Sometimes, when you create a riff on a classic cocktail, the ingredients come first, but then at others, it’s the name that truly starts the process off.
The latter is the case with the Tracy Chaplin cocktail that’s new on the bar at Burrow in Sydney’s CBD. A riff on the Charlie Chaplin, the Tracy Chaplin encompasses the spirit of the original but takes it further with a full-bodied taste and a Moorish finish.
The drink was created by head bartender Conor O’Brien, and his fellow bartender Hanna, who wanted to called the cocktail the Tracy Chapman as a quip on the bar’s house Bourbon, Buffalo Trace.
“Long story short,” said O’Brien, “Hanna loves puns, and the name just sounded great. Also, I’m a massive Tracy Chapman fan, so I loved the idea of making a drink that sounded similar to her name as well.”
Replacing the Sloe Gin with Blueberry-infused Bourbon and the Apricot Liqueur with a spicy Apricot Syrup has allowed the drink to encompass a bigger flavour profile with a spicy edge.
But it’s not only the taste of this drink but also the added benefit of being able to close the loop by minimising waste that makes this drink so perfect.
“We’ve got a Bourbon-infused Blueberry jam, that we add that to the cheese board here,” O’Brien points out, “and that’s using the waste products from the drink itself. The jam really pairs beautifully with a couple of different cheeses that we serve here.
“If you are going to infuse the Bourbon, you should make the jam. It takes 5 minutes and tastes delish. It’s just the leftover Blueberries, a bit of sugar and some Lemon Juice; a fundamental jam recipe.”
While Burrow Bar uses a Sous Vide method to infuse the Bourbon, O’Brien points out that you don’t need to get that technical and the same effect can easily be achieved at home.
While most of us don’t have an immersion circulator, we do have a stove top and a bit of time, and that’s all you need. “The easiest way to do this at home would be to take the Blueberries and put them into the bourbon in a vac-seal bag and just simmer it into it.
“So you’ll boil it, let it cool down, boil it again and just keep doing that over a couple of hours,” says O’Brien. “You need to remember that alcohol does burn off at 76 degrees, so you don’t want it to sit above that.
“Alternative, you can achieve the same effect without heat by putting everything into the vac-sealed bag and leaving it there in the bag for maybe a week.”
While shaking a cocktail may seem like the simplest of actions, O’Brien points out that how hard you shake can make all the difference to the result of the drink. “The purpose is to emulsify and get that extra bit of modification, as well as lift the aromatics off the cocktail.
“It’s a small thing,” said O’Brien, “but it allows the drink to kind of jump out the glass a little bit better. If you don’t, you’re not allowing those flavours to break out as much, and you don’t quite get the same air.”
The Charlie Chaplin cocktail is often served in a Nick& Nora glass, and O’Brien continued that tradition with the riff as a bit of a nod to the original. “The Nick & Nora glass not only fits the drink perfectly, he says, “but it’s a great reflection on the vintage nature of the inspiration.”Tracy Chaplin
45mls Blueberry-Infused Bourbon
30mls Lime Juice
20mls Spiced Apricot Syrup
Add all ingredients to a cocktail tin and hard shake. Strain to a Nick & Nora glass and garnish with a dehydrated Lime wheel.