Bombardino!

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A classic Italian high proof eggyolk amaro

For 500 mL of Zwack Unicum (I want to use Fernet but I’m using the Unicum because I have a bottle, I fear it, and I need to figure out how to use it. It has comparable sugar and alcohol content to Fernet)

Guides suggest a minimum of 14% alcohol which definitely won’t be a problem using Zwack Unicum or Fernet Branca. Guides also call for 140 g/L of egg yolks and 150 g/L of sugar. with a little bit of hydrometer work and some extrapolation we find that Zwack already rings in at 7 brix or so which may only be about 70 g/L (very impercise).

To make 500 mL:
70 g egg yolks (really five yolks @ 77.2 g)
50 g sugar
450 mL or so of amaro.
.5 g of vitamin c powder as an antioxidant

Dissolve the sugar first into the alcohol (with patience) then slowly integrate the alcohol into the egg yolks.

These are the recommended proportions of an old agricultural science manual. Upon tasting it, I like the new mouth feel and see a contribution from the yolks but I really feel I need more. (if not 7 more yolks!) At its present state I don’t see how the liqueur would hold its own to coffee. Seven more yolks will even probably increase the volume by less than 100 mL.

Another 103.7 g of egg yolks.

!! totally worth using the 175 g or so of yolks.

Because I’m making this really quickly, there is some undissolved sugar (due to a lack of patience) and maybe some burnt yolk from the initial high alcohol. Like in a zabaglione, I can get rid of most of this by passing it all through a fine strainer.

There is surprisingly quite a lot for the strainer to remove but the final product is pretty cool. Strong but tamed by the texture of the yolks. A ferocious amaro becomes much more approachable. Now lets see how long it will keep.

I have no coffee but it adds a delicious complexity to earl grey tea.

*****update*****

I managed to drink this with some coffee and it was a delicious rich alternate to cream with extra flavor contrast. I have not worked intimately with Advocaat and have no understanding of how stable it is, but I do notice little flecks of egg yolk separating and I fear it may be from alcohol levels being higher than is stable. The particles can be easily strained off but its not that aesthetically pleasing. Next time I may dilute the intensity of the alcohol with some water. Fernet is full flavored enough that water won’t harm it too much.

****update****

I was trying to make this drink for a small newspaper article on winter egg drinks. I didn’t use the fortified yolk liqueur but merely a quick zabaglione with four yolks, 2 table spoons of sugar, 2 oz. of Fernet, 2 oz. of white wine. the results were really great in hot coffee. Awesome flavor contrast and a certain richness. It even works well in iced coffee.

****update****

So many people search for a Bombardino recipe according to my blog statistics. Of course nearly no one comments on anything. What exactly are you looking for? and how do you know of the drink? Strangely, the drink is rather common on European restaurant menus relative to its obscurity here in America. Any insights on this tradition?

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Hopped Distillate Construction

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I’m still trying to construct a gin like product. Many formulas are known but I am trying to break away from them to create something new with a lot of direction. I’m still intensely interested in hops, particularly the fruitier smelling varieties. Hitachino’s Kiuchi No Shizuku has a gorgeous aroma that seems to lean more on fruit from their hops than an herbaceous character. Apricot is easily perceived but the fruitiness may be exacerbated by their choice of orange peel. I thought that maybe I could split botanicals off into pairs to find good proportions like balancing coriander and orange peel. But now I see that hops may need to be paired with the orange peel to produce the seductive fruity character. So this seemingly simple trio becomes more interrelated than any other trio I can think off. Juniper seems like it could easily be split off from coriander & orange peel which is the case in many classic gin recipes where you see seriously variable amounts of juniper to the fairly constant ratios of coriander & orange peel.

For my latest five liter batch I used:
75g coriander
200g creole shrubb
200g pacific jade hops

These hops proved to be more herbaceous than the Palisades but they are still very enjoyable. Finding the right hop variety will be key to locking down a recipe. I split off the coriander and orange peel and distilled them from a liter of 80 proof spirits plus the small amount of the alcohol in the Shrubb out to 120 proof. I distilled the hops with 3.5 liters of 80 proof spirits out to about 150 proof. I did lose about a 100 mL or so at the end when the distillate turned cloudy very quickly on me. To bring things to about 5 liters at 80 proof I needed to add 500 mL of 80 proof spirits plus the 100 or so mL I lost when I tossed the really cloudy tails. Upon cutting everything down to proof with distilled water everything turned really cloudy on me which I’m afraid may be the nature of hops. Hitachino has a crystal clear product but I suspect when they distill the beer to 30 proof and let it sit in barrels with extra botanicals before re-distilling, it may have something to do with leaving behind what ever produces the cloudiness. My understanding is that only the middle run at 80-85% alcohol is saved for gin which is not what I’m practicing.

So I should state that I love the taste but I need a crystal clear product. I guess I could re-distill and risk loosing some aroma to try and gain clarity, but I should probably also read up on techniques for cutting down over proof spirits.

***update***

Part of the cloudiness has subsided and decent amount of separated oil has risen to the surface which indicates that I accepted far too much of the tails even though the taste and aroma was not objectionable. I’ve read that you can sometimes skim off the oils but it doesn’t totally solve the problem. I will probably still need to re-distill.

***update!***

I re-distilled everything to maybe 160 proof or so separating everything into five pints. I was then planning on diluting them one at a time to see at what point thing would be cloudy (if at all). Well things didn’t work out so well. The first jar become very cloudy which means that there is a problem with the heads and the second jar is cloudy but far less so. I was pretty sure the second jar would be far into the middle run and not leave any problems. Now I really don’t know what to do. The distillate is especially delicious by the way so I have a good motivator to move forward. I also did learn that the hop variety that Sierra Nevada used in their beer schnapps was Cascade. If anyone would come forth with any advice I’d be happy to take it.

So I may just have to dilute with 80 proof spirits instead of water. If gin must be clear there may be limits to its intensity. This is also relative to the final alcohol content. I’m probably just making my recipes too intense.

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