Though I’ve written about 007-related matters quite a few times on this here site, including the matter of Bond and booze, I actually haven’t seen “Spectre” yet.
Nevertheless, amid all the Internet back-and-forth about the latest entry in this most mammoth of all film franchises, it seemed apt that I stumbled upon a drink apparently named after the slim but exciting pulp novel that started it all…and then restarted the whole thing when it was finally turned into a canonical James Bond movie called “Casino Royale.” (At least on paper, Ian Fleming’s novel was actually adapted twice before that, but it’s a very long story why neither of those two productions, one a live TV broadcast and the other a lavishly misbegotten 1960s cinema curio, actually “count.”)
However, the drink itself turned out to be a little too serious, perhaps — a charge that’s also been leveled against some of the more recent Bond films as well, though not necessarily by me. Still, I took it upon myself to lighten things up. In the movies, maintaining the balance between light and dark elements in something like a Bond film can be pretty difficult to pull off. In an over-tart/under-sweetened drink, however, it’s really just a matter of boosting up one of the sweeter ingredients and maybe doing a Mary Poppins and adding just a spoonful of sugar. To wit…
The Casino Royale (Rebooted)
2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
1 dash orange bitters
1 orange slice (optional garnish)
Combine the gin, juice, liqueur, egg yolk and sugar into a cocktail shaker. Dry shake (shake without ice) to emulsify the yolk. Add ice and shake again very vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. If the oranges from your supermarket are sufficiently sweet, consider adding a slice for a garnish. If not, don’t sweat it. There’s enough going on in this drink.
For the record, the original version of the Casino Royale, which I found on various web sites, contains only one teaspoon of maraschino and no other sweetener of any sort. That version is not for everyone and I’m not even sure it’s for me. On the other hand, it’s definitely less fattening and great for people who don’t mind very tart drinks softened by an almost yogurt-like softness, courtesy of the egg yolk.
Still, though it might be less kind to my waistline and my A1C, I like my sweetened up version. It worked very well with a few different gins. Bombay Dry, Plymouth, and value-priced Gordon’s all produced dandy results, lending the drink the right floral/boozy backdrop. I also had good results with both Maraska and Luxardo maraschino. The latter was more sweetly inviting, with a vaguely vanilla-esque back-taste. Luxardo added more overtly complex flavors in ways I simply don’t have the vocabulary to fully describe right at this moment, other than to say it was kind of interesting.
Now, it’s time for an appropriate musical interlude from one of the worst spy movies with one of the best scores not composed by Sir John Barry.