This month’s Mixology Monday theme is that which is almost, but not quite, a Martini. Perhaps there are dashes (or more) of a liqueur (or two) added to the basic structure. Perhaps a Fino Sherry (or other fortified/aromatized wine) is standing in for vermouth. Maybe there’s Oxygene instead of bitters? Gin, certainly!
We’re big fans of martini alternatives, so this is a fun challenge for us. Gin is a wonderfully flexible base spirit, and we set out to have a bit of fun with it.
Christa wanted to do something with Punt e Mes in place of a more typical vermouth, to make good use of the bitter/savory qualities it brings. We dug out one of our more robust, juniper-y gins to pair it with. Even so, we needed to back the Punt e Mes fairly well down to balance with the gin without overwhelming it. Once we had those balanced, we added a few drops of bitters to bring a few spicy notes to the mix. Finally, given the savory/earthy profile of the drink, we rolled the dice and tried adding a little bit of smoky scotch to round things out. The result is dry, distinctive, and delicious.
- 2 oz juniper-forward gin (We used the No. 1 from New Deal)
- 1/4 oz Punt e Mes
- 4-5 drops of Angostura bitters
- 1/4 oz smoky scotch as a float
Stir first 3 ingredients with ice. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with an olive. Add a float of smoky scotch.
- Nose: Smoke, cedar wood, juniper, olive brine.
- Palate: Juniper and a little bit of menthol on the front. Hint of baking spice and sweetness at the beginning of the mid-palate, followed by cedar wood, resinous juniper, and lemon pith. Hint of olive brine at the end of the mid-palate and into the finish. Smoke, black pepper, and unsweetened chocolate on the finish. Very pepper-y aftertaste.
After Christa’s more savory offering, Shaun wanted to do something more citrus forward. We started with gin and a dash of dry orange liqueur (Combier), but even that small amount made the drink too sweet to be rightfully called a martini in our opinions. So we decided to experiment with citrus bitters and twists. We ultimately settled on orange bitters, lemon bitters, and an orange twist. That gave us some nice citrus notes while keeping things on the drier side. With that, we give you the Hot House, so named because we used a Scottish gin from Islay and the only way they’re going to have oranges there is if they’re grown in a hot house. 😉
- 2 1/2 oz citrus-forward gin
- generous 1/2 oz (5/8 oz to be precise, but it doesn’t have to be *that* exact 🙂 ) Lillet Blanc
- 1 dash orange bitters
- 1/2 dash lemon bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
- Nose: Orange bitters, lemon balm, faint orris root, slight woody herb like sagebrush.
- Palate: Orange, orange and more orange. Sweet orange and herbal lemon to start, with an oily mouth feel. Wine notes from the Lillet with lemon peel on the mid-palate, accompanied by juniper and soft perfume-y orris root. Bitter orange finish.
Overall, this was a fun theme for us. As we mentioned before, we’re big fans of martini alternatives; after all, what self respecting Booze Nerd doesn’t like a big glass of booze. 🙂 Thanks to Dagreb for picking a great theme and hosting this month.