I wrote about negative space cocktails following having the Fakie Alexander by Adam Bernbach at Bar Pilar. Here’s what Adam wrote me about negative space options:
As far as the “fakie,” I’m really into Brandy Alexanders and I’ve really been exploring the idea of the “negative space” cocktail (a cocktail in which you replace a major ingredient with it’s opposite in order to imply the missing note). In this case, I replaced the cacao with chinato (the Italian’s favorite pairing for chocolate). Hope it worked for you.
I have to imagine that this was the same concept SeanMike was going for, as it makes a lot of sense. The Sazerac doesn’t have sweet vermouth, but rye is so often associated with sweet vermouth because they work well together (as the Vieux Carre and a la Louisiane abley demonstrate). I’ve never seen rye used as a rinse before, but I think it could work. I look forward to trying SeanMike’s creation and think it’s a great addition to the list of classic cocktails to honor New Orleans on Mardi Gras.
I happened to be at Bar Pilar last night for a Tuesday Cocktail Session (which incidentally closed with a Fakie Alexander for me) and talked with Adam about the Sazeritif. He pointed out that negative space cocktails shouldn’t have the paired ingredient — eg, the Fakie doesn’t have creme de cacao — hence the “negative” aspect of the cocktail. The absence is what brings in the association between the new ingredient and the old cocktail. Instead, the Sazeritif adds a traditional partner of rye (the sweet vermouth), puts the rye in a different, less prominent role, and removes the sugar from the Sazerac and adds a bit more absinthe directly to the drink. Since rye and vermouth are both in the cocktail, it isn’t negative space. But it’s also not a reverse Sazerac, which would probably be an absinthe base and a rye rinse. It’s something different. Maybe a fakie reverse cocktail? It seems like a category of cocktail making is missing…
On a different note, I did make myself a Sazeritif last night before dinner. It was a nice vermouth based cocktail and it reminded me that I really didn’t have a vermouth-dominated cocktail in my regular rotation. I wasn’t blown away by the rye rinse. Suspecting that rye would be understated, I went with Wild Turkey 101 Rye, which is the strongest stuff I have. The cocktail tasted great, but the rye rinse didn’t add the same sort of nose the absinthe does in the Sazerac. Oh well. I guess it really isn’t fair to compare other spirits against absinthe when it comes to the sort of nose they add to a cocktail.
Lastly, Adam has updated the regular cocktail list at Bar Pilar and it now includes the Fakie Alexander, among a number of other great drinks.