Monday, October 17, 2022

caesar cardini

2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
3/4 oz Barolo Chinato
1/4 oz White Crème de Cacao

Stir with ice, strain into a Nick & Nora glass, and garnish with freshly grated coffee bean.
Two Mondays ago, I had finished up hosting two seminars for USBG Boston's Education Week 2022 at Drink, and I decided to treat myself to a cocktail on the way home. Therefore, I walked from Fort Point to Downtown Crossing to check out the recently opened Wig Shop -- a speakeasy-style cocktail lounge by the folks at JM Curley. The location used to be called the Wig Store, and they kept the wig display in front of the old shop but put black curtains to cut off the view to the interior of the repurposed space. I arrived around open so I got around the seeming need for a reservation. With the set up being tables with seating for up to 4 or perhaps 5 and no bar seating, it would make a great venue for meeting up with friends.
For a drink, I selected the Caesar Cardini attributed to Drink founder John Gertsen. I was able to source the recipe and some back history in a 2012 Boston Chefs article that described how John was influenced by the classic North Italian pairing of the quinine-laden Barolo Chinato with chocolate. To that John went with a base of mezcal and accented things with grated coffee beans to complement the crème de cacao and Chinato. The combination reminded me of the Bonal version that I had in Drink in 2010 that was attributed to John Gertsen and Misty Kalkofen. For a name, Gertsen went with a tribute to Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant chef who ended up in Mexico during Prohibition when it was too hard to run a restaurant in America; Cardini is best know for creating the Caesar salad at his Tijuana restaurant in 1924. This liquid tribute began with smoke and roasted coffee aromas on the nose. Next, grape and light cherry notes on the sip turned over into smoky mezcal, bitter-sweet herbal flavors, and light chocolate accents on the swallow.

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