Friday, February 12, 2010

monte cassino

3/4 oz Rittenhouse Rye
3/4 oz Benedictine
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass; garnish with a lemon twist.

To continue on with the night before's four-equal part whiskey-yellow Chartreuse cocktail theme, it was time to try the Monte Cassino on Wednesday. The Monte Cassino was Damon Dyer's (Louis 649 in New York City) creation and the winner of the cocktail contest to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Benedictine herbal liqueur. Dyer described his Last Word variant as, "This drink requires no dramatic flourishes, no additional flavor notes, no aromatic supplements. Simply four ingredients in equal parts, in perfect balance, allowing the Benedictine to make its noble presence felt."
The drink was indeed a great balance between the two sweet liquors and the acid and heat of the lemon and 100 proof rye whiskey. The Benedictine and yellow Chartreuse combined to form a wall of herbaceousness, although one that was not too tall or too intense especially when compared to what other pairings of bitter liqueurs can bring to the table. The Benedictine and lemon took the drink in a different direction than the Last Word's Maraschino and lime such that the parallels seemed more in theme than in flavor. Dyer's choice of Rittenhouse was a good one for it has enough backbone to handle the other ingredients without getting drowned out. Moreover, the rye grain's spice contribution to the whiskey's mash bill played quite well with all of the other ingredients.


dfan said...

With Maraschino instead of Benedictine (which, as you say, puts it more in the Last Word family), this is my standard gateway cocktail for friends. Very tasty, nothing too hard to appreciate, but enough flavors going on for them to see that there's something interesting to it.

frederic said...

Rye, green Chartreuse, Maraschino, and lemon would be a Final Ward. With yellow, I could see how that would be a good entry into the genre cocktail (although a bit sweeter than the Last Word or Final Ward).

erik.ellestad said...

Chuckle, I believe the name comes because it is a kind of combination of the Monte Carlo and Casino cocktails.

frederic said...

Monte Carlo I can see. Casino (from the recipes I've found online since I'm away from my library), not so much (except for the lemon juice part). Most likely named after the Benedictine monastery called "Monte Cassino".

Buzorak said...

I tried this when Damon was at the Flatiron Lounge; he called it the Gypsy Dancer. I knew why after I tried it, the flavours do dance around the tounge from sweet to sour to bitter,and goes down easy. So balanced, so simple to make, and manges to showcase the complexity of its components. I order it at any bar I find yellow chartreuse, benedictine, and rye.