In thinking about this theme, I was curious about marsala wine since I have not seen it in that many recipes, but I was unable to find one tempting enough to go out and buy a bottle for this event. Instead, I thought about one of the lesser used fortified wines, Pineau des Charentes, which has appeared in some delicious recipes. Pineau des Charentes is a French fortified wine made by blending lightly fermented grape must with Cognac eau de vie, and this sweet spirit comes in both white and red/rosé varietals. The earliest Pineau des Charentes recipe I know about is Frank Meier's Pompadour from 1934 The Artistry Of Mixing Drinks. Moreover, I have enjoyed two out on the town here in Boston, namely Craigie on Main's Marksman and Bergamot's Oaxaca Moon.
The Third ManThe Third Man began with a lemon oil and floral aroma with the latter perhaps stemming from the gin made from a honey distillate. On the sip, the Pineau des Charentes donated a mouthfeel and grape flavor, and the swallow then offered gin, gentian, and Peychaud's spice with lingering pine notes. It was definitely a gin-forward drink that would especially appeal to a classic Martini lover looking to branch out; perhaps some of this could stem from the flavorful gin that we had just opened for this drink.
2 oz Blue Gin (Barr Hill)
3/4 oz Pineau des Charentes (Chateau de Beaulon)
1/4 oz Suze Gentian Liqueur (Salers)
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass containing a large ice cube. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Cheers to Jordan from Chemistry of the Cocktail for hosting this month and for picking such an excellent theme!