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Monday Classics: The Honeymoon Cocktail

Monday Classics: The Honeymoon Cocktail

Last Monday, I talked about the Marlene Dietrich cocktail that was served at the Hollywood Hotel back in the 1930s. Since last night was the Academy Awards, I thought it only fitting to do one more drink that was on the menu during Hollywoods’s golden era: the Honeymoon Cocktail. Not far from the Hollywood Hotel was the Brown Derby restaurant, located on Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. Built in 1929, the Brown Derby was situated right in the middle of all the Hollywood

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The Sanguine Impostor featuring Fabrizia Blood Orange Liqueur

The Sanguine Impostor featuring Fabrizia Blood Orange Liqueur

When the folks at Fabrizia Spirits reached out to me to try their products and come up with some recipes, I was very excited! I received 2 limoncellos, one cream-based and one regular, and a blood orange liqueur that I decided to focus on first. As soon as I opened the bottle I could smell the delicate, yet distinctive, blood orange aroma that carried right through to the spirit’s flavor without being overly sweet at all. It would work beautifully on its own served chilled, in a spritzer with prosecco and club soda, or as a replacement for Cointreau in a Cosmopolitan. My first inclination when creating today’s cocktail was to go with a lighter base spirit like gin or vodka, but I quickly changed my mind when I considered how much I love the combination of blood oranges and darker spirits. I didn’t want to go too dark, however, because the Fabrizia has such a subtle flavor that could easily be overpowered. As an alternative I decided on Laird’s Applejack, which provides all the warm flavors of a bourbon without quite as much of a bite, along with a very distinct apple flavor. Since the Fabrizia is on the sweeter side, I knew I needed to add a bitter component to the drink and an Amaro seemed like the perfect direction to go in. I chose the Amaro Nonino because it has such strong bittersweet orange flavors, along with some floral notes that were a perfect match for the Fabrizia. To echo these floral notes and introduce an herbal element, I reached for Dolin Genepy, whose flavor profile falls right in between the sweet warmth of yellow Chartreuse, and the sharper botanicals of green Chartreuse. Finally, I seem to always need to add in some bitters when I have a number of very different ingredients going into a cocktail. It’s the last touch for me that brings everything together, and I’ve discovered that DRAM Apothecary bitters work better for me than any other, as you all well know by now! After trying several of them, I landed on their Palo Santo flavor for this drink. It had just enough spice to complement the Nonino and the Genepy, along with vanilla and woodsmoke to highlight the Applejack. I called this cocktail The Sanguine Impostor because it could pose as just about any other drink in terms of its looks, but is unmistakably blood orange the minute you taste it!

The Sanguine Impostor

1½ oz Laird’s Applejack
1 oz Amaro Nonino
1 oz Fabrizia Blood Orange liqueur
½ oz Dolin Genepy des Alpes
2 dashes DRAM Apothecary Palo Santo bitters (or your favorite aromatic bitters)

Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass. Fill ⅔ full with ice and stir 30 seconds or until well chilled. Strain into an old-fashioned glass over 1 large cube. Garnish with a blood orange twist. Enjoy!

Fabrizia Spirits are available online and from a number of local retailers. There is a “Where to Buy” tab on their website that will provide you with more details.

Dolin Dry Vermouth’s Siblings: Dolin Blanc and Dolin Rouge

Dolin Dry Vermouth’s Siblings: Dolin Blanc and Dolin Rouge

If you think Dolin Dry Vermouth suffers from a bit of an identity crisis, its siblings, Dolin Blanc and Dolin Rouge, have been in therapy for years. Neither one is the type of Vermouth that you’d use in a Martini, so many people (and I was one of them) are unsure as to what their purpose really is. They are both produced in the Chambery region of France (as is Dolin Dry) from secret recipes that begin with a base of 75%-85% wine to which various herbs and other aromatics local to this same area are added. Once I had the opportunity to taste Dolin Blanc, I fell in love with its delicate taste that effortlessly marries herbs and flowers with just the right amount of honey-flavored sweetness. It’s very reminiscent of a dessert wine and on its own it’s actually a perfect accompaniment to a cheese plate. I’ve combined it with various ingredients in several cocktails that I’ve talked about here on the blog: The Winter Sunset with Bluecoat gin, Aperol, and Pamplemousse Rosé, The Winter Solstice with Rujero Singani and Suze, and the classic Old Pal cocktail with Redemption rye and Campari. That’s considerable versatility!

Dolin Rouge was also a taste revolution for me since I was used to heavier Vermouths like Carpano Antica and Punt è Mes (which we’ll talk about tomorrow). Its profile is much lighter in body, but yet it still has deep, rich flavors of dried fruits and honey with just a trace of bitterness, making it almost brandy-like in its taste. It can be glorious in a Negroni, but I think it gets lost in a traditional Manhatten because it doesn’t have quite the heft it needs to stand up to the rye. However, many other bartenders and bloggers believe that its lighter weight lets the brown spirits shine through and take center stage, so it’s really a matter of personal preference. There’s no right or wrong; don’t be afraid to let your taste buds be your guide. Hauz Alpenz, the importer of all the Dolin products, recommends the Rouge alongside a charcuterie board with black olives, which is definitely something that I’ll be trying very soon! Death & Co. in NYC combines the Dolin Rouge and the much heavier, almost amaro-like Punt è Mes to make their own house vermouth, in much the same way as they combine brands of bitters. This is another option I’ll certainly be investigating since not everyone that I make Manhattens for has quite the same love of the heavier Vermouths as I do.

