Sunday, April 25, 2010

don's little bitter

1/8 oz Peychaud's Bitters
1/8 oz Angostura Orange Bitters
1/4 oz Angostura Bitters
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 oz Barbancourt 8 Year Rum

Shake with ice and double strain into a coupe glass.

For my second cocktail at Drink on Monday night, bartender Sam Treadway lured me into having Don's Little Bitter by describing its bitter-laden recipe. Sam was originally served this drink after he had a big dinner at Sportello. When he went downstairs to Drink, he asked guest bartender Don Lee for something to help settle his stomach after his feast. Don Lee at the time was working at P.D.T (and now Momofuko Ssam Bar) in Manhattan, and I do not recall if his visit was a simple one way transaction or a bartender exchange like Eastern Standard's Kevin Martin did with P.D.T.'s Daniel Eun around a year and a half ago.

The drink Don Lee made for Sam had a walloping dose of three "nonpotable" bitters -- Angostura, Orange, and Peychaud's bitters -- and a sizable amount of a potable one -- Fernet Branca. One recipe I have seen online lists the nonpotable bitters as double what I was served (1/4 oz Peychaud's, 1/4 oz Orange, 1/2 oz Angustura), and my guess would be that the recipe was trimmed down to fit to Drink's standard 3 oz pre-ice melt volume. To round out the drink were the ingredients to a basic Rum Sour: Barbancourt rum, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
The drink ended up a magnificent deep red color mainly from the Angostura Bitters with additional help from the Peychaud's and Fernet Branca; I place a higher degree of blame on the Angostura Bitters as the hue reminded me a lot of the Trinidad Sour that Ben Sandrof made me. While I got a cherry-lemon nose on the Don's Little Bitter, Andrea perceived an "orangy spice... [that] smells like hippy tea." The sip proved to be the delicious bittered and tannic Sour as expected with a clove-like note and Fernet Branca flavors on the swallow. Just like Andrea's description of the nose, the drink was filled with orange and spice flavors from the orange bitters mixing with the other ingredients.

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