What’s that ole saying… “Strange bedfellows make great neighbors?” Well, in this case, it was never more truer… As many of you know, I’ve been smashing the heck out of Negroni’s lately, because I just recently found out I can get Carpano Antica in MI (rejoice). But, I ran out of gin the other morning, and was like, FMA, let’s go for it dude, let’s just P the fucking T. And so I did. And so it went. And jebus said to the angels, “let’s get crunk, my freaks.” And they did. And it was good. Friggin’ real good.
FMA Cocktail (tentative title)
2 oz. Bourbon
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. Carpano Antica
Build over a large chunk of ice, garnish with a large peel of lemon and orange.
Okay, let’s talk bourbon for a minute. Since there’s only 2 oz. in there, I like it strong. I was rocking the 107 Old Weller, but a 101 Wild Turkey or even a 101 Grandad would be suitable. Campari, duh. But Carpano – and don’t fuck me on this one – is important. If you wanted to use Punt E Mes, that would be okay, and if you had to use Vya, I could live with it… I mean, I wouldn’t be stoked about it, but I’d forgive and forget. Just don’t use Cinzano, or any crappy vermouth in this. Or in general. As a matter of fact, I forbid you from drinking cheap vermouth. Deal with that – it just happened. No go forth, and crunkify.
Okay, this is a weird one. I’m stocking up on the sauce earlier; grabbed on some gin, a nice peaty scotch, maybe a bottle of tawny port, throw in some rye for Gary and the boys, a classic recipe french vermouth for good measure, and I was hoping to find a nice Amaro. Maybe an Averna or even an Amaro Nonino… I dunno – the day was young and I was drunk with anticipation – and the seven beers I had at lunch – but, the important thing here is that when I told the woman behind the counter I was looking for an Amaro, and she replied with a confused and somewhat “stabby” look, I explained it was a fortified Italian liqueur – a digestif – typically produced by macerating herbs, roots, bark, flowers, citrus and syrups in liquors and allowing the mixture to age in fine oak casks. At which point she shrugged, pointed to a dusty bottle located just between the lemon Puckers and Midori, took up her cigarette and promptly resumed her post near the television, at for where she best could look on her stories. I hesitated, examined the aged bottle, and decided to take a plunge into the great and wild unknown… for it is said that “God hates a coward.” Indeed, I am most certainly doing The Lord’s work.
Strega Brooklyn Varitation
3 oz. Rye
.75 oz. Dry Vermouth
.5 oz. Strega
Dash Luxardo Maraschino
Combine all ingredients in a bar glass, add ice, and stir. Serve down in a rocks glass, with a spray of lemon oil.
I like this one better with a lower proof rye… an Overholt would do nicely, but I’m using the Sazerac brand. This cocktail is really similar to a Brooklyn, hence the name, with the obvious swap of the Strega instead of the Amer Picon which in my mind is like swapping out the orange flavor for the lemon. Also, be careful not to overdo the Maraschino – it’ll ruin that shit with the quickness. I also like throwing in the Peychaud’s as the herbaceousness of the bitters enhances the Strega, which is strangely sweet and has notes of juniper, mint and saffron. Saffron? Fucks yeah, bro dog. Fucks yeah.
More on this topic tomorrow. ish.
The highly anticipated and widely discussed (by me) shipment of Torani Amer arrived from California this afternoon. Torani Amer is based on the recipe of Amer Picon, and rather than explain what Amer Picon is, I’ll just quote Cocktail DB:
“[Amer Picon is a] Proprietary French bitter-sweet spirit-based aperitif beverage bitters with slight orange character. Notable in the Basque drink, Picon Punch, which is considered one of the finest examples of a highball beverage. Unfortunately, from the 1970s to present, the House of Picon has lowered the proof of their product repeatedly, creating a situation where traditional recipes calling for it (such as the Picon Punch which was created with the original 78 proof product in mind) did not taste the same. Picon’s current iteration has an alcohol content of less than half of the original product.”
Torani Amer has a nose of citrus, molasses and a hint of mint. The first taste is bitter and herbaceous, along the lines of Fernet Branca, but tamed down quite a bit. It follows with a citrus fragrance and a slightly sweet finish with a bit of burn from the high proof (78*). TA would go great with mint, citrus and herbal flavors, which would all enhance it’s characteristics. I think a variation on a Pimm’s Cup would be great with this stuff. However, my favorite cocktail that let’s TA really show off is the Liberal.
The Liberal Cocktail
3 oz. Overholt Rye Whiskey
1 oz. Torani Amer
1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
A few dashes orange bitters
Build in an old fashioned glass over a block of ice. Garnish with a boss-sized orange peel.
I’ve gone 3:1:1 on this, to let the supporting players show off a bit. I figure if get a bottle of booze mailed to you, you should at least make sure you can taste it. Also, I am throwing in an orange peel, as it enhances the flavor of the TA. Fuck yes it is.
It seems like the obvious answer here would be wine. But no, I have it on good authority that he was a big fan of Notte di San Giovanni, an Italian walnut liqueur made in Modena. I was lucky enough to be chillaxing at the Whistler last night, and Paul McGee, the head bartender, provided me with a little sample.
Most “nocellos” or walnut liqueurs are too sweet and one-note for me (with the exception of Nux Alipna, of course). However, Notte di San Giovanni is brilliantly spicy and semi-sweet, with a touch of citrus on the nose and a lovely walnut finish. Water into wine? After trying this shit you’ll have your doubts.
Last weekend I stopped into a bar called Joe’s in downtown Santa Barbara. I heard they made a well crafted cocktail. As it turned out, I heard wrong… they guy must have said a “well crap-ted cocktail.” The good news was they had an extremely old bottle of Cherry Marnier, and they kindly allowed me to “sip up on that shit,” as the kids say.
If you’re not familiar with Cherry Marnier, it’s probably because the Marnier company doesn’t distribute it within the US. Which is pretty weak, dude. Pretty weak. Cherry Marnier is made by macerating Turkish cherries in Eau-de-Vie, a colorless fruit brandy. The flavor is pretty much “cherry to the max,” but it doesn’t seem to have the spiciness that Cherry Heering does. Nevertheless, this would be great in a cherry julep, or any recipe calling for a cherry brandy. If you’re fortunate enough to see a bottle, buy it.