Summer has come to Minneapolis. Now that our backyards are free for use again, and the produce is starting to look a little less depressing, I start to get the feeling for fresh crisp tasting drinks. A good Tom Collins is always nice, but the other night I was feeling like something a little less rote. Enter the Self-Starter.

I was flipping through my copy of the Savoy Cocktail book, and stumbled upon this little gem: gin, lillet blanc, apricot brandy, and a little absinthe. I have been looking for excuses to use some apricot brandy since I got the bottle, but every time I found a recipe with it and tried it, I was disappointed. Trader Tiki, in last month’s Mixology Monday, mentioned that St. Germain wasn’t something that he could easily get a handle on mixing with. Apricot brandy is in that same space for me. It just never seems to do what I expect it to in a cocktail. So, after a little while I gave up.

Self-Starter Cocktail

1/2 Gin
3/8 Lillet Blanc
1/4 Apricot Brandy
2 Dashes Absinthe

Shake and strain.

Now, with the actual sizes not given, I found myself going a little light on the absinthe. I think that was probably wise. Absinthe is so strong that it takes over a drink in no time. With just one dash worth, against a very large drink mixed as 2 oz., 1.5 oz, and .5 oz, it slid right in with the lillet and gin, sneaking out at different points in the drink, and generally acting mischievous. The apricot kept things from tasting too dry, but it wasn’t very aggressive. It was there, but far in the background. I don’t have a very good apricot brandy, so it might have more backbone when others mix it. I also stirred the drink, as there was not enough absinthe to make it cloudy, and it worked wonderfully. I’d say ignore the Savoy on that front.

Having tried it, I thought it was too good to have been missed, someone else must have been blogging about this cocktail, and I was right. Bunnyhugs used it for Raiders of the Lost Cocktail in February. It’s a slightly different formulation, which I will have to check out.

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