A couple of weeks ago, we told you about an event that we attended at Center City Philadelphia’s Aldine, where Boardroom Spirits premiered their latest and greatest bit of distilling magic: C Carrot Spirit, an eau de vie style spirit made from 100% Real Carrot (I know this because it says so right on the label!). In that post, we promised you a full review of C on its own along with a few cocktailing attempts. Never let it be said that we don’t keep our word…
While discussing the intro to this post with Limpd a couple of nights ago, some obvious “C” and “carrot” related pop culture references came up. The two that we kept bringing up over and over again are (a) Cookie Monster…
And (b) Bugs Bunny…
While these references may be incredibly obvious (click here to view one more obvious reference), keep in mind that Limpd and I are old enough to remember the days before Xfinity, Fios, and Direct TV ($180+/month for TV/telephone/cable is normal right?) when there wasn’t all that much on TV for kids to watch beyond Sesame Street and Saturday morning cartoons on the UHF and VHF channels, so this stuff is basically burned into our memory banks. Of course a real writer would have found a better way to connect these references to this spirit, but a real writer I ain’t, so you’re just gonna have to deal with my rudimentary skills. Anyway…
As I stated in the Boardroom Spirits/Aldine post, C made a very good first impression when sampled neat, and it worked really well in the classic cocktail variations that Aldine’s bartender created, so I was curious to find out what Limpd would think of it (second opinions are always welcome around here!). Before we get to our cocktail creations, below is our review of C on its own:
- Appearance: Crystal clear with absolutely no color.
- ABV: 46%
- Limpd: A bit earthy, a bit antiseptic and a whole lot of cooked carrots.
- G-LO: Subtle notes of freshly grated carrots at first. After that, lots of herbal notes come through, i.e. licorice, fennel, hints of cracked black pepper, and a bit of powdered sugar too.
- Limpd: Medium mouthfeel with a syrupy quality and a whole lot of alcohol heat. Then a mild carrot flavor and some earthy notes. The finish is long and spicy with a continuation of the earthy notes.
- G-LO: Medium mouthfeel with a bit of oiliness. Definitely getting those raw carrot flavors at the onset, but then it gets peppery with lots of herbal flavors. Not much in the way of flavor transitions, i.e. it’s very consistent from beginning to end. The finish is slightly peppery with some citrus coming through in the aftertaste.
- Limpd: Overal, not as off-putting as the B Beet Spirit, but still a little too vegetable for my taste. I don’t shoot vodka but I would imagine that the C would be a nice change of pace for someone who does.
- G-LO: Definitely a unique spirit. When compared to the B Beet Spirit, C is much more approachable (I’m met many a person that dislikes the earthy flavor of beets). Much like B, C is crisp, clean, and quite soothing, and I think that this would make a fine digestif.
When it came to do a bit of cocktailing with C, I had a few ideas that kept popping in to my head. My first thought was a variation on a Mojito in which cilantro would be used instead of mint, lemon instead of lime, and of course C instead of white rum. I also considered making a Bloody Mary variation, but instead of tomato juice, vodka, and horseradish, I would go with carrot juice, C, and freshly grated ginger. Or how about a Negroni made with C instead of gin, or some sort of carrot cake inspired cocktail? When it comes to cocktailing with a spirit like C, the possibilities are endless, but since blog posts are thankfully not endless, we had to make some decisions.
I eventually narrowed down my cocktailing choices to three very different drinks, so two weeks ago, Limpd paid a visit to the Murder Table (his nickname for the island in my kitchen) to see what I came up with. Here’s what we settled on along with our impressions of each drink…
C Mojito (adapted from a Serious Eats recipe)
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- 10 leaves Fresh Mint
- 3/4 ounces C Carrot Spirit
- 3/4 ounces Brugal White Rum
- 3/4 ounce Fresh Lime Juice
- Club soda
- 2 sprigs fresh mint, for garnish
- 1 lime twist, for garnish
Method: Place sugar and mint leaves in a serving glass, and gently muddle just until the leaves release their oils. Fill glass with ice. Add rum and lime juice. Stir to combine. Top with club soda and add mint sprigs and lime twist for garnish.
Limpd: Very pretty and the aroma is very Mojito-esque. Very little of the carrot notes are coming through. Upfront, the taste is typical of a Mojito but then the earthiness makes an appearance, not in a bad way, but as if to remind you that this isn’t a run-of-the-mill Mojito. I thought that more sugar might have counterbalanced the earthiness, but then again, that may have defeated the purpose of using C in the first place. As-is, I thought the proportions worked nicely.
G-LO: Lots of citrus and mint which is as expected. Not as sweet as a classic Mojito. The C Carrot Spirit comes through at the onset but then fades as the mint and lime take over. Definitely a refreshing cocktail, but not a great one. Part of the problem might have to do with the glass I used, which in retrospect was a bit too large, i.e. it kind of watered down the drink a bit too much. Next time, I’ll use a smaller glass.
C Gin Fizz (adapted from a Liquor.com recipe)
- 1 ounce Club Soda
- 1 ounce Blue Coat Barrel Aged Gin
- 1 ounce C Carrot Spirit
- 1 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice
- 3/4 ounce Simple Syrup
- 1 Egg White (about .5 oz)
Method: Add the club soda to a Fizz or Collins glass and set aside. Add the remaining ingredients to a shaker and shake without ice for about 10 seconds. Add 3 or 4 ice cubes and shake very well. Double-strain into the prepared glass.
Limpd: Crisp and citrusy with just a hint of juniper. There are some herbal notes and a bit of earth. Ooh, that is good! There is a nice blend of lemon, juniper and carrot giving you a great mouthfeel and a great finish. Wow! For a summertime drink, this would be fantastic. Crisp and refreshing and just plain delicious. It looks like G-LO knows his way around an egg white and a strainer.
G-LO: This was a much more fun drink! The mouthfeel was luscious and creamy. With regards to the actual taste, you get a bit of the C, the vanilla and juniper from the Barrel Aged Gin, a bit of sugary sweetness, and just enough tartness from the lemon. This cocktail was quite delicious and highly drinkable. It may have been a bit of a pain to make, but the finished product was well worth the effort. The C Gin Fizz is further proof that eggs make everything better.
C Jack Rose (adapted from a Serious Eats recipe)
- 1 ounce Laird’s Applejack
- 1 ounce C Carrot Spirit
- 3/4 ounce Homemade Grenadine
- 3/4 ounces Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
- Lemon Twist
Method: Combine Applejack, C Carrot Spirit, Grenadine, Lemon Juice, and Bitters in a cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice and shake vigorously until well chilled, about 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass. Squeeze lemon twist over surface of drink, skin-side-out to release fragrant oils. Rub rim of glass with skin side of lemon twist. Serve immediately.
Limpd: Sweet and lemony. This was a really nice cocktail. Sweet upfront with a lot of lemon; hints of apple and earth. G-LO wants to add another egg white (he must be stopped!). Truth be told, I am a big fan of the Jack Rose. Cutting the Laird’s Applejack in half and substituting the C brings along a slightly more organic flavor and cuts a little of the sweetness. I thought the balance here was really well done!
G-LO: This was a fascinating combination of flavors. Tart and sweet grenadine. Earthy carrotiness. Some lemony tang. A hint of spiced apple. This made for a fun Jack Rose variation. Less sweet and perhaps a little more savory. This wasn’t as good as the C Gin Fizz, but it was pretty darn close. Next time around, I need to try this with an egg white.
So there you have it. One unique spirit, and three classic cocktail variations. If you’ve had the opportunity to try C, or have other cocktail ideas for this spirit, we want to hear about it! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.