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Ankle Breaker Cocktail

There is a schism in the cocktail world between the loyalists and the conceptualists. Some break tooth on the belief that only rye can be in a Ward Eight, or adding dry vermouth in an Alaska negates it being an Alaska. The other side chides back that it's about the essense, not some Gestalt dismemberment. There ends up, a line drawn, with stoic, dry Manhattans on one side and St. Germain foam topped, sphere-ified Margaritas on the other.

A cocktail's provenance should be sought out, but sometimes you gotta give the past the slip. So many drinks were designed under the auspice of a good time, and the context of those soirees probably outshined the acutal concoction. Not to mention the disappearance (and, then later, somehow unearthing) of key ingredients and the very probable difference in sugar content of fruits now and then.

Time for a cocktail.

The Ankle Breaker attracted me because it answers the question, "What other use does Cherry Heering have than in a Blood and Sand or Singapore Sling?" Problem is, the original - equal parts 151° rum, Cherry Heering, lemon, and a touch of sugar - was too austere for my tastes. I have only ever had one cocktail in my life, Hell In the Pacific, were 151° rum was the base and I enjoyed it.

The Ankle Breaker is a Beachbum Berry cocktail that I pulled out of his book, Remixed. It was created at the Swamp Fox Room at the Marion Hotel in Charleston, SC during the 1950's, and named after a Revolutionary War general who jumped ship from the second floor of the hotel to bail on a party, breaking his ankle. Supposedly he was drinking something similar to an Ankle Breaker, even though Francis Marion, who the story is in reference to, died in 1795 and Cherry Heering was first produced in 1818. Who knows, maybe it's just lore.

I took the liberty of fiddling with the ingredients to find something palatable for me, without losing the dueling flavors of heat and richness. I felt Appleton VX would be a suitable bridge between the dusty hotness of the Lemon Hart and the dried fruit of Cherry Heering. I quite like it.

My take on Beachbum Berry's Ankle Breaker:

3/4 oz Lemon Hart 151°

3/4 oz Appleton VX

3/4 oz lemon juice

3/4 oz Cherry Heering

1/2 oz Demerara syrup

1 dash Angostura bitters

Flash shake all ingredients together with crushed ice. Dirty dump and garnish with lemon zest.

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