Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal

Once more I return from the ether, full of vim and vigor. A renewed feeling that I will regularly post and update and all that. The baby rhythm is in me now, and naptime is a perfect time to post. There’s a recipe at the bottom of this, so skip down if you want it.

Nowadays we have a lot of resources

Lately I’ve become really aware of the volume of resources that are available to bartenders these days. I’m not quite an elder statesman of the bar, but I have been around long enough to remember the days where you couldn’t just google any cocktail that you didn’t know how to make. You had to ask people. You had to know the reliable websites (thanks Jeffrey Morgenthaler). You had to study up and read books and get yelled at by a bar manager. They took a tithe out of your flesh and soul, and in exchange you got a little bit of cocktail gospel.

These days you can learn a lot from a little. There are so. many. books. YouTube abounds with cocktail people. I’m told TikTok does as well. Liquor.com and Imbibe and Punch are all mainstream. So what if the websites get it wrong now and again? They’ve got a pretty solid batting average.

There’s also a growing number of bar folk who are putting their techniques, philosophies, and recipes out there for the world. From each according to his alcoholic ability to each according to his alcoholic need. To this end, please let me introduce you to my favorite blog of late: The Aging Bartender.

The Good Stuff

The Aging Bartender is a cocktail blog after my own heart. It’s open about techniques! It doesn’t talk down to you! It’s updated regularly!

The site is run by the bar manager of Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica– he hasn’t mentioned his name on the site, so I won’t mention it here. I don’t think I’ve ever met him in person, but the site keep on putting out banger ingredients for me to steal admire. Key among the ingredients that I stole admire is his wonderful Calpico.

Calpico, for those who don’t know, is a Japanese soft drink. Wikipedia describes it thus:

The beverage has a light, somewhat milky, and slightly acidic flavour, similar to plain or vanilla-flavoured yogurt or Yakult. Its ingredients include waterdry milk, and lactic acid, and it is produced by lactic acid fermentation.[2]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calpis

The homemade one is somewhat milky and slightly acidic, but don’t be fooled– it’s a much deeper, more complex flavor, and one that begs to be customized. Go visit The Aging Bartender with the link above and make yourself a batch of calpico, then meet me back here.

Mango & Calpico & Chamoy & Rum

Alright here’ the scoop. We’re going to make mango calpico. To do so, blend equal parts by weight of mango and white sugar until you’ve got a nice smooth puree. Take that puree, and mix it with some calpico. Two parts calpico to one part puree by weight. If you’ve got 500g of calpico, mix it with 250g of mango puree. Sabe?

We’re making a dang Mango-Chamoy Lava Flow. Those among you who know me know that I love pina coladas and all of their variations. Why not do another one?
Once you’ve got your mango calpico, we can get mixin’ on this guy. It’s super straightforward after the prep is done. Combine:
  • 2 oz white rum
  • 1 1/2 oz mango calpico
  • 1 oz coco lopez

If you have a spindle mixer, now is the time. If you don’t a good hard shake will suffice. Strain over some crushed ice, but don’t quite fill the glass. Add a good layer of chamoy, then top off with more ice and whatever remains of the cocktail. Garnish the bad boy however you want.

Chamoy is another ingredient that calls out for customization. Pick some fruit and blend it in, if you’re feeling sassy. I like to add 50g of strawberries and a little splash of simple syrup to a cup of chamoy. Do what your heart desires. Have fun with it. God damnit, you’ve got to have fun!

One response to “Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal”

  1. Thank you for the props. It’s funny, you give me all this praise, but this drink is better than anything I could ever come up with. Hopefully someday I’ll be able to try it out.

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