Rediscovering and rehabilitating cast-aside “bad” drinks is one my life’s joys. It reminds me of an interview I read in the 90s from Icelandic singer Björk (that I can’t find so I’m paraphrasing) where she questions why anyone would bother to do covers of good songs, since they’re already good. Why not find bad songs and cover those instead?
I’m not suggesting that I’m anywhere near the level of talent as Björk, but I’ve always taken a similar approach with cocktails. We don’t need to “reimagine” the Penicillin, Sam Ross already figured that one out; the Negroni does not need any help; the Margarita is perfect as it is. Other drinks, however, do need a bit of support. Take the French Martini: in my near-decade of bartending I don’t think anyone ever asked me for one (and in my earlier, snootier days, I might have even laughed at the request.) The traditional recipe: vodka, Chambord, and pineapple juice, is simple but flawed. Chambord—the French blackberry liqueur that I like to think of as Crème de Cassis’s gaudy cousin—can be overpowering and overly berry-ey if not used judiciously. And pineapple juice, while one of my absolute favorite cocktail ingredients (#pineappledaddy) does not have enough acidity to carry a drink all on its own.
To remedy these shortcomings, I’ve buffered the drink with a precise measure of egg white to soften the texture and lengthen the overall drink without making it too eggy, plus a small hit of lime juice to provide desperately-needed acidity. —John deBary
Combine all drink ingredients in a shaker, and shake without ice to emulsify the egg white for 15 seconds or until you start seeing foam form. Fill the small shaker with regular ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled, large cocktail coupe, and garnish with the pineapple wedge.