Wednesday, December 19, 2018

year of the dragon

3/4 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Benedictine
1 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quina (Byrrh would also work well here)
1/4 oz Crème de Menthe (Tempus Fugit)
1/4 oz Crème de Cacao (Tempus Fugit)

Stir with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with a lemon twist.

Two Wednesdays ago, I was flipping through the Death & Co. Cocktail Book when I spotted the Midnight Mountain. I soon remembered that I had made the drink back in June, but I was so taken by the combination that I was inspired to riff on it. The Midnight Mountain has a base of Amaro Nardini which to me displays great chocolate and mint notes in the mix. To replace it, I split that volume between Benedictine which also displays those two flavors and Cynar which has some dark and minty notes as well. Moreover, instead of a sweet vermouth, I swapped in Bonal Quinquina for quinine and chocolate are a natural pairing that was strong enough to have saved Barolo Chinato wine from extinction. Since Midnight Mountain is a land in the Year of the Dragon video game, I dubbed this variation on the game itself.
With four liqueurs and one fortified wine, the Year of the Dragon appears like an oddity on paper, but it made for a solid nightcap. In the glass, it offered up lemon and mint aromas to the nose that preceded a caramel and grape sip. Next, Cynar's funky vegetal flavors led into mint and chocolate notes on the swallow with a quinine-accented finish.

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