Baton RougeTo the base recipe, I increased the dry vermouth aspect to make it the 2:1 Martini base that I prefer. Meanwhile, I kept the 2 dashes of Fernet Branca close to the amount most people add to a Hanky Panky. While not a big garnisher with olives at home (I prefer my Martinis with lemon twists), I did have some vintage samples from Tales of the Cocktail 2010 when we had access to the media sample room. Here, I opted for the Olive-It brand hot pepper-stuffed over the blue cheese-stuffed ones that reside in our fridge. Once mixed, the Baton Rouge shared Fernet Branca's menthol notes that were accented by the gin's juniper on the nose. A light wine sip had wisps of caramel and led into a gin swallow with Fernet's herbal notes in the mix. Later, the hot pepper garnish contributed a small degree of spiced heat to the finish. I have to believe that the brine from the olive garnish helped to soften the Fernet Branca's bitterness a touch especially since there was very little sweetness in the vermouth (unlike in the Hanky Panky's Italian vermouth).
• 2/3 Plymouth Gin (2 oz Beefeater)
• 2 dash French Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
• 2 dash Fernet Branca (1 barspoon)
• 1 dash Angostura Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an olive (Olive-It brand Hot Turkish Pepper-stuffed Olive).
So thank you to Dagreb for picking the theme to challenge us to look at the classic Martini and figure out ways to call it our own, and thanks to the rest of the Mixology Monday participants for keeping the barspoons stirring and the spirit of the event alive!