I recently catered a three course dinner at the house again. Each component was complete with a wine pairing, as well as a dessert drink.
It was phenomenal, and quite well themed.
My guests are huge fans of both clove and allspice flavors, thus I took it upon myself to include the fragrant aromatics in each and every element of the meal.
I also wanted a bit of sumac – to liven up the heavy burden the wintery spices often connote.
Sumac has a lovely, nearly purple color, and a tart flavor that is reminiscent of vinegar or lemon. It is an essential ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking.
To pair with a rich chocolatey and spiced avocado mousse for dessert, I insisted upon the smoke of a really delicious, high quality low-land single malt Scotch. If you know anything about Scotch, the smoke and residual peat of the process is a flavor into which you grow.
I’ve grown. I’m there, baby. I’m there.
Blood Orange Sumac Smoked Old Fashioned
2 oz. Highland Park 12 Year Single Malt Scotch (or your favorite smoky variety)
1 oz. sweet vermouth
1 tsp. Blood Orange Sumac Simple Syrup**
1 slice blood orange
1 tsp. caster sugar
1 Luxardo cherry
Stir together the smoky, peety Scotch, vermouth, and Blood Orange Sumac Simple Syrup.
Sprinkle the orange slice with the caster sugar and torch until caramelized and a bit smoky.
Serve the Old Fashioned on a rock, garnished with the torched orange slice and Luxardo cherry.
**Blood Orange Sumac Simple Syrup
1/4 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
2 Tbs. cane sugar
1/4 tsp. ground sumac
Combine all ingredients in a small pot and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is reduced by about 1/2. Gorgeous magenta…you’ll love it – the sweet, the citrus, the tang. It’s a winner.