Wednesday, May 6, 2009

appetizer a l’italienne

2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Carpano Antica)
1 oz Fernet Branca
1/8 oz Absinthe (Kübler)
1/8 oz Simple Syrup

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.

On Monday night, Andrea and I went to Drink. Scotty made me my first cocktail and when I suggested that I was in the mood for vermouth, one of the cocktails he recommended was the Appetizer a l'Italienne. When I heard the recipe, it seemed intriguing although I feared the Fernet-Branca was going to dominate this drink especially since the Toronto seems like the right amount of Fernet at a quarter ounce. The drink itself was not as Fernet-y as expected; the absinthe and sweet vermouth seemed to reduce its intensity and it made for a surprisingly balanced cocktail. When I gave Andrea a taste of the drink, she immediately picked out some chocolate notes perhaps from the Carpano Antica. She exclaimed, "It's almost chocolate mint... like a Girl Scout cookie!" As a historical side note, I was later able to trace the recipe back to William Schmidt's 1892 book The Flowing Bowl (not on my bookshelf yet, but GoogleBooks has it).


Paul said...

I love this drink! I blogged about it for a Mixology Monday a while back, and absolutely fell for it. You're right, that much Fernet would seem to spell disaster, but the vermouth provides enough give for it to spread out without becoming dominant. I've turned a couple of bartenders out here onto it; glad to see it's making its way around Boston.

andrea said...

Paul - I'm in awe of your writing, and that post was one of your finest. You get the award for best ever one-line description of a cocktail ingredient: "Fernet Branca, while a lovely thing on its own, is a surly prick in the mixing glass."

As for the drink itself, hopefully we'll start getting the Antica here in Mass. soon, and then Fred can experiment with it on his own. We do have the Dolin now, and I'm sorely tempted to try it with this recipe. Cheers!

One Man's Style said...

I had this same drink at Drink on thursday night...though it was fantastic. I tried making it at home with lucid absinthe and vya, unfortunatly it did not taste right. Im not a big fan of the lucid actually think its pretty bad but thats what was on hand so. goona have to pick up some correct ingredients Also the bartender told me that Antica is in mass now, i am sure its still a needle in a haystack though.

Anonymous said...

If you'd like it to be completely Italian, and add some floral notes, you could try replacing the Kübler with an absinthe called L'Italienne (which is ironic if you consider the name of this cocktail).

I've tried to find a link to an official page, but the best I can find is

frederic said...

Apparently the people who import for Marty's bought 10 cases, 4 of which went to Drink. I would check Marty's of Newtonville (or call/email first).

Can't give you recommendations for Absinthes. We own Versinthe and I don't mind Kubler. St George is a beast and can overpower many recipes.