Tuesday, February 8, 2011


2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1/2 oz Zwack Liqueur
1/2 pinch Salt

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Twist an orange peel over the top and discard.

On Wednesday last week, Andrea and I had to get out of the house after being shuttered in for too long thanks to the winter storms. Therefore, we shuffled through the salty slush, took the subway down to Kenmore Square, and went to Eastern Standard for dinner. For my aperitif, I asked bartender Naomi Levy to make me the Danube which just appeared on their menu. The drink was created by bartender Kevin Martin who, along with the Franklin's Peter Cipriani, got to tour Hungary with the Zwack family. Named after the Danube River that runs through Budapest, the drink was designed as a reverse Manhattan of sorts.
The Danube greeted my nose with an orange oil and grape aroma. The sip was a sweet caramel flavor from the Zwack that paired well with the Punt e Mes' grape; moreover, the swallow was a combination of the Punt e Mes' bitterness, barrel notes from the rye, and some herbal complexity from the Zwack liqueur. This complexity came across with a cinnamon-like menthol note. While the Danube started sweet, it ended cleanly and a bit more dry, and it did indeed make for a good aperitif.

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