The Queens Usurper: A modern day riff on the Queens cocktail
I am so excited to bring you my modern day take on the Queens cocktail from yesterday’s Monday Classics post. Although the original drink is pleasant and refreshing as is, I felt as though the combination of gin and pineapple hinted at an entire world of untapped possibilities. And to be perfectly honest, I found it to be a bit of a snoozefest. Even as a brunch cocktail (the category where all the “pleasant and refreshing” drinks seem to end up) I was afraid that it would have people heading back under the covers! My first thought was to substitute a pineapple shrub for the pineapple juice, which can be a fairly mild ingredient. I decided on Element Shrub Pineapple Turmeric because I was intrigued with the direction in which the turmeric might allow this drink to go. If you haven’t tried any of Element Shrub’s products, they are truly top notch with lots of interesting combinations in gorgeous bottles. The labels are a take on the Periodic Table of Elements, which certainly appeals to cocktail nerds (like me) who believe that mixing the perfect drink is the ultimate form of chemistry. I also wanted to deepen the base spirit, but stay with gin, so Bluecoat’s Barrel Finished was a perfect choice. The barrel aging process introduces vanilla and caramel flavors without sacrificing any of Bluecoat’s juniper and citrus personality. Going with a deeper gin gave me permission to choose a richer and spicier vermouth, so I reached for my Carpano Antica next. The turmeric in the shrub made me think of ginger, one of its natural partners in crime, but I wanted to be careful to use it in a very subtle way. I infused it into the Carpano Antica by slicing some fresh ginger and soaking it in a small amount of the vermouth for just 2 hours. At this point I prepared the drink so I could taste it cold to determine whether or not it needed any adjustments, and to figure out which bitters I wanted to use. My bottle of Black Cloud’s Saffron Mango bitters had been raising its hand and dancing in its seat throughout this entire process, and I knew now that I just had to call on it. Without the Saffron Mango, this cocktail is warm, spicy, and bitter all at once, and yet still refreshing because of the gin and the pineapple. It’ll definitely work as is. The saffron in the bitters, however, introduces that slight medicinal flavor that saffron is known for, which adds an edge to the drink that really takes it over the top for me. As an extra bonus, the mango also plays very nicely with the pineapple, balancing everything out and preventing the drink from going too far to the bitter side. Those of you who know me well are very much aware of how ridiculously happy I can get about a cocktail. This one definitely took me to that place!
The Queens Usurper
2 oz Bluecoat Barrel Finished gin
1 oz Element Shrub Pineapple Turmeric
¾ oz ginger-infused Carpano Antica sweet vermouth*
1 dash Black Cloud Saffron Mango bitters**
Combine all the ingredients in the bottom half of a cocktail shaker and add ice. Shake for about 20 seconds until cold. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a ginger slice. Enjoy!
*Slice a 2 inch piece of ginger and add to 2 oz Carpano Antica. Allow to infuse for 2 hours or until the flavor is where you want it to be.
**Black Cloud makes an excellent sampler pack that’ll give you an opportunity to try all of their amazing flavors. Use the link above to check their website for availability or for ordering online.