Friday, September 30, 2011


1 oz Thomas Handy Uncut Sazerac Rye 126°
1 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz Cynar
1/2 oz S. Maria al Monte Amaro
1 barspoon Demerara Syrup (1/8 oz 1:1)
1 barspoon Allspice Dram (1/8 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass.

For my last drink at No. 9 Park, bartender Ted Kilpatrick suggested a drink he created as a variation of Dominic Venegas' 1794. Instead of the Campari, Ted swapped in a combination of Cynar and S. Maria al Monte with a dash of allspice dram. While I did not ask what he named the drink after, given that the original was called the 1794, my best guess is that it is a reference to the Whiskey Rebellion that happened in America that year. During George Washington's presidency, his treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton decided to attempt to pay off the national debt by taxing whiskey. The farmers and small distillers west of the Appalachians that protested the tax lashed out at the tax collector; they felt that the burden was disproportionately too great on them to pay off the nation's problem. With some governmental intervention, the uprising was suppressed before the militia arrived. The whiskey tax still remained difficult to collect, but the nascent government showed that it was willing to use its muscle to maintain control; the tax was later repealed with the next presidency.
The Rebellion began with a rye aroma that contained herbal and vermouthy notes; when I let my neighbor Tyrone have a taste, he commented that it "smelled medicinal" probably from the S. Maria al Monte. The whiskey continued on into the sip where the liqueurs' caramel notes blended well with the Carpano Antica vermouth. Next, the allspice from the dram and the menthol note from the S. Maria al Monte filled the swallow; moreover, the funky herbalness of the Cynar definitely helped to bridge the gap of these two flavors.


bza said...

Looking forward to trying this, do you think, since you mention menthol, that Fernet would be a satisfactory substitution for the S Maria?

And just to clarify, while the 1794 is indeed from Bourbon and Branch's Venegas, the original does not have mole bitters in it - I believe that was a Gertsen addition.

frederic said...

Thank you for the correction on the bitters.

S. Maria al Monte is not the same as Fernet Branca in a cordial glass but might be pretty similar as a 1/2 oz in a cocktail, so it would probably work due to overlapping botanical signature at that level. SMaM is from northern (Alpine) Italy and Fernet from eastern so they different local herbs in them.

I found one article that would support the swap, "This shows an engaging herbal complexity that recalls fresh basil and spearmint. Its strength and power are similar to Fernet-Branca, while the vibrant finish feels spicy and rich. From the Valle d'Aosta, Santa Maria al Monte is a digestivo that uses bitter orange peel and ginseng among other flavoring agents. Menthol presence is heavy."

For a rye, I would go with something overproof like Rittenhouse. More Bourbons focus on being overproof or barrel proof than ryes for some reason.