The cocktail that I chose to make for you today is called Persephone from the PDT Cocktail Book.  It was created by David Slape, the first bartender hired at PDT (Please Don’t Tell), a speakeasy in NYC owned by Jim Meehan. I was attracted to this cocktail for several reasons. First of all, I liked the fact that it has Laird’s Applejack, a brown liquor that is lighter than bourbon or rye, as its base spirit. This made sense to me in terms of weight. Secondly, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have an adult experience that involved Sloe Gin! The last time I had a cocktail (and I’m using that term very loosely here) with Sloe Gin in it was many, many moons ago. The results were memorable (sort of), but disasterous (for sure)! And finally, who could possibly pass up a drink named after the goddess of the underworld and the daugther of Zeus and Demeter. Not me! The combination of the apple from the Applejack and the bright fruit from the Plymouth Sloe Gin worked so well with the deeper, dried fruit and spice notes of the Dolin Rouge, that I think it’s the perfect cocktail to really showcase this particular Vermouth’s amazing flavor. I hope you agree!

Persephone from David Slape via the PDT Cocktail Book

1 oz Laird’s Applejack
¾ oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth
½ oz Plymouth Sloe Gin
½ oz lemon juice
½ oz simple syrup*
Lemon stip for garnishing

Combine all the ingredients except the garnish over ice and stir with a long-handled bar spoon for 30-45 seconds until very cold. Strain using a Julep strainer into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a fan of apple slices. Enjoy!

*Add 1 part sugar to 1 part boiling water. Heat gently until it looks clear. Cool before using. Simple syrup will stay in a Mason jar in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.

Friday Musings: Closing out Summer 2016

Friday Musings: Closing out Summer 2016

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Next week it will officially be fall and the summer of 2016 will finally come to an end. I have to admit that I’m more than ready. Mine started off on such a high note with a fabulous trip to Paris and then it went in a somewhat unexpected and sad direction. Though I’m tempted to close it out without any ceremony, I still see the need to raise a glass and respectfully say goodbye. After all, it may be cliché but it is certainly still true that we often gain the most from people and situations that deeply disappoint us. Since Friday is my day to give you my take on things, I decided to come up with a cocktail that reflects the transition between the two seasons, and the way in which that change isn’t always easy. Summer wants to hold on, but ultimately fall wins out. It goes that way in our personal lives too. If I sound extra dreamy to you today, blame it on the full moon lunar eclipse that’s happening in Pisces. How’s that for some astrology! It’s supposed to bring closure to whatever has been troubling us, and usher in a whole new cycle of peaceful energy. I say amen to that and I wish it for all of you too.

Now about that cocktail! I put a little fall twist on a Cucumber Collins which I tend to think of mainly as a classic summer drink. I started with Tanqueray gin, lemon juice, cucumbers, and basil – those are my summer ingredients. Then I added Suze (a somewhat bitter, slightly spicy liqueur), Velvet Falernum (smells just like the spice drops we ate as kids), Laird’s Applejack (nothing says fall like apples), and a ripe fig. The aroma of the cucumber and basil hit you first, but then the deeper, spicier flavors take over. Summer into fall. It totally worked for me; I hope it does for you too! If you’re local, both the Suze and the Laird’s are available at Benash Liquors on Rte. 38 in Cherry Hill, one of my go to places for unusual things. They even have a website where you can place an order for something not in the store and avoid shipping costs. You can check for the Velvet Falernum there too, although it seems to only be available by the case. If not, you can grab it at Total Wine and More or Canal’s, both right down the road from Benash. Now for a name, always the trickiest part for me. I felt like it could only be one thing:

Lunar Eclipse in Pisces

1 1/2 oz Tanqueray gin*
1/2 oz Laird’s Applejack
1/4 oz Suze
1/4 oz Velvet Falernum
1 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
4 thin cucumber slices
1 basil leaf
1 ripe fig
2 oz club soda**

Gently muddle 3 of the cucumber slices, the basil leaf, and 1/2 of the fig with the simple syrup in the bottom of a shaker tin. Add the remaining ingredients except for the club soda and fill the tin 3/4 full with ice. Shake for about 15 seconds. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice and top with the club soda. Garnish with the remaining cucumber slice and a fig slice. Enjoy!

*I normally use a more botanical gin like Hendrick’s when I make a standard Cucumber Collins, but in this case I wanted less herbal and floral elements.

**I like to use high quality mixers like Fever Tree or Q.

Retro Collins glass from Dig This in Collingswood.

I’ll see you all on Monday when we’ll be talking about drinks that are shaken. Have a great weekend!

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