Friday, June 12, 2015


1 1/2 oz Blandy's 5 Year Sercial Madeira
1 1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Twist a lemon peel over the top and discard.

When we put a "Low Octane" section on the Loyal Nine cocktail menu, I was asked for the recipe to a preprandial drink that got raved about from the few guests that I served it to. That cocktail was a riff on the classic Bamboo that utilized dry madeira instead of dry sherry. While most Bamboos are fino-based, I prefer mine with an amontillado or oloroso sherry, so swapping to a dry madeira like Sercial seemed like a decent substitution to my palate. For a name, we started riffing on bamboo-like names. I did suggest Cattail, but that name had already been taken. Since the menu needed to be printed for the evening, I opted for the best suggestion of the moment -- the "Not a Weed." Punting on the name did not pay off, and changing the name to another reed-like plant, namely the Zebratail, increased this aperitif's sales. Zebratail also made a little of sense since the island of Madeira is right off the coast of Africa.
Once prepared and served here in one of my favorite glasses here at work, it presented a lemon oil aroma over the madeira's grape notes. A dry, acid crisp sip was not thin like the classic Bamboo but contained a decent bit of mouthfeel. Finally, the swallow presented a creamy grape flavor with a spice-driven finish. Overall, the Zebratail was still solidly in the aperitif camp but with a more complex flavor profile due to the madeira substitution.

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