Be desire-less and expect austerity.
Once a year a crazy Southeast Asian citron comes on the market called a Buddha’s Hand. This fruit’s history is quite impressive as it seems to have traveled most of the known world before written history began. I bought what was basically a Buddha’s “grizzly bear paw,” a few weeks back, it was easily the largest one I’ve ever had. We infused it for 1 week at Rob Roy in 1 part gin to 1 part rum. And that is today’s Cocktail Advent Calendar, Buddha’s hand, dealers choice.
There is a great lesson in this fruit for bartenders. Buddha’s hand is candied, steamed and fried is Asian culture but the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t taste like much of anything. Why infuse it? because it smells great. Buddha’s hand is mostly used as an air freshener. Because is smells good, we infuse it with 80 proof spirit to let the scent continue in cocktails. If we made a syrup out of it we would have what is basically lightly citric yellow syrup that is very expensive. To keep it short: infuse scents into spirits, cook flavors into syrups, and figure out when you want those two to overlap into a liqueur.
A weird sad song to go with this nontraditional winter drink is, “Did I Make You Cry on Christmas?” by Sufjan Stevens. Kind of a song about I guy who just can’t get this season right, like when you call infusing crazy citrus a Christmas cocktail.
By the way, today is not some bullshit 1990′s infused vodka slacker day. All of those fads are still aplicable when used correctly. You are going to be clowning on making your own bitters like they were bellbottoms soon enough.