails for fundraisers and special dinners. This means even using coffee that's not really coffee.
Cascara is a byproduct of the coffee; the cherry around the bean dried out and used as a spice or tisane. The flavor is raisin-like with a subtle tart flavor. Think of it as the cross between a red currant, a raisin, and a dried plum. Fantastic in a brew or used in a dry rub for game meat it's a spice that's only now getting noticed.
Naturally, it's also wonderful in a cocktail. Here, Baker has taken the principle of elegance in simplicity and crafted a compound syrup and paired it with sparkling wine. Easy and super tops. One could easily find a new brunch mate to bitch with in this drink.
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Cascara Champagne Cocktail, by Edie Baker
Sometimes the best bartender in town might not actually be a bartender. So is the case with Edie Baker, coffee connoisseur and owner of Chocolate Fish Coffee in Sacramento.
Chocolate Fish Coffee first opened in 2008 and since has become a beacon of hope for caffeine addicts throughout the City of Trees. Since then, the roastery has hosted numerous coffee-focused dinners and it was during one of these that Baker first toyed with the idea of a coffee-based cocktail that looked past a simple Irish coffee into something more complex.
“Every type of coffee bean has its own flavor profile,” she says. “It’s trying to match these subtle flavors that makes for an excellent coffee cocktail.”
For example, a recent mocktail used El Tonolo Manguito coffee, a lovely bean from a farmer she met on a trip to Western Honduras. The bean emulated aromas of blackberry and possessed a honey finish. Six months later, she developed a drink using blackberry honey, blackberry reduction, and orange paired with a shot of the Honduran espresso.
But for her most popular cocktail, Baker turned to cascara. Cascara, also known as coffee pulp, is the skin from the coffee cherry. Most farmers use it as a compost ingredient, but recently processors in South and Central America have begun using cascara for tisanes and a source for natural red and purple dye. The flavor is musky, with hints of raisin, prune, and apricot.
Baker combines the cascara with dark muscovado sugar to make a deep magenta simple syrup. Topped with a dry sparkling wine, the result is a sophisticated New World meets Old World cocktail that is the perfect start or finish to any meal.
What You'll Need:
- ½ ounce cascara syrup (recipe follows)
- 3 ounces dry champagne or other sparkling wine, well chilled
What You'll Do:
Pour the cascara syrup in a champagne flute and top with champagne. Serve immediately.
Made from the dried cherries of coffee beans, this fruity syrup will add bold color and flavor to any drink.
What You'll Need:
- 1 cup cascara
- 1 cup brown or muscovado sugar
- 1 cup water
What You'll Do:
Place ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and, stirring occasionally, bring to a boil until the sugar is completely dissolved. Take off heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes, before straining the syrup and allowing to cool. Can be stored in a refrigerator for 1 month. Makes about 2 cups of syrup.