How 'bout A Savory Candy Cap Mushroom Infused Bourbon Cocktail
on 13/12/10 at 11:57 amSpirits
So this mushroom walks into a bar. Yes, I thought I’d heard this one before as well (and really, it never gets old), but it turns out that fungi are no joking matter at the Library Bar tucked inside the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. On a recent Wednesday night, I asked the bartender Matthew Biancaniello what he was aging in a mini oak barrel on the counter behind him. “I’m infusing bourbon with candy cap mushrooms,” he said.
By nature, I’m suspicious of infusions with weird ingredients. I like my drinks clean, simple and gimmick-free, and so it was with a liberal dash of skepticism that I ordered Biancaniello’s Umami Manhattan. He poured Cynar (an Italian bitter made from artichokes), Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth and the mushroom-infused bourbon into a shaker, which he stirred — the best Manhattans are always stirred — and strained into a glass. A Luxardo-soaked cherry lurked beneath the surface. The drink was earthy and spicy with the faintest hint of maple. Candy cap mushrooms are particularly fragrant and most frequently used to impart their distinctive maple-syrup flavor to cookies and ice cream. And, it turns out, they’re quite genius in a cocktail.