Saturday, 19 December 2009

Tuscan Mustang

I am a firm believer in Tuaca, having first tried it in Brighton about five years ago. The brandy-based Italian liqueur (35%) tastes mainly of vanilla, with hints of citrus and a little caramel. The manufacturer recommends drinking it chilled and straight, but for me it's a little syrupy and sweet to sip like that, which is why I got used to drinking Tuaca inside a Tuscan Mule (with ginger ale/beer and lime wedges - think Moscow without the vodka).

The problem is, most recipes call for 50ml of Tuaca to be served in a highball glass with ice and "topped up" with ginger ale, at which point the liqueur risks being diluted to death. This is certainly how it's served in most bars, and I'm guessing "ginger ale with notes of  vanilla" is not exactly what Tuaca's creators, nor indeed God, intended.

And so, in the spirit of free inquiry, I dusted off my sadly neglected bottle of the golden-brown nectar and set about remixing the recipe. By and by, I settled on this simple tweak:

60ml (2oz) Tuaca
60ml (2oz) ginger ale*
1/4 lime

*While some recipes call for ginger beer for its stronger taste, I find it masks Tuaca's more fragile flavours.

Throw a few ice cubes into a glass tumbler, add the Tuaca and ginger ale, squeeze lime wedges into drink and mix.

What a drink! It's short, rather than long, and the ratio of booze to mixer means the liqueur's vanilla essence really resonates, while the lime prevents the sweetness from overwhelming things. M likened it to a key lime pie, and why not?

Having triumphantly named this "new" drink the Tuscan Mustang, in a condescending nod to the tamer Mule, I was devastated to find some online recipes for the Mule already call for a similar concentration of Tuaca to mine. Indeed, the official Tuaca website proposes 1.5 parts Tuaca to 2 parts ginger ale.

However, I am not one to be distracted or dissuaded by mere facts. The truth remains that asking for a Tuscan Mule does not in practice guarantee one a decent cocktail, whereas a Tuscan Mustang, if it is to mean anything at all, promises a feral kick. I know which beast I prefer.

READ about the special relationship between Tuaca and Brighton here.

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