There is no greater bond than that between the world’s most exalted thinkers and their tipple of choice. Would For Whom the Bell Tolls have taken its place among the canon of seminal literature had Ernie not so enthusiastically supped? Would Winston Churchill have won the Nobel Prize in Literature had he fixed himself a stiff afternoon tea instead of a whisky? Could Edgar Allan Poe have spawned generations of teenage Goths were it not for his ardour for absinthe?
After all, alcohol is known for its mind-expanding qualities: we are all at our wisest after a few pints, no?
Alban Hajdini, head barman at The Natural Philosopher, certainly had his thinking cap on when he created the delightfully monikered Occam’s Razor, a punchy cocktail sure to awaken the most enlightened philosopher in all who try it.
Named for the leading principle of English philosopher and theologian William of Ockham (1287–1347) – which can be summed up as “Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected” – Occam’s Razor is a complex concoction of sweet and savoury notes; of light, fruity moments underpinned with dark, earthy tones, atop a sea of shimmering lime and punchy rum.
“We wanted to develop a summery cocktail using rum as the base,” explains Hajdini, “but rather than go for a classic sweet, sour or bitter profile that most cocktails adhere to, we wanted to try something fresh and savoury.”
This savoury accent comes from a curious and startlingly flavourful interplay between musky, almost medicinal sage and sweet, sticky, zingy pineapple, swaddled in silvery smoke.
“The freshness of the pineapple compliments the sage and the smoky notes, while the pepper adds a bit of spice,” says Hajdini.
And if home-smoking a pineapple for three days just to fashion yourself a drink seems excessive, just remember what Nietzsche once said: “For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity or perception to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication.”
Occam’s Razor (Serves 2)
100ml Ron Abuelo rum
40ml freshly squeezed lime juice
40ml sage-infused sugar syrup
Fresh smoked pineapple
2 fresh sage leaves
Ground black peppercorns
Chilled Martini glass
1 smoking gun/home-smoking kit
Sage-Infused Sugar Syrup
200g caster sugar
Handful fresh sage leaves
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“Ron Abuelo rum has a rich flavour that adds an extra punch here, but Flor De Caña rum would work for a more luxurious take on the drink.”
- Start by making the smoked pineapple a few days before serving. Cut a pineapple into chunks and place into a rubber sealable jar.
- Add smoke to the jar using a smoking gun (or set up using a home-smoking kit) and leave for 24 hours. You may need to repeat this process 2-3 times to ensure the smoke flavour takes hold.
- Remove from the jar and store in a sealable container until needed.
- Turn to the sage-infused syrup 24 hours before serving. Boil 200ml water in a pan with the sugar until completely dissolved.
- Reduce to a medium heat, and add the sage leaves.
- Allow to cool, and transfer into a sealable container, including the sage leaves. Leave to rest for 24 hours.
- Now assemble the cocktail. Muddle the smoked pineapple and a leaf of fresh sage in a cocktail shaker.
- Add the rum, lime juice, sugar syrup and peppercorns to the shaker and shake well.
- Using both hands, strain the drink through a Hawthorne strainer (held flush with the opening of the shaker) and a small fine sieve positioned over your glass.
From Delicious To Stratospheric
“Make sure all your ingredients are fresh as possible and that the pineapple has been well smoked. Serve cold in a chilled glass.”