Wednesday, March 11, 2009


1 3/4 oz. cynar
3/4 oz. gin
1 oz. sweet vermouth

Build in a rocks glass, add ice, stir, garnish with a lemon twist.

Last Sunday (3/8/09), I finally managed to drag Fred to Chez Henri. Beyond that, I had one primary mission on this most recent trip: to try a cuban sandwich. Fred and I walked into a mostly empty bar, and found seats at the far end nearest the kitchen. When I mentioned that I had only ever been to Chez Henri once, and that I'd never had the cuban sandwich, Rob (Other Rob) astounded me by remembering my name. I barely even needed to look at the menu - once I spotted the Rhum Cocktail Marilene, my mind was made up. I asked Rob (Other Rob), what the cocktail's origin was, and I got a bit of a cagey answer. They used to serve this cocktail at the B-Side, but it was called something else, so I'm still in the dark about who actually named the cocktail. I couldn't taste any Angostura in Rob (Other Rob)'s version, which shouldn't surprise me since he'd said the cocktail was a Haitian rhum version of a caipirinha.

While I ate my cuban sandwich, I glanced at the Duke-Maryland women's ACC basketball game on the television (it was an excellent game, and Maryland won in OT). Below the television sat an almost empty bottle of Cynar; it mocked me. So for my second cocktail, I told Rob (Other Rob) to empty it into my glass. He measured out 1 oz. of the Cynar, shook the bottle a little, and I had to encourage him to dump the remaining 3/4 oz. in (though he shook his head dubiously at that). He kept the sweet vermouth to 1 oz., as per Imbibe's Cin-Cyn recipe, but backed the gin off to 3/4 oz. He shook his head again and said he didn't think there would be any point in adding bitters. The lemon garnish was his attempt to add back in a little bit of the astringency that the normal proportion of gin would have provided. The resulting drink reminded me strongly of a straight swig of Autocrat coffee syrup (or at least my childhood memory of such). The artichoke flavor came in on the swallow. Overall I liked it very much. I don't know if Rob (Other Rob) was pleased with it, but I'm glad he was game for my little Cynar experiment.

p.s. Fred made me aware of the fact that numerous Chowhounds cruise our blog for ideas of what drinks to order at a bar (Drink here in Boston, in particular). That's great! However, our naming conventions for cocktails might not be so obvious, so I'll re-state them here. If a cocktail name is enclosed in brackets [], that means it is an extempore creation, and hence un-named by the drink's creator. I wish we had some way of similarly marking a bartender's specific creation in the title (meaning, expect to only get that particular drink at that particular bar), however we have gotten better at describing a drink's provenance in our write-ups. Hope you enjoy reading!

post post script 3/17/09: On my most recent trip to Rendezvous, Scott informed me (in no uncertain terms, in fact I think he said this shortly after saying "Hello") that the Rhum Cocktail Marilene is *his* invention, though I'm uncertain if it dates from his days at Chez Henri or not. Alas, the cocktail that Rob (Other Rob) made me was not a Rhum Cocktail Marilene, since it did not have any Angostura bitters in it; it was just a haitian rhum caipirinha.

No comments: