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In the Shaker: May/June 2012

his heart might belong to spirits, but Marcis Dzelzainis also has a soft spot for fortified wines


Iwas reading through one of my favourite cocktail books the other day, Frank Meier’s The Artistry of Mixing Drinks, and I was struck by how well-balanced a lot of the more spirituous drinks are. This particularly applies to his definitions of the Martini, of which there are three. Dry contains equal measures of gin and French vermouth. Medium is one fourth French vermouth, one fourth Italian vermouth and half gin. Sweet is half Italian vermouth and half gin. To me, this makes much more sense than the classic dry, extra dry, bone dry… which, let’s face it, no one really understands. It all boils down to: ‘What is dry?’ My interest in this whole vermouth business was motivated, in part, by personal concerns. I’m getting older and can’t drink eight bone-dry Plymouth Navy-Strength Martinis and breeze into work the next day any more. Fortified wines offer a wealth of robust and interesting flavours. Sherry is cropping up more and more on menus, so why not look at port, madeira, pineau des Charentes, or even marsala?


Parisian 

Glass: Small coupette
Garnish: Lemon twist
Method: Stir with ice and strain into glass.

30ml Beefeater Gin
30ml Noilly Prat
2.5ml cassis

Origin: The Artistry Of Mixing Drinks by Frank Meier (1934)


Frank’s Special

Glass: Small coupette
Garnish: Orange twist
Method: Stir with ice and strain into glass.

30ml Beefeater Gin
30ml Noilly Prat
2.5ml Merlet Crème de Pêche

Origin: Adapted from The Artistry Of Mixing Drinks by Frank Meier (1934)


Dunlap

Glass: Small coupette
Garnish: Orange twist
Method: Stir with ice and strain into glass.

30ml Eldorado 8yo rum
30ml sweet oloroso sherry
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Origin: Adapted from The Artistry Of Mixing Drinks by Frank Meier (1934)


Temps Perdu

Glass: Small coupette
Garnish: Orange twist
Method: Stir with ice and strain into glass.

30ml pineau des Charentes
30ml amontillado sherry
5ml Merlet Crème de Pêche
2 dashes Pernod Absinthe

Origin: Marcis Dzelzainis


Fino Sour

Glass: Large coupette
Garnish: Peychaud Bitters
Method: Combine all ingredients in shaker (except the bitters), dry shake, add ice and shake hard. Strain into glass.

60ml fino sherry
25ml lemon juice
25ml egg white
15ml gomme (2:1)
3 dashes Peychaud Bitters

Origin: Thomas Girard


Rainbow sour

Glass: Large coupette
Garnish: None
Method: Combine all ingredients in shaker, dry shake, add ice and shake hard. Strain into glass.

25ml pineau des Charentes
25ml apricot brandy
5ml gomme (2:1)
25ml lemon juice
25ml egg white

Origin: Dale DeGroff


MIXING TIPS

  • Freshness is key here. Remember, drinks like sherry and vermouth are wines, so oxidise fairly quickly. Keep them in the fridge, for no longer than three weeks.
  • Be careful with sherry – it can vary dramatically in style. Generally speaking, finos, amontillados and olorosos will be dry but there are numerous exceptions, particularly when it comes to oloroso.
  • Pineau des Charentes can be made from a variety of grapes. In fact, pineau is a general term for French fortified wine. I find Merlot is more robust, and mixes in an interesting way. François Voyer is a good producer, and is available through Amathus Drinks.
  • Madeira can be extremely interesting to use, and again comes in a variety of styles and degrees of sweetness, and, as a rule, works very well with rum.

cocchi Americano

I’m a big fan of Lillet Blanc, and think that it’s a welcome addition to any back bar. The original recipe, however, known as Kina Lillet and stipulated as an essential ingredient in many classic cocktails – most notably the Corpse Reviver #2 and the Vesper – was reformulated with a lower percentage of quinine. As such, Cocchi Americano makes for an impressive substitute for the original, and now sadly extinct, Kina Lillet. It has the prerequisite bitterness from the higher levels of quinine, but there’s also a strong orange element shining through on both the nose and the palate. It is a must-try in a Corpse Reviver #2, it really draws your attention to exactly what all the fuss was about in the first place.

£15.99. Speciality Brands, 020 8838 9367

Le Dauphin

As I’d be more than a little reticent about delving into the world of restaurant reviews, this is less of a review, and more of an attempt to bring a particular wine bar and restaurant to your attention. The food and wine here are of course a major attraction, but maybe more important is the simplicity and elegance of it all. Its sibling next door, Le Chateaubriand, is on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, and the man behind it is called Iñaki Aizpitarte. If you’re in Paris you should go, although be prepared to wait, and call in advance. You’ll be blown away, and it will certainly influence the way you think about flavour and the importance of quality produce – not to mention natural wine.

131 Avenue Parmentier, Paris 75011; +33 1 55 28 78 88

Editorial feature from Imbibe Magazine – May/June 2012

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