The combination of Punt e Mes and Fernet Branca made me think of a more herbal variation on a Manhattan. The drink is dry, sharp and bitter with some sweetness from the Maraska and Punt e Mes, and a strong herbal undertone. And why the Wild Turkey Bourbon? It’s what I had on hand, and it added a nice layer of spice too.
For a couple years I’ve been slowly adding to my liquor cabinet, and then recently I’ve just gone nutso and been buying carts full of stuff to try. Unfortunately this means that the tidy little nook that was housing all the liquor is now being turned back into the wine rack it really is. The sideboard is now starting to groan under the weight until we get around to finishing the bar (and with a now tentative plan of late January for this year’s Tiki Party, that really needs to happen ASAP).
While cleaning out the wine nook, I came across a couple bottles that have not seen the light of day for quite some time. One being an ‘ok’ bottle of Amaretto. I believe this was bought around the time of the first Tiki Party four years ago, and hasn’t been cracked open since this post. Needless to say it was quite dusty.
I figured it was time to give it a second chance when it occurred to me… what to do with a bottle of Amaretto? An Amaretto Sour? I don’t think I’d even tried one before. And while I wasn’t about to compete with Mr. Morgenthaler on how to make one (who can while he is making that face?… I kid, I’m sure it’s delicious.) I wanted to just make it as basic as possible and to just try it on for size. Just two ingredients.
And in the end, head-scratchingly good.
I guess I’d forgotten how much I enjoy the taste of almonds. That is, after all, the defining characteristic of Amaretto. Mixing it with lemon made it one of the most delicious, almond-spiked (albeit maybe the only almond-spiked) lemon-aides I’ve ever had. I was very surprised with how much I enjoyed the drink. The sharp lemon was cut perfectly with the overly sweet amaretto, omitting the need for sweetener entirely and blending just two ingredients into a well-balanced cocktail.
I could see this working at brunch.
2 oz. Amaretto
1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
sugar crystals for garnish
Add liquids to a shaker 1/2 filled with ice. Shake and strain into a sour glass garnished with a sugar rim.
Note on the sugar rim: while pretty to look at, completely covering the entire rim resulted in WAY too much sugar. I’d suggest half the rim dipped in sugar, or just leave it off completely if you’re by yourself and don’t feel the need to garnish.
I also did one take with a slight dusting of nutmeg. It gave the whole drink a lovely woodsy aroma and I found it enhanced the almond flavor; add if you want to get fancy like that.
1-1/2 oz. Broker’s Gin
3/4 oz. Domaine de Canton
3/4 oz. Aperol
3 slices of roasted brown sugar orange rounds (reserve the nicest for garnish)
3 dashes of Scrappy’s Aromatic Bitters
Muddle the orange slices with the Canton in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add ice to about half way up the glass, then add in the rest of the ingredients. Shake and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a twisted, brown sugar coated orange wheel.
The very syrupy Canton evens out here and the drink is quite light and refreshing. There is a nice bite from the ginger and aromatic bitters with subtle orange notes. The garnish also repeats the citrus nose with a wonderful sweetness and in the back somewhere a sharpness from the browned sugar.
Side note: I recently went nuts at Bar Keeper here in Los Angeles and picked up a bunch of bitters to play around with. It’s my goal to feature all of the bottles here in a recipe in the coming months. This bottle of Scrappy’s Aromatic Bitters I got in a sampler pack is quickly becoming an occasional substitute in Manhattans. It has a nice level of spice that works well if you are using Carpano Antica for sweet vermouth.
The drink I decided to garnish is one that came about because I bought a bottle of Bols Genever and had no idea what to do with it. I’ve had it in drinks around town, but noticed that most of the drink books I keep at home don’t make use of this spirit. I wasn’t that familiar with the flavor on its own, and found, upon drinking it, to be quite unique. So unique that I was still stumped and had to do some research online about what people tend to pair it with. Orange was a big one. After some failed first attempts, I hit upon this drink. I found the Genever here to be still a bit more pronounced for my palate, but the nice thing about having someone around with a very different palate than my own is that they will enjoy something I might not of. This is one of those times. My husband was a big fan of this.
1-1/2 oz. Bols Genever
3/4 oz. Noilly Prat French Dry Vermouth
3/4 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
2 dashes of Miracle Mile Sour Cherry Bitters
2 dashes of Miracle Mile Orange Bitters
1 roasted orange slice for garnish
In a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, add all ingredients and shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with roasted orange slice.
The malty Bols Genever mixed with the warm orange nose hit first. The drink is clean with pronounced citrus flavors, while not being too heavy or sweet. And the bitters provide a subtle sweet and sharp bite in the finish.
And the drink here? That’s also important…
1-1/2 oz. High West Campfire Whiskey
1 oz. Laird’s Straight Bonded AppleJack Brandy
1/4 oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
2 oz. J.K’s Scrumpy Organic Hard Cider
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass 2/3 filled with ice. Stir and strain into a small chilled rock glass with apple ribbon. Garnish with apple and cheese fan.
