A few weeks ago we poured some micrococktails at Fermented Grapes, our local wine and liquor shop, to give our neighbors some spirituous succor. Debbie, Jan, and the gang there never steer us wrong when we’re looking for something luscious to pair with our dinner, so we love returning the favor. Many folks braved the sweltering Saturday heat to taste three of our favorite spirits, two vermouths, and some bitters. The results were surprising.
ONE OF OUR FAVORITE light London-style gins, DH Krahn, would be the focus of our first tasting, so we opted for martinis. Martinis used to be exclusively gin, with a generous helping of dry vermouth, and a dash or two of orange bitters. We stuck with this tried and true formula and made believers out of those sippers who feared the power of gin. For an extra kick, we added a drop of cocktail onion juice to the martini to create a Gibson. DH Krahn gin is perfect for a Gibson when mixed with Noilly Prat dry vermouth, and a dash of Bitter Truth orange bitters. This gin boasts a light juniper infusion, plus notes of coriander, ginger, and the oils from oranges, lemons, and grapefruit. What we love also about DH Krahn is its versatility. It can easily fit the bill for London-style gin drinks, or lighter-style cocktails. Exquisite.
(adapted by Cocktail Buzz)
2 ounces (1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons) gin (try DH Krahn)
1/3 ounce (1 teaspoon) dry vermouth
1–2 dashes orange bitters (try Bitter Truth)
cocktail onion, as garnish
Stir for 30 seconds in ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add onion.
(adapted by Cocktail Buzz)
2 ounces (1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons) gin
1/3 – 1/2 ounce (1 teaspoon – 1/2 tablespoon) dry vermouth (do not skimp on the vermouth; this is not a vodka martini ;)
2 dashes orange bitters (try The Bitter Truth)
olive or lemon twist, as garnish
Stir in ice for 30 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an olive or lemon twist.
MANHATTANS are our love-affair cocktail, so we were happy to make some wee ones for our neighbors. Since we were pouring Templeton Rye, our new fave, we employed the Templeton Rye’s official Manhattan Cocktail recipe ratio (it makes for a revivifying summer Manhattan), which we’ve posted before, except we used Dolin Sweet Vermouth and The Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters. Delicious. No surprises here. The whiskey tipplers who took the plunge loved the smoothness of the Templeton Rye and the way the bitters and the vermouth brought out the spiciness inherent in the rye. At 40% abv, this rye goes down smoothly, but not until you’ve gotten a whiff of its light caramel redolence. Perfection.
2 ounces (1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons) rye
1 ounce (1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons) sweet vermouth (try Dolin Rouge)
2 dashes bitters
Stir in ice for 15 seconds and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino or booze-soaked cherry.
Templeton Rye Manhattan
(recipe from the men of Templeton Rye)
2 ounces (1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons) Templeton Rye
3/4 ounce (1 1/2 tablespoons) Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters (we also like The Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters)
Serve stirred, never shaken. Kiss with cherry.
(You can decide for yourself whether you want it up, or on the rocks.)
THE BIGGEST SURPRISE of the pouring turned out be the Campo de Encanto Pisco, which is an acholado pisco, or rather a mix of four different pisco varietals. For those of you who have never had pisco, it a brandy distilled from fermented grapes. It is light, slightly fruity, but not sweet, closer to a pear eau de vie than a cognac. We decided to mix it with some run-of-the-mill tonic water, fortified by a dash of Bitter Truth orange bitters. Eyes lit up after sipping. “I could drink these all day long” seemed to be the constant refrain. That made us happy, and we decided that the Pisco and Tonic would be the official late-summer drink at Chez Cocktail Buzz.
Pisco and Tonic
(created by Cocktail Buzz)
2 ounces (1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons) pisco (try Campo de Encanto)
4 ounces (1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons) tonic water
dash orange bitters (optional) (try The Bitter Truth)
In a highball or collins glass filled with ice, add pisco (and bitters) and stir for 15 seconds. Top with tonic. You can add a lime wedge if you so desire.