Monday, February 8, 2010


1 oz Cherry Brandy (Cherry Heering)
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1 dash Lemon Juice (1 tsp)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a small cocktail glass. I added a lemon twist.

On Friday night, I desired a nightcap and remembered the Pinto from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933; the drink intrigued me for it used Fernet Branca in a liqueur-based cocktail. The main ingredient was "cherry brandy" which I interpreted as the rich and spicy Cherry Heering that seemed like it would best match up with Fernet Branca. Kirsch seemed too subtle, Luxardo Maraschino too funky, and other options were lacking on my shelves. On paper, it was hard to determine whether the drink would be delightful or a nightmare with the Fernet perhaps veering the drink off into a strange place; however, luckily, the former was the case which is not too surprising since the book has yet to steer me wrong.
Menthol and lemon oil aromas started off the Pinto. The Cherry Heering donated a thick, rich mouthfeel to the drink and served to temper the Fernet Branca considerably. The Fernet's menthol did appear on the swallow along with a variety of lingering bitter notes; however, it was not as potent as the recipe's ratio would suggest. Much respect for the Heering for accomplishing this feat. The lemon gave a nice hint of crispness to the drink and worked well with the Heering to give a slight sour cherry flavor. Surprisingly, the flavors gelled into a rather nice cocktail and the Pinto would probably serve as a great digestif as well.

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