Recipe Review: The Lazy Boy from Left Coast Libations

Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits

Bourbon. Figs. Ginger. Honey. While this might sound like the beginnings of a luscious dessert, it's actually the shopping list for a culinary-style cocktail with a sassy name.

One of over 100 original recipes featured in Left Coast Libations, a cocktail book showcasing the creations of 51 mixologists from the West Coast of the U.S. and Canada, The Lazy Boy by Chris Churilla takes its inspiration - and most of its ingredients - from the kitchen.

Drawn to this cocktail's tempting combination of flavors, I gave the recipe a test drive. Here are some of my notes:

Ease of Preparation
I'll start by saying that The Lazy Boy is not a drink for lazy home mixologists. Pureeing figs, preparing honey simple syrup, juicing fresh ginger - taken together, these steps make that very first batch of drinks a time-consuming enterprise. But the good news is that it's all worth the initial investment: Once prepped, each of these ingredients keeps well in the fridge, ready for those days when you'd rather just recline in your Barcalounger.

Technique/Gear
In addition to basic bartending tools (cocktail shaker, strainer, and a jigger for measuring), this culinary-inspired cocktail recipe calls for the use of some specialized kitchen gear.

I made a few adjustments according to what I had available at home. I used a ceramic grater on the ginger, rather than the juicer or food processor suggested in the recipe. I don't have a kitchen scale, so guesstimated on the quantity of dried figs, and as a result, I think my puree came out a little thicker than intended. I don't have a China hat, and found that the colander I tried as a substitute was too fine, so I ended up bypassing the fig-straining step altogether. But everything worked out in the end. (More details in the recipe below.)

The Verdict
Delicious. Rich and jammy-tasting with the sweet warmth of bourbon and just a hint of ginger to make things interesting. A keeper.

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The Lazy Boy by Chris Churilla

makes one cocktail

2 1/2 ounces Bulleit or other bourbon (I used 2 ounces)
1 ounce fig puree (adapted recipe below*)
1 tsp honey simple syrup (adapted recipe below**)
1/2 tsp ginger juice (adapted recipe below***)
lemon twist for garnish

Shake all ingredients over ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

*Fig Puree:
1/4 lb. dried black mission figs
8 ounces purified water

Remove stems from figs and discard. Chop figs into quarters. Combine the figs and water in a blender and puree until smooth. (The original recipe called for the mixture to be strained through a China hat to remove any remaining large chunks, but I skipped this step.) Makes enough for 8 cocktails. Stores in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container for up to one month.

**Honey Syrup: Combine 4 ounces of honey with 2 ounces of hot water from the kettle. Stir until combined. Keeps in the refrigerator in a tightly lidded container up to one month.

***Ginger Juice: While the original recipe recommends juicing the fresh ginger root in a centrifugal juicer, or whirring it in a food processor with a bit of water, then straining it through cheesecloth, I found that a ceramic ginger grater was all I needed to extract 1/2 teaspoon of fresh juice for a single cocktail. Commercially bottled juice is also an option.

Recipe from Left Coast Libations by Ted Munat with Michael Lazar © 2010 www.leftcoastlibations.com ($17.96 at Amazon.com), reprinted with permission.

Have you tried mixing any culinary-style cocktails at home?

Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.

Nora Maynard is a longtime home mixologist and an occasional instructor at NYC’s Astor Center. She is a contributor to The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food and Drink Industries and is the recipient of the American Egg Board Fellowship in culinary writing at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow. She previously covered food and drink in film at The Kitchn in her weekly column, The Celluloid Pantry.

Related: Recipe: Spicy-Cool Blood Orange-Jalapeno Margaritas

(Images: book cover courtesy of Left Coast Libations; all others Nora Maynard)

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