Friday, July 3, 2009

means of preservation

2 oz Beefeater Gin
1/2 oz St. Germain Liqueur
1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth (I used Noilly Prat)
2 dash Celery Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

While talking to John Gertsen at Drink on Sunday night about my celery bitters, he mentioned an Ephemeral variant that he had crafted. The Ephemeral is drink Paul Clarke wrote about in his 30 drinks in 30 days quest on The Cocktails Chronicles blog, and his entry describes how David Shenaut from the Teardrop Lounge in Portland, Oregon, came up with the drink. While Paul gives credit to Chuck Taggart for posting about it first, I give Paul credit for influencing Gertsen to try the recipe and fiddle with it. The original recipe is as follows:
1 1/2 oz Old Tom Gin
1 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
2 barspoon St. Germain Liqueur
3 dash Celery Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Gertsen's variation, the Means of Preservation, switched the gin to a less sweet and more junipery one of Beefeater. While he did up the liqueur proportion, he decreased the amount and sweetness of the vermouth to generate what on paper seems a bit drier of a drink. He found the grapefruit peel essential to both recipes, for he noted that that it worked rather well with the celery bitters to bring out a great earthy flavor in each drink. To get a full appreciation of the change, I made both:
The Ephemeral is at the right in the straight stemmed glass and the Means of Preservation is at the left in the balled stemmed glass; the increase in St. Germain as well as my change to the more straw-colored Noilly Prat dry (I currently only have 2 of the 3 Dolins at home) gave the Means of Preservation the darker hue. The Ephemeral was indeed a tasty drink. With a lot of grapefruit on the nose, the first sip gave a very smooth and sweet impression. Of note was how well the celery played with the St. Germain elderflower liqueur. The Means of Preservation was very similar, but sharper and drier. The nose was not just the grapefruit but included some additional aromatics from the Noilly Prat and perhaps the Beefeater gin. The celery flavors from the bitters stood out more in this drink, while the St. Germain, despite being greater in proportion, surprisingly stood out less. In the Ephemeral, there was some sort of synergy that amplified the St. Germain which did not occur in the variant. Andrea's comment was that the Means to Preservation might be a good change for a dry Martini lover while the Ephemeral, which was a tad too sweet for her, was "more like a lady's Martini" in comparison. Then again, both of our palates seem to be a lot drier than most.


feoh said...

I just had one of these at _Drink_ in the Fort Point Channel district of Boston, and it was fabulous! I don't think they used beef eater though - is that gin in the sweet side? The drink had an amazing subtle character with lots of depth and the perfect amount of sweetness.

Interestingly, your blog has the only mention of this drink I could find on the internet, at least with a casual search.

frederic said...

It was created at Drink and bar manager John Gertsen gave me the recipe for me to make at Tales of the Cocktail in 2009 with my Celery Bitters.

Beefeater is not sweet. It is a 94 proof London Dry Gin -- the extra proof acts to dry it out even further than 80 proof gins. The Old Tom in the Ephemeral is a sweetened one. I believe Gertsen created the drink with Beefeater; no clue what the particular bartender who made it for you used.