This drink is wonderfully balanced, bordering on sweet and smoky. Usually the Campfire is the predominant flavor but here blends very well with the sharp kick of the Bonded AppleJack while the Allspice Dram adds that touch of ‘Fall’ with the clover and spice notes in the finish of the drink. The addition of the hard cider melds everything together and making the apple presence much more noticeable. The garnish provides one additional layer of smokiness in smell and flavor, while the apple slices provide visual appeal and lets you know what flavors you’re in for.
Here’s the roundup post of this month’s MxMo!
For this recipe, I made a master batch of simple syrup and then divided it to steep the cloves and cinnamon separately.
Master Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Combine water and sugar in a sauce pan. Swirl to combine and place over high heat until warmed through and transparent. Do not let it come to a boil. Once sugar is dissolved, remove from heat if using immediately for below or keep over a very low flame- you will need the syrup to be warm to infuse.
1/2 cup simple syrup
1/4 oz of cloves (I used a kitchen scale to weigh this out. It’s about 3 tablespoons if I were to eyeball it.)
Combine a half cup of the warm simple syrup with the cloves in a heat-proof container. Let sit for 15 minutes. Strain into a bottle through cheesecloth or a fine sieve. Let the mixture cool and store in the refrigerator.
1 cup simple syrup
5 sticks of cinnamon, 2″ to 2-1/2″ in length
Combine a half cup of the warm simple syrup with the cinnamon sticks in a heat-proof container. Let sit for 15 minutes. Strain into a bottle. Let the mixture cool and store in the refrigerator.
Syrups will keep approximately 1 month in the refrigerator (or at least they do in my house).
Adapted from Beach Bum Berry Remixed
5 Blackberries (reserve one for garnish)*
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 oz Fee Brother’s Falernum
1/2 oz simple syrup (1:1)
1/2 oz Kraken Black Spiced Rum
1 oz Mount Gay Eclipse Rum
3 dashes of Miracle Mile Forbidden Bitters
8 oz ice (about a cup, I use my kitchen scale when it comes to ice)
To make the garnish, take your spent lime shell and cut small triangles around the edge. I attempted this with a paring knife first but found that kitchen shears worked much, much better. Pierce the center of the lime with a stainless or bamboo skewer. Thread a blackberry onto the skewer and then the lime shell. Set aside.
Blend all ingredients and pour into your favorite tiki mug, or a goblet if you have one on hand. Garnish with the blackberry hat.
*A note on blackberries. These guys have lots of SEEDS. First attempt at making this meant spitting out seeds with every sip. To avoid this, mash the blackberries through a fine mesh strainer catching the juice, but leaving the seeds behind. Pour into the blender and follow directions as above.
The drink becomes more of a ruby color than black. It’s not too sweet with a sharp tang from the lime and blackberries. The spice from the Kraken and the bitters is more in the finish than in the forward flavor. Oh, and careful, it goes down quick.
On this gigantic shopping spree I went on in that tiny store, I also acquired a bottle of Carpano Antica. A lightly sweet and bitter Italian sweet vermouth that I see on just about every cocktail menu here in L.A. serving up a Manhattan. To balance out this drink I decided to stick with the Angostura bitters. I also upped the sweet vermouth since I found that the delicate nature of Carpano Antica was going to be competing with that Campfire whiskey. I’m thinking of trying this next time with a more assertive sweet vermouth so there would be less need to add extra.
2 oz. High West Campfire Whiskey
1-1/2 oz. Carpano Antica
3 dashes of Angostura bitters
The taste? A wonderful mouthful of smoke from the peated scotch whisky. The Carpano Antica rounds out the drink with its sweet and bitter notes, heightened with the spicy bitter of the Angostura.
It’s pretty powerful, and as such, not for everyone. The smokiness was too much for my husband at first (he’s not a scotch fan), although he’s coming around after another.
Part of the costume was to be an empty Ralph’s container of milk, however they only had pints of half and half around. Instead of dumping out the milk when we got back, I can’t waste food, we poured it into some containers and I decided to put it to good use making some White Russians, for help getting “into character”.
I had to consult The Joy of Mixology since this isn’t a drink I often consume. Or actually, have ever had. But we needed to be authentic for the costume. It’s only changed slightly in that I built it in the glass and stirred it, and subbed out 1/2 and 1/2 for the cream. I know, there’s dairy in there, it should be shaken. But the Dude doesn’t go for that fancy stuff.
2 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Kahlua
1 oz. 1/2 and 1/2
Build ingredients in a rocks glass. Give it a good stir to combine. Try not to get it all up in your mustache.
What’s it taste like? Sort of like sweet, spiked coffee. It’s rich, and I can’t fathom how one could continually throw these back. But to each his own.
Happy Halloween folks, from me and the Dude.
In the morning, you re-discover this concoction in there and in lieu of a cup (none are clean anyway), you cut off the top and stick a straw in. Or two. Hey, that random person still in the house might like a cold drink as well.
The flavor will all depend on what your base is. Or what mixers you had the night before. In this case, it tasted like Pop Rocks!