Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cocktail Wednesdays: The Grand Marntini

Grand Marintini

Tonight's cocktail was a bit of an experiment. Scott proclaimed it the Grand Marntini, though I am not sure that's the name I would choose.

When we made the Dry Martini using the older recipe that called for more vermouth and orange bitters, I liked it much better than your standard olive juice martini.  On the other hand, orange bitters is not a standard ingredient in most bars.  When I was out for a friend's birthday and wanted to order a martini, there was no chance I could get that version. Later when I mentioned it to Scott, he suggested that I could have ordered it with orange liqueur as the orange component, because Grand Marnier, Cointreau, and triple sec are all commonly found bar ingredients in less well-stocked bars. So tonight we tried it with the last of a bottle of Grand Marnier.

The Grand Marntini

Splash Orange Liqueur
2 oz Gin
1 oz Dry Vermouth

Chill a cocktail  glass and coat it with orange liqueur. Stir gin and vermouth over ice and strain into the glass.

The verdict: A passable option, preferable to the olive version, in our opinions. The citrus is muted. As always, be sure to use a quality vermouth that hasn't been open for long.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Coctail Wednesdays: Aviation Cocktail

Aviation Cocktail

I have been hearing about the Aviation cocktail for a while. The folks at 12 Bottle Bar talk about celebrated bar tenders Gary Regan and Erik Ellestad making the Aviation, about Harry Craddock erroneously leaving the Creme de Violette out in his famous Savoy Cocktail Book. David Wondrich’s talks about it in Imbibe! Aviation Gin even uses lavender in its botanical mix. There's even a movie named after it. Invented by Hugo Ensslin, head bartender at the Hotel Wallick in New York, and first published in his 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks, the Aviation is a type of gin sour.  For reasons of Scott's susceptibility to heartburn with lemon juice, I picked one of the ratios with lower levels of it.

Aviation Cocktail

2 oz Gin (London Dry)
1/2 oz Lemon juice
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur
2 tsp Crème de Violette

Shake over ice, strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with a maraschino cherry.

The verdict: We both liked it. I thought it was a nice balance, with lovely floral notes complimenting the sour, and that the botanicals and maraschino blended well. Scott thought it was "a wonderful fruity-ish, but not too fruity drink", and would count among the top of that category for him.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cocktail...: Holland House

Holland House\

We're back with a new spirit added to the bar and a cocktail with a history that goes back to the turn of the century, the Holland House. We picked up a bottle of genever while we were out of town, since it is not sold in Michigan, and we ended up selecting this cocktail as the first concoction to try it in.

Genever is essentially the precursor to gin, originating in the Netherlands. Unlike gin, which is made purely from neutral spirit and botanicals including juniper, genever also contains a tripple-grain-based maltwine, which changes the flavor profile and feel of the spirit. In Jerry Thomas' famous cocktail book of 1862, genever appears as one of only four base spirits used, and many cocktails were originally made with genever.

Holland House

1 3⁄4 oz Genever
3⁄4 oz Dry vermouth
1⁄4 oz Lemon juice
1⁄4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
Lemon twist as garnish

Shake over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

The verdict: I heard a number of positive reactions to this drink, and I liked it myself. People noted the similarities to The Last Word, but with floral notes in lieu of herbal notes.