Thursday, February 11, 2010


3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Dolin)
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
3/4 oz Fernet Branca
1 dash Cynar

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist a lemon peel over the top.
On Monday night, Andrea and I went to Allston to get food at Deep Ellum. After dinner, I asked Max Toste if he had an idea for a digestif and he suggested the Bonsoni from the Rogue Cocktail Book. The book credits Patrick Duffy's The Official Mixer's Manual as their source. Both of these recipes use a 2 oz sweet vermouth to 1 oz Fernet Branca recipe; however, the Rogue recommends splitting the vermouth part into half sweet vermouth and half Punt e Mes as well as including an orange twist. Max upped the ante on the Rogue's version by adding a dash of Cynar. In the Bonsoni, the aromatized wines tempered the Fernet quite a bit until the menthol notes appeared in the aftertaste. The addition of Punt e Mes, besides adding extra herbal complexity, donated a sweet grape taste on the early part of the sip. In addition, the Cynar was detectable in the middle of the sip and played rather well with the Fernet Branca and Punt e Mes notes. The closest thing I have had to this drink is the Appetizer a l'Italienne which jazzes the classic Bonsoni up with a dash of absinthe and simple syrup.


Dinah (MetaGrrrl) said...

Hugo R. Ensslin's Recipes for Mixed Drinks (1917) gives a rather different recipe:

1/3 Fernet Branca
2/3 Italian Vermouth
Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain and serve.

In his forward, David Wondrich suggests 1oz and 2oz respectively as the measurements to use.

- Dinah

frederic said...

Yes indeed, but I am reflecting how it was made for me and I do not think I had Ensslin's book when I wrote the post (not even sure if the reprint you're mentioning had been put out when I wrote that in 2010). The Bonsoni gained some attention when it made the first version of Beta Cocktails (when it was called Rogue Cocktails) as one of the 40 recipes. They expanded on the recipe (although I think the dash that was added here was the bartender's choice). Cheers!