The title really says a lot. As I mentioned in the intro this week, this is a combination of ingredients that I never would have thought of. However, this most assuredly doesn’t mean it’s not a good one. Quite the contrary in fact. My first note for this week reads “Oh wow. Different even than I had imagined.” Different though it is, I really enjoy enjoyed The Blinker and I honestly think anyone else who loves rye whiskey will like it as well.
As I sipped my first mix of this drink, I felt the recipe from Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails was pretty solid as-is. So, rather than try a host of recipes, I decided to experiment a bit with the ingredients themselves to find the combo that best suites me.
Let’s start with the grapefruit juice. I picked up a bottle of white grapefruit juice since fresh fruits aren’t available for me this time of year. Bottled juice ended up working okay for this drink and I would definitely recommend you go with white grapefruit as well instead of the pink varieties. The reason being, white grapefruit juice is quite a bit less sweet than the pink variety. Any additional sweetness and I think the drink would become a bit off balance.
Which brings us nicely to the other source of sweetness, the syrup. When I first read the recipe, I doubted that 1 tsp of syrup would be enough so I compensated and added about 2 tsp to my first mix. This adjustment was definitely not necessary, at least for those who like a drier cocktail. If you’re offering this drink to a friend who isn’t a die hard rye lover you might up the syrup a bit as it mellows the flavor profile a bit. For me, though, 1 tsp is perfect. Ted Haigh notes that the original recipe for this drink calls for grenadine but it’s a bit “unremarkable” using that. I gave both variations a test and liked them both. For the raspberry version I used my homemade raspberry syrup and found the drink to be quite nice. On the same note, a Blinker mixed with my homemade grenadine was also very tasty. For me the grenadine version had a bit more fruity flavor, but I think that was primarily due to the fact that my grenadine is fresher. I think either option is perfectly tasty if you have one or the other of the syrups on hand.
Finally, the rye. I started where I always do with rye cocktails with Rittenhouse 100. The drink was very good but a bit tilted toward the rye flavor. In search of something more balanced without changing the recipe I tried Sazerac rye next. At 90 proof, this spirit is a bit lighter. Overall I found that this one worked a lot better in this particular application. If you only have Rittenhouse on hand then simply bump up the grapefruit juice a bit, perhaps to about 1 1/4 oz, and you’ll be all set.
As a rye fanatic it’s always great to find a new cocktail to mix up. This one will definitely be added to the list of tasty libations. While it’s certainly not world changing in terms of cocktail experiences, tasty is certainly is.