Back in the spring I wrote a Monday Classics post about a cocktail called the Whiskey Daisy. The Daisies are a family or category of drinks – like a fizz or a sour – that are structured in a certain way. They begin with a base spirit, add in some citrus and a flavored liquid sweetener, and can be served up in a cocktail glass, or on the rocks where they are often topped with a bit of club soda. The daisy that we’re all most familiar with is the Margarita (the Spanish word for daisy), which contains tequila as the base spirit, lime as the citrus ingredient, and curaçao as flavored sweetener. While working the bar this past Saturday at the distillery, I had some time to experiment with a Brandy Daisy made with our Cooper River Distillers Copper & Vine brandy. Trying to figure out how to come up with the perfect combination of ingredients that will make a drink for our menu is one of my favorite things to do. The earliest recipes for the Brandy Daisy go all the way back to the late 1800s, when most were made with lemon juice and grenadine. Over the years the recipe went through many transformations that at times included the addition of curaçao and yellow Chartreuse. Since we’re technically only able to use what we make at the distillery, I had to stick to the basics. After some tweaking here and there, I ended up with a combination that included our brandy, lemon juice, honey simple syrup, and a grenadine from True Syrups & Garnishes, a company local to Washington DC that uses only the finest quality ingredients and no high fructose corn syrup. Their products are truly something special.
The most interesting thing for me about experimenting with this cocktail was the way in which I had to alter the proportions to work with the taste of our brandy. The Copper & Vine is distilled from New Jersey pinot grigio grapes from Unionville Vineyards in Ringoes, NJ, and is very fruit forward (read grapey) with a nice bite to it that makes it work perfectly in cocktails. Because it’s a bit spicy rather than cloyingly sweet, I found that I had to reduce the brandy amount and bump up the sweeteners to balance things out. I experimented a bit further yesterday by adding a dash of Fee Brothers black walnut bitters and I was pleasantly surprised that I liked the addition very much. If you’re local to NJ then by all means grab a bottle of our brandy and give this daisy a try according to this recipe. If you’re using something more like a traditional or an apple brandy, then you’ll need to adjust the sweeteners back down and you can even play with the idea of adding in a half ounce of yellow Chartreuse. Happy experimenting!
The Brandy Daisy
1¾ oz Copper & Vine brandy from Cooper River Distillers
1 oz lemon juice
½ oz honey simple syrup (equal parts honey and water)
½ oz True Syrups & Garnishes grenadine
1 dash Fee Brothers black walnut bitters
Add all the ingredients to a shaker tin with ice and shake until very cold. Pour into an old fashioned glass over ice or a Collins glass if you want to top it with some club soda. Garnish with a lemon or seasonal fruit. Enjoy!