This weekend, we picked up a bottle of Pretty white vermouth by BroVo, which I’ve been watching since we tried it at Proof in Seattle last year. For those unfamiliar with white vermouth (also called bianco or blanc), I think of it as a cross between Italian vermouth (red, sweet) and French vermouth (white, dry). It brings a slightly sweeter, more floral version of the dry vermouth flavors, and I feel like it pairs gorgeously with gin. This was definitely true in the Amaryllis. It’s a very gin-forward drink with a slight offset by the floral vermouth and bare trace of sweetness from the apricot. It’s not my favorite drink ever, but it’s a good way to use this lovely white vermouth.
Today is my last day at home before several days of travel for work, but of course i had to make time for an evening taste test. Cobble Hill is another selection from Regarding Cocktails: a lighter riff on my favored Manhattan. Normally I don’t enjoy dry vermouth, but this time it’s nicely offset by the cucumber and an equal amount of a lightly citrus amaro. The first sip takes a bit of reorienting since you don’t usually see rye with cucumber, but after a few sips you taste how the combination really works well together. It’s a great contrast to the heavier, sweeter Manhattan that usually sees me through the winter.
It’s been a while! As happens, life took over for a while, but I’m diving back into the drinking pool. I’m starting with Sasha Petraske’s Cosmonaut, from Regarding Cocktails. This is a fairly straightforward cocktail, but a lovely one. I added a bar spoon of simple syrup for a little more sweetness, but otherwise really enjoyed this drink, especially on our first sunny day in months. What a lovely way to wade back into the pool. Cheers!
We spent Saturday night at our regional distiller’s festival, Toast, hosted by the Oregon Distillery Trail group. This is our second time attending, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first time. Oregon/Washington has a great selection of local distillers and they were showing off everything from core spirits such as rum, whiskey, and vodka, to liqueurs and syrups to supplement your cocktails. Plus, there was a great selection of food from local restaurants and caterers (including truffled rabbit stew and whole roast pig).
Some of my standouts for this year:
- Quince Liqueur from Stone Barn Brandyworks
- Silver rum from Flooded Fox Den Distillery (and some of the best graphic design I’ve seen)
- Interrobang vermouth
- Vanilla-spice Rooibos Syrup from Portland Syrups
I’m really lookin forward to using some of these great new ingredients.
In the meantime, I’ve been waiting to share this Manhattan variant. While the Bartender’s Choice app calls this a Bobby Burns, it’s really just a Scotch Manhattan with a touch of Benedictine. I really love this cocktail, and I’m not generally a huge Scotch fan (I’ll drink it, but it’s not what I gravitate to). I’m guessing my choice of scotch helps (Compass does great work with blended scotch), but I definitely recommend giving this a try.
I went back to The Canon Cocktail Book tonight, and was drawn to this drink because the authors wrote that it had replaced the Old Fashioned as their favorite cocktail. Sadly, I can’t quite agree. My Amer Picon replacement (since the real Amer Picon isn’t imported to the US) is Bittermen’s Amere Nouvelle, which has a very pronounced, almost musty bitterness that I couldn’t quite get past. I’d love to try the recipe with an alternate bitter, but I don’t think I’d try this one exactly this way again.