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Author Notes: In my attempt to make an autumnal version of the Hotel Nacional Special I made several different fruit syrups, then mixed up multiple combinations of base spirit + syrup + lemon juice + liqueur. There were two that really worked well, and this is one of them. The quince-star anise sharbat is adapted from Diana Henry's Salt Sugar Smoke. The color of the final drink reminds me of the time just before sundown. It's complex floral flavor makes it a lovely autumn evening sipper. —hardlikearmour
Makes 1 cocktail
In the Gloaming
- 1 1/2 ounces gold rum
- 3/4 ounce quince-star anise sharbat syrup
- 3/4 ounce freshly pressed and strained lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
- 4 to 5 drops Angostura bitters
- ice cubes
- Combine all ingredients in a shaker with a handful of ice cubes. Shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. Strain into a coupe glass (or other 5 to 6 ounce glass). Sip.
Quince-Star Anise Sharbat Syrup (makes about 3/4 pint)
- 2 medium-large quince (about 1 lb)
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 lemons
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (more or less)
- 3 star anise pods, broken
- Peel and core quince (I use a melon baller to scoop out the fuzzy belly button, then I cut the quince into quarters lengthwise, then use the melon baller to scoop out the core). Cut the quince into chunks.
- Combine the quince, water, and juice of one lemon is a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. Cook until the quince is soft and just starting to get a pink blush, about 45 minutes.
- Position a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth over a quart glass measure or bowl, and pour the quince and cooking liquid through. Allow the quince to drain for 15 or more minutes, but resist the urge to press on it. While the quince is draining, wash the sauce pan.
- Transfer the strained liquid back into the sauce pan (there should be about 1 1/2 cups -- if not, adjust the sugar quantity so it is the same volume measure as the liquid). Add the sugar and star anise. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved then increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the juice from the remaining lemon. Cover and allow to cool to room temperature. (NOTE: Quince is very high in pectin, so if the syrup starts to become a jelly gently reheat it and whisk in 1/4 to 1/2 cup boiling water.)
- Strain through a very fine mesh strainer (to remove possible pectin globules) into a bottle or jar (preferably sterilized). Store in the refrigerator.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Cocktail