Wednesday, March 3, 2010


1/3 Sherry (1 oz Lustau Los Arcos Dry Amontillado)
1/3 Dry Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat)
1/3 Benedictine (1 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. No garnish was specified so we tried one with a lemon and one with an orange twist.
On Friday night, Andrea was in the mood for a port drink, so I opened up The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book and began a search. Instead of a port cocktail, I uncovered the Stephen's, a sherry one, and it got the thumbs up. In my mind, the recipe cried out for a citrus twist; however, when looking at ingredients, I could not discern whether an orange or a lemon would work better so I did one of each. The lemon peel highlighted the sherry's and dry vermouth's sharper notes while the orange twist made the drink taste sweeter and seemed to highlight the grapeness of the sherry and vermouth more. The experiment was a good demonstration of how dramatically the presence and identity of a citrus twist garnish can effect one's experience of a drink. To round out the Stephen's, the Benedictine donated most of the sweetness in the drink and many of its botanical were noticeable in the middle of the sip, whereas the vermouth notes appeared at the end in the swallow. The drink worked as an aperitif but could perhaps function as a lighter digestif as well. In searching on the web for more about the Stephen's, I discovered that the Boston Apothecary blog rather enjoyed this drink and the entry went on to praise the entire class of fortified and aromatized wine cocktails as a forgotten gem.

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