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Bittersweet Gin Fizz

Here’s another cocktail by Todd Thrasher of Restaurant Eve and The Majestic Café in Alexandria, Virginia, showing creative uses of vermouth.

Bittersweet Gin Fizz

2 ounces Bombay gin (regular, not Sapphire).
1/4 ounce sweet vermouth.
Dash of cherry bitters.
Carbonated sweet vermouth.

Pour over ice. Top the glass with the carbonated sweet vermouth (it will look like thte foamy head on a root beer). Garnish with microplane-grated orange peel.

Todd makes his own homemade sweet vermouth; use Carpano Antica for the drink, and perhaps Martini & Rossi or Cinzano for the carbonated version.

For the carbonated sweet vermouth: From 750ml sweet vermouth put 1/2 cup of it in a saucepan and heat. Remove mixture from heat and add two sheets of bloomed gelatin (1/2 of one envelope if using powdered). Whisk to dissolve the gelatin into the vermouth. Combine the vermouth-gelatin mixture with the remainder of the 750ml bottle of sweet vermouth. Let it cool and rest for a day. For service, pour the vermouth mixture into an old-fashioned soda siphon.

Wow. That sounds fantastic, but might be a bit much for home use rather than regular restaurant service. That’d be something great to serve at a cocktail party, though. Cherry bitters might be a bit of a stretch — there isn’t a good commercial product on the market at the moment. Fee’s makes a Cherry Bitters, but it tastes too Robitussin-y to me. For the moment you’re out of luck, unless you make or yown or if Jamie Boudreau lets you buy a bottle of his housemade cherry bitters at Vessel in Seattle. (He should be going commercial with those soon, though.)

 

Creole Cocktail

I don’t know much history on this one, or if it has an association with New Orleans, but it seems to fit in, at least. You can see ingredients in common with the Vieux Carré.

We loved the spiciness and herbal notes of this one, so we made sure to use a spicy rye and a top-shelf vermouth. We also used the Torani Amer.

The Creole Cocktail

1-1/2 ounces rye whiskey.
1-1/2 ounces sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica Formula or Punt E Mes, please).
1 barspoon Bénédictine D.O.M. liqueur.
1 barspoon Amer Picon (substitute Torani Amer or Boudreau’s Amer Replica).

Combine with ice in a shaker; stir for 30 seconds and strain. Lemon twist garnish.

This one’s made it into the regular rotation.

At Cure in New Orleans, they do a variation of this featuring Luxardo’s Amaro Abano instead of the Picon or Torani Amer (impossible and almost impossible to obtain in New Orleans, respectively). It works beautifully, and so would Amaro Ramazzotti if you have it on hand.

The Creole Cocktail
(Adapted by Cure, 4905 Freret St. at Upperline, New Orleans)

1-1/2 ounces Sazerac Rye, 6 year.
1 ounce sweet vermouth. (Cure uses Cinzano Rosso)
1/4 ounce Bénédictine D.O.M. liqueur.
1/4 ounce Luxardo Amaro Abano.

Stir with cracked ice until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

There are different versions of this cocktail, some so different that I wonder why the other one didn’t just get its own name. Here’s one of the other ones we enjoyed:

We enjoyed this particular variation, though.

The Creole Variation
or, Creole Cocktail No. 2

1-1/2 ounces Bourbon whiskey.
1/4 ounce orange Curaçao.
1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters.
1 dash Angostura Bitters.
Pastis or absinthe.

Coat the inside of a cocktail glass with the pastis or absinthe. Combine the remaining ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, and stir for 30-40 seconds. Strain into the coated glass. No garnish specified.

We opted for the absinthe for a little more complexity, and Jade Liqueurs’ Nouvelle-Orléans, natch. Thing is, I thought this recipe, although perfect for the classic 2-ounce cocktails of the Golden Age, was a little too small for our needs last night. I tripled the recipe (4-1/2 Bourbon, 3/4 Curaçao and 3 dashes each bitters) and split that into 2 glasses, which gave us each a slightly more than a 3 ounce cocktail and was perfect.

It’s amazing how much flavor you can get from a mere rinse, especially with a complex, funky absinthe like Nouvelle-Orléans. It’s also quite a strong drink — not a lot of amelioration of the Bourbon by vermouth or juices or liqueurs, and you’re at a 6:1 ratio of base spirit to liqueur. A good long stir helps smooth that out, and the flavor modifiers gave it a nice complexity. This is a first cousin to a Sazerac, and if you were to switch the base spirit to rye it might even be a sibling. That’s Creole enough for me.

Cocktail of the Day: Fibber McGee

Courtesy of the random recipe function on CocktailDB.com.

Fibber McGee

1-1/2 ounces gin.
1/2 ounce grapefruit juice.
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth.
2 dashes Angostura bitters.

Shake well with ice, strain, serve, enjoy.

Interesting, and tasty. It’s the first time I recall having grapefruit and sweet vermouth together.

 

Fioupe Cocktail

This one was nicely medicinal when I got home last night. I was feeling crappy all day and came home exhausted (even though it was a very light work day). It was very tasty, but sadly didn’t cure what ailed me; I’m home sick today (blecchh). Maybe try this one just for pleasure.

I don’t know anything about this drink’s origins — it was another gift from CocktailDB’s Random Recipe link. It kept coughing up pousse-cafés, but Wes only needed to click it about 15 times to come up with this one. The original recipe only called for one ounce of Cognac, but I think it’s even better with two.

Fioupe Cocktail

2 ounces Cognac.
1 ounce sweet vermouth.
1/2 ounce Bénédictine.

Stir with ice for no less than 30 seconds and
strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a
lemon twist and a stemless cherry.

There’s a little spelling variation; it was also listed as the “Froupe,” but I think this is the correct spelling. We particularly liked the double garnish, and noted that this drink warms up nicely as you sip.

 

“I prefer the term ‘artificial person,’ myself.”

Wes found this cocktail after about fifty clicks of the Random Recipe button at CocktailDB (“It was one friggin’ pousse-café after another!”) until it finally spat out one he liked. I liked it too.

He tried to have me guess the name. His hint? “I prefer the term ‘artificial person,’ myself.”

We bumped up the Bourbon a teeny bit; the original recipe called for 1 ounce.

The Bishop Cocktail

1-1/2 ounces Bourbon.
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth.
1 ounce orange juice.
Splash of Yellow Chartreuse.

Shake with ice for at least 10 seconds and strain into a cocktail glass.

Or you could try this hint: “‘Ow do you know what cocktail ‘e drinks?” “Tattooed on the back o’ his neck!” Oh, it’s the Bishop of Leicester …

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