Monday, October 5, 2009

alfa sour

1 1/2 oz Macchu Pisco
3/4 oz Grappa
3/4 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Egg White
4 drop Fernet Branca

Shake all but the Fernet Branca with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Apply Fernet Branca drop-wise on top of drink.

Last night I went to Trina's Starlite Lounge in Somerville where the old Abbey Lounge used to be. To pay their respects to the previous establishment, the bar has the Abbey Cocktail -- the first recipe in the Savoy Cocktail Book -- on the menu. Sunday night seemed like a great chance to experience the bar without too much of a crowd, and several local bartenders and industry folk seemed to have the same idea last night. Before placing my order, I got to try the Z's Negroni that Lauren of DrinkBoston had ordered. This Negroni variant used the softer Aperol liqueur instead of Campari and bolstered the sharpness with a pink grapefruit peel-infused gin. Also of note is that Carpano Antica is their house vermouth which was in the Z's Negroni as well as the Alfa Sour I ordered from bartender Emma Hollander.

The Alfa Sour is a variant of a Pisco Sour with a few additions and substitutions. For one, the base spirit of Pisco was supplemented with another grape brandy, Grappa. I surmised that this blend was akin to the mixing of rums common in many Tiki drinks and other cocktails. The sweet vermouth in the Alfa Sour took the place of the sugar in the Pisco Sour as the sweetener; in addition, it donated an attractive hue to the drink. The float of Fernet Branca contributed greatly to the nose. Moreover, the Fernet Branca flavor complemented the pisco's smokiness and the lemon juice quite well. Over time, the lemon and pisco began to dominate the profile perhaps as the floated Fernet Branca was diminished with successive sips. And towards the end, the sweet vermouth really began to shine out in the drink. Overall, the Alfa Sour shared a lot with a traditional Pisco Sour but garnered a greater amount of complexity from the Fernet Branca, grappa, and sweet vermouth.

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