When the Austrian maestro, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composed a comic opera by the name of The Marriage of Figaro in 1786, he took inspiration from Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais’s 1784 play of the same name. Little did he know that it’d find a namesake in a suave whisky cocktail. A fancier cousin of the Manhattan, the drink is an accomplishment in sophistry, echoing the madcap mayhem of the symphony in its array of flavours. It makes use of a fig infused whisky, alongside the bitter, very Italian digestif Amaro. Here’s how to make your own.
‘Perform’ your own Marriage of Figaro…
You have to begin by infusing your whisky with the flavour of figs. Pour the whisky in a thick-bottomed glass jar. Add 60 grams of dried, chopped yellow Turkish figs (for making this one, you have to raid the ‘Gourmet’ section of the supermarket), followed by 115 grams of dried black figs. Stir once or twice. Cork the lid tightly onto the jar. Let it rest in a cool, dry place for 7 to 10 days. Every 24 hours, shake the contents of the jar well. At the end of the resting period, double strain the infusion through a fine sieve, followed by a cheesecloth into the bottle the whisky came in.
Finally, it’s time to rock that cocktail. Mix 30 ml of the fig-infused bourbon with 30 ml of bourbon, 30 ml of Averna Amaro or the cardoon-flavoured Cardamaro with only a teaspoon of all-spice flavoured Pimento dram. Pour into a glass on a bed of ice. Garnish with a lemon peel swirl and enjoy!
At a time when spiffy new cocktails are in vogue, revelling in the past is often a welcome change. After all, even the most foamed and smoked, avant-garde cocktail bars also rave over the classics. Why? Because the best of vintage cocktails have been groomed so perfectly over decades that they never become obsolete. Old is gold indeed.
If you have woken up to a greasy, hot morning and need a smooth cocktail to kick start your day, Milk Punch is your go-to drink.
This is not a cocktail in the true sense of the word, but a much needed creation all the same. It is the traditional Indian-style ‘chai’ or tea— served piping hot, sweet and milky, and infused with fragrant spices. In this case, it is spiked with a boozy doze of whiskey.