Having discovered a trove of ridiculously alcoholic spirits. In what quantities should I mix them? If I slip and pour a little too much in this could cause a major problem! Let's say I am using Cocoroco which is sold as "potable alcohol". Like rum, cocoroco is made from sugar cane and is 96% (ABV). So, how much, and what is the best mixer to team up with it?
A rule of thumb, one shot of high proof is like two shots of an average liquor. It'll still be stronger but, you can wing recipes by halving the alcohol.
When working with high proofs the trick is achieving proper dilution. Somewhere in the range of 20 percent ABV is a noble choice for a finished cocktail. Often you may want more than 20 percent (even up to 40 percent which is like taking straight shots, easy does it) rarely you'll want less. For a bottle sitting at 96 percent, a 1:4 ratio (booze:mixer) should put you around 19 percent while 3:7 will up you to 28 percent.
Since you don't have to add much spirit to your drink, you can add it to things without changing their mouth texture or flavor too much so, they're good for keeping thick or rich fluids just the way you like them. In my experience, these high proofs don't have much flavor to start with but they do have more bite or burn than say, a good vodka. I would keep the vodka for lighter flavors like lemonade but, this might work just fine for orange juice. I think something like this would make a good candidate for a boozy shake, if that's the route you go I recommend pulling that ABV down past that 20 percent, closer to 12 or 15 percent (where most wine sits at) because milkshakes are big... nobody wants a tiny milkshake.
Fair warning, if your mixer is a liqueur.... if it has alcohol in it, the math below won't work. Don't mix 141 or 160 or 192 proof alcohol with nothing but Bailey's and then wonder why you blacked out, you have to add more non-alcoholic liquid to offset the extra alcohol....
Now for the math. I got those ratios up there by taking the ABV and multiplying it by decimals. So... a bottle with 96 percent ABV, if you multiply 96 by 0.5 you get 48, your new ABV. That 0.5 represents how much of your original alcohol is added to the mix. 0.5 is half alcohol and half mixer. 0.2 is 2 parts alcohol to 8 parts mixer. 0.3 is 3 parts alcohol to 7 parts mixer... notice how the ratios always add up to ten. You can do this with any ABV. If I wanted to mix with a 40 percent ABV just start playing with numbers. 40 ABV x .7 = 28 ABV in a 7 part alcohol to 3 part mixer ratio.
Mixing drinks is an art. This is even more true when one is mixing a drink that involves extremely high percentage alcohols.
Allow me to have a little fun here and show you how to modify a cocktail recipe and I will use Cocoroco as an example. But first:
When creating a new cocktail, balance is always important. A common rookie mistake is to make a cocktail that has the alcohol content way out of proportion. You know, the one that should actually have the flammable symbol on the side of the glass. Five ounces of Everclear (95% ABV), one-ounce orange juice! The idea being that; it may not taste good, but it will get you “;wasted”. Well, we’ve all done that and realized that there are better ways to enjoy the benefits of alcohol. The best way is in a well-balanced cocktail.
The best example of a balanced drink is wine. It has a moderate alcohol content and the sweet and sour balance each other out nicely. The alcohol content of a standard glass of wine is around 12% with some wines approaching 14%. Some ports and sherry have alcohol content in the 17% to 20% range, and still taste very good, usually because the sugar content is higher. Again, it’s all about balance in drinks.
The full article on from the Art of Drink, explains how to figure out the math percentages in drinks in a very simple manner and will leave it to the reader to investigate this further on there own.
Now turning to Cocoroco.
The Cocoroco is the most alcoholic beverage in the world. With a graduation around 96 degrees this Bolivian drink can be highly toxic. It is made from sugarcane.
The locals often mixed with tea and lemon. It is a drink used primarily to remove the cold at these altitudes is considerable.
The following is only an example of how I would modify a drink in order to be able to use a very high percentage alcohol in a mix.
Bolivian Naval Destroyer:
Drink Type: Cocktail
1 1/2 oz. Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Coconut Rum
1/2 oz. 196 Proof Cocoroco Rum
2 oz. Pineapple Juice
1 1/2 oz. Cranberry Juice
Combine over ice in a cocktail glass. Pour the cranberry on last to get a pretty mixture of color. Garnish with a cherry.