Wednesday, March 28, 2012

calla lily

1 1/2 oz Perucchi Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
2 dash Herbsaint

Shake with ice and double strain into a wine glass.

On Monday night last week, Andrea and I stopped into Bergamot after dinner. For a drink, I selected the Calla Lily which was bartender Paul Manzelli's ode to spring. His goal was to create a vermouth-based cocktail to round out the menu, and he used the Chrysanthemum as a starting point. To the classic, he added a bounty of citrus notes from the Lillet and lemon juice.
The Calla Lily greeted my nose with an anise-laden Herbsaint aroma and an intriguing honey-like note perhaps from the Benedictine. The sip presented a lemon and citrus wine flavor that led into a swallow that showcased the Spanish dry vermouth and herbal Benedictine. While the drink ended with a light anise note on the end, relatively the Herbsaint seemed to participate more in the aromatic than the flavor aspect of the drink. Overall, the Calla Lily conjured up a light, aperitif-style Corpse Reviver #2 sort of feel.


Rhett said...

This looked so delicious, I saw the tweet walking home, walked in the door and made one. I am currently typing this while sipping it and am happy that it tastes as good as it sounds - even though I had to use a sub-par vermouth because it's all I have right now. Cheers!

frederic said...

Cheers! I list the ingredients more to give a sense of what bars are using. Swapping dry vermouth brands or Lillet for Cocchi Americano won't change the basic feel too much.

Rhett said...

I kind of despise Martini & Rossi, which is what I was forced to use (at least it's the Bianco - the least offensive of the bunch), and really think that Dolin or Noilly Prat make a big difference in vermouth heavy cocktails (like the Chrysanthemum you mention). I imagine as well that Cocchi would give a little drier drink, despite only using a 1/2oz, but that sounds like a good idea because this is almost too sweet for my taste. Either way, if I can enjoy a drink this much even when using M&R as the base, it's got to be a good one. Now, if we could only get Cocchi in Canada without smuggling it from the states... said...

Nice drink. Tried it with Dolin dry vermouth and dashed of absinthe and was very, very good. Need some Herbsaint- seems to come in handy...

frederic said...

Rhett: I am not as familiar with M&R dry, but their sweet has not given me any cause for alarm when bars use it -- especially the one that opens new 375's of it fresh every day. Dolin dry was too mellow for me, so I generally opt for Noilly Prat especially after they switched formulations to the more flavorful version.

PF: Herbsaint isn't as necessary when you have absinthe, although it cannot hurt if you are ready to expand your absinthe and pastis shelf. We were given Herbsaint from a friend who received a bottle but dislikes anise, so it joined our pastis collection (this was the pre-Absinthe years).

Rhett said...

Noilly Prat is typically what I'm using for dry vermouth in general at home. I doubt we here in Canada are getting the 'new version,' I'll have to look into that. M&R Rossi is their "flagship," but I still can't get behind it. I find Cinzano does a fine job for most things, with Carpano Antica obviously being an ideal choice for certain cocktails, and Vya (which we can't get in Canada) being amazing for most others. I think Dolin is just wonderful, but it could in fact be a slight bias because, once again, we can't get it in Canada, so it's a treat.
For another delicious vermouth-heavy (but not using it as a base) cocktail, check out The Swan from Hideout in Seattle:

frederic said...

The "new version" is actually the old version that they were selling in Europe. They stopped producing the U.S. one 2 years ago, and took a chance that the U.S. market would go for the more flavorful European one (probably meant for drinking as an aperitif on its own rather than ending up in a Martini). With all of the extra flavors, it made NP my favorite dry vermouth over Dolin and others.

For sweet vermouth, I like ones that use red wine like (Carpano, Vya, or the Cocchi one) over ones that use white wine and color it with herbs and caramel. Carpano and Vya are pricier than the Cocchi one (we did use Vya for a while after getting a lot of half bottle samples at Tales of the Cocktail in 2010). Barolo Chinato (not technically a vermouth anymore since it has quinine) is an exaggerated form of red wine fullness of flavor -- perhaps too dominating but it has made the most magnificent Manhattans ever.