Long Vodka ⇒ Angle Park.
About 250 years ago, when I was a young man growing up in Scotland, there was a popular drink called – somewhat unimaginatively – the Long Vodka. In those days your local pub could make exactly two “cocktails”, the Whisky Mac (which barely counts) and the Long Vodka. The latter is technically just a fancy mixed drink but it shows enough cocktailicity to be worth a look. First take a Collins glass and add ice followed by 2 or 3 dashes of Angostura bitters. Swirl around for a while to coat and chill the glass then dump out the ice. See, pretty cocktaily so far? Add more ice and a measure or two of vodka, a good splash of Rose’s Lime cordial and top up with soda water. Hmmm. And while it should be soda water I distinctly remember 7up being more common and I see that tonic may have muscled its way in more recently. Either of those would make the drink too sweet as there is already plenty of sugar in the Rose’s. So really it’s just a vodka lime and soda (7up/tonic) with a bit of bitters but I got to thinking it might still provide a good base for a bit of nostalgic deconstruction…
Vodka is a base spirit I almost never use in cocktails although it’s plenty useful in making some other things (of which more in due course). In this case we’ll be using vodka as an Angostura delivery system so its inherent blandness isn’t an issue. The Long Vodka’s Rose’s Lime is just going to have to go. In general you can replace it with fresh lime juice and sugar syrup for a much more pleasant effect and that’s exactly what we’ll do here. We’ll also skip the fizzy stuff and serve this on the stem. This, as I’m sure you’ve already noticed, leaves us with a simple Vodka Sour – not the most exciting of drinks. Unless, of course, we upgrade it with a massive hit of Angostura bitters. Don’t be fooled by Angostura’s ubiquity (often a sign of mediocracy) Ango is not the king of bitters without good reason. While bitters are usually the bartender’s salt and pepper there are a small number of drinks where they are used as the main flavour component. And this is one of those cases. The other ingredients are simply there to provide a balanced base to showcase the wonderful complex flavours of the Angostura.
Named after a song by 1980’s Scottish rockers, Big Country, the Angle Park is a simple cocktail to make at home and a great introduction to the magical world of bitters. Enjoy:
2oz vodka (it barely matters which one).
0.75oz fresh lime juice.
0.5oz simple syrup.
6-8 generous dashes of Angostura bitters (about 1 teaspoon in total).
Shake with ice and strain into chilled champagne coupé.
Toast Stuart Adamson (1958-2001) of the Skids and Big Country.
You could also serve this “long” in a Collins glass with ice and soda.