Let me first admit, until I read the announcement post for this month’s MxMo, I had never heard about shim cocktails.
But I like the concept and the challenge.
Instead of my trying to explain, here is what Dinah of bibulo.us have to say on subject. And she is the expert, as she has coined the term:
This month’s topic is near and dear to our hearts as it is our favorite type of lower-proof cocktails: shims! These drinks contain no more than half an ounce of strong spirits (i.e. those containing 40% ABV or above).My ToniCoffee Punch is probably not for everyone. There are some pretty harsh flavors involved, but I love it and can’t wait for summer to return, so I can drink it on my patio.
Heavy-hitters are fun to drink, sure, but it’s way too easy to over-consume and under-enjoy when you’re playing hardball. Let’s stretch out our evenings and get to sample a bigger variety by lowering the proof without lowering our standards. Shims don’t require giving up on flavor, complexity, or—interestingly enough—even your favorite ingredients. Get a new understanding of your favorite high-proof spirit by using just a half or quarter ounce of it along with a milder leading player. Or take a low-proof character actor that usually supplements the main show and see if it can take the lead.
The inspiration comes from several places. First, on a recent visit to New York - where I had the good fortune to stay in Brooklyn in stead of Manhattan and there for saw neighborhoods I had never thought to visit - on a morning constitutional along Smith Avenue, I passed a sign describing a Swedish Tonic. It was in front of an actually Swedish Bakery right there in Brooklyn.
I had a peek inside - and a sniff of their delightfully smelling cinnamon buns - but I was on my way to Momofuku Milk Bar and didn’t want to spoil my appetite. So I snapped a picture of the sign and went on my way, reminding myself that I could get to a bakery in Sweden from my home in an hour and a half.
And also reminding myself to learn more about a mixture of tonic water and espresso.
Since I have learned that it was first created in Helsingborg Sweden, at Koppi - a coffee shop one and a half hours travel from my front door, so I am planning a trip.
The people at Koffi may have been inspired by a Norwegian barista. (link in Swedish).
And that started my second line of thought. How Scandinavians have always loved their coffee and how integral to our cultures coffee have always been. (Add in Finland for the Nordic vibe and you will find all four countries on the top 10 list of coffee consuming countries).
A few years back I made myself a cocktail in honor of the old Danish tradition going back to the start of the 17th century of mixing coffee and aquavit - or snaps as we call it. Back then it was called Strong Coffee to set it apart from Coffee with out the aquavit and later on it gained names like “a small black” and coffee punch.
(The recipe for traditional coffee punch in Denmark goes like this: In the bottom of a cup place a small coin, add coffee until it is invisible, then add snaps until it visible again.)
So now I had an idea for a shim:
- 1,5 cl snaps - I used an amazing golden oak cask finished dill aquavit called D Aurum from local Den Nye Spritfabrik
- 1 shot of dark roast espresso - well mocha technically since it was brewed in a mocha pot and in keeping with my Danish roots I used Sol og Måne Espresso (sun and moon) from local coffee roasters Just Coffee
- 1 teaspoon organic sugar
- 15 cl tonic - I used Colonial Tonic from Ebeltoft Gårdbryggeri (farm brewery) a golden, bitter and very lovely tonic.
In a tall glass - add the aquavit and some ice cubes then pour in the tonic and then the sweetened coffee on top. It looks cool when the coffee swirls in the tonic (probably more noticeable in a clear