Tour le Carbet.
Being a cocktail blogger means that sometimes folks expect you to know everything about the subject and yet it is an enormous field. A reader was recently asking me about some good uses for unaged rhum agricole and to my embarrassment I didn’t really have that much to offer. For the uninitiated agricoles are a style of rum made directly from pressed sugar cane rather than molasses and – especially the unaged – have a grassy/earthy flavour that takes some getting used to. While I have some experience with aged agricoles in cocktails I had only recently bought my first unaged 50% abv and was thus in much the same place as the aforementioned reader. Another thing about being a cocktail blogger is that you tend to buy a lot of cocktail books to expand your knowledge and then some of them get forgotten after a cursory examination. These two disparate events collided when I “rediscovered” my copy of Shannon Mustipher’s somewhat oversimply entitled Tiki. Shannon loves her some agricole and scatters them generously throughout her book. Once I started mixing up some of her recipes I quickly realised she has truly mastered the art of incorporating those difficult flavours into tropical cocktails – often with a modern twist. One such is her Tour le Carbet which leans on a very non-Tiki ingredient: Suze is a French bitter aperitif that I have never seen used in the Tiki genre but with the French influence present in rhum agricoles makes a certain sense. Falernum and lime juice complete the picture more conventionally. I personally find the Tour le Carbet to be a fascinating cocktail for a few reasons. At first sip I always say to myself “Hmm, this is a bit weird – do I like it or not?” but by the last sip I’m in Tiki heaven. Also, considering that the drink contains a fairy heavy pour of falernum it doesn’t taste strongly of that liqueur. Normally I like to taste my falernum in a drink but here it just kind of melds with the Suze in a most delightful way. Both are strong flavours but here they seem to “tame” each other. The idiosyncratic flavour of the agricole still shines through but again is slightly reigned in by the other ingredients. It’s a wonderfully conceived cocktail, complex, quirky and intriguing – yet very simple to make*. For those looking for further Tiki inspiration Shannon Mustipher’s Tiki** is a pretty good place to start with a mixture of classics and her own more modern takes.
Tour le Carbet.
2oz / 60ml of 50%/100 proof rhum agricole (I used Clement).
0.5oz / 15ml Suze
0.75oz / 22ml falernum (preferably home-made).
0.75oz / 22ml fresh lime juice.
Shake with ice and double strain into a chilled Champagne coupe. Lime garnish.
Toast Shannon Mustipher – queen of the agricoles. And cheers to Rick from Alkmaar!
*As long as you have some Suze. If you don’t just get some it’s not expensive.
**Rizzoli International Publications ISBN13:978-0-7893-3554-8