Tuesday, January 6, 2009

[whiskey vesper]

1 1/2 oz Junipero Gin
1 oz Old Fitzgerald Bonded Whiskey
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

On Sunday, Andrea and I went to the ICA museum to catch the Tara Donovan exhibit. Afterwards, it was too early for dinner but Drink down the street from the ICA had just opened for the evening. While I have closed many a bar in my time, I have never opened a place before. We sat down at the main bar where Sam Treadway was prepping for the night.

For one of the drinks, I requested a gin and dark spirits-based cocktail. The concept was in my head from the delicious Automobile Cocktail (Scotch & gin) I made at home the night before (see recipe below). I have had similar drinks at home mixing gin with rum, Cognac, Calvados, or whiskey, and out such as a rum drink Scott made me at Rendezvous. There is something about adding the juniper berry and other botanical flavors to another base spirit that is quite intriguing to me.
• 1/3 Scotch Whisky
• 1/3 Dry Gin
• 1/3 Sweet Vermouth
• 1 dash Orange Bitters
Stir well with ice and strain into glass.
(from Patrick Duffy's The Official Mixer's Manual)
Sam looked at me like I had thrown him a devious curve ball, but he took a moment to think and then looked rather inspired. The drink that he made me was based on the Vesper Martini with the vodka swapped out in favor of Old Fitz whiskey. The whiskey added a good deal of malt and other flavors that took the gin in a different direction than standard malty gins such as Oude Genevers go. While Andrea thought the Lillet had a definite signature, I would have liked it more pronounced perhaps in an equal parts recipe of the three components. Or perhaps an orange twist or orange bitters to coax out and magnify the citrus flavors in the Lillet. Still not a bad first pass at this cocktail.

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