Jet Pilot variant (Bush Pilot)

3/4 lime
1/2 fresh pineapple
3/4 falernum (bitter truth)
1/4 cinnamon syrup
1 smith & cross rum
1 aged cachaca (Sagatiba, home-barreled)
1/2 el dorado 12
1 dash angostura bitters
8 drops absinthe
Shake, pour, 2 cherries

 

Amaro 102: Beyond Basic Bitters

The X-15, Saturn, and the Finer Points of Bad Behavior

 

second version of Your Tie
1 lime
1 Smith & Cross rum
1 Pearl Diver Mix
1/2 Bitter Truth Falernum
1/2 Green Chartreuse
shake with ice, pour the lot into a big stemless wineglass washed with absinthe

 

soliciting names
1 lemon (yellow)
1 LS navy rum
1 LS Polynesian rum
1/2 chartreuse
1/2 falernum (Taylor’s Velvet)
hard shake, up.
6 drops absinthe; watch the lemon scurry!

 

 

Pearl Diver mix

14 oz Bacardi 8 rum
7 oz El Dorado 12 rum
5 oz Appleton V/X or “signature blend” rum
2.5 oz Velvet Falernum
0.75 oz Allspice Dram (St. Elizabeth/Haus Alpenz)
3 oz clear honey
0.5 oz cinnamon syrup (just steep cinnamon sticks in simple syrup for a couple of weeks – it works best if you pour the hot syrup over the sticks so they unroll a bit)

Now, if you really want to make a proper Pearl Diver’s Punch you should add 3 oz clarified butter right into this mix – I’ve kept a bottle like that for a couple of months without ill effects.

Then you blend 3.5 oz of buttery mix with 1 oz fresh orange juice and ¾ oz fresh lime juice and crushed ice while thinking about the complex instructions over here: https://cold-glass.com/2015/06/21/extra-effort-extra-reward-the-pearl-divers-punch/
…but I don’t really like leaving butter in the spiced rum because I don’t know how long it’s going to be hanging around, so I pour a bit of my mix off and add an appropriate proportion of butter a few days ahead of when I plan to drink the Pearl Divers.

 

riff on Donn Beach’s Pearl Diver

wash glass with absinthe
shake:
2 Pearl Diver rum mix*
1 blood orange juice
1 lime juice
garnish tbd

Iai Caci
1 Jamaican rum
2 pineapple juice
1/2 Clement Creole Shrubb
1/2 Falernum
3 dashes Jerry Thomas (clove) bitters
Shake, strain into an old fashioned glass. Cherry.

Iai Caci Macho version:

1 clement rum
1 Jamaican rum
1 pineapple juice
1/2 falernum
1/2 creole shrubb
3 dashes clove bitters
1 dash angostura
1/4 pernod

 

Zombie love tap
2/3 grapefruit juice
1/3 cinnamon-infused sugar syrup
1 LS Polynesian rum
1 Jamaican rum
1/2 cachaca prata (Thoquino/Ypioca)
1 falernum
1 dash angostura bitters
1 dash orange bitters
6 drops absinthe bitters/pernod
Blend with ice. Mint sprig.

Pearl Diver Mix Instanto
2oz mix,
1oz unsweetened passion fruit juice (just thawed goya pulp, no additives), on the rocks, optional high-proof float.

Oh. Man.

 

Test Pilot to try out falernum for the first time.
http://www.cocktailchronicles.com/2006/08/01/test-pilot/

1/2oz lime
1/2oz falernum
1 tbsp Clement Creole Shrub
1.5oz Appleton 12 year old Rum
3/4oz Barbancourt 15 y/o Rhum
1 dash angostura
4 drops extreme d’absente

no blender or cherry, although I have nothing against either. Stir, mint, lime skin.
#illadvisedcocktails #summeroftiki

 

Mai Tai
1oz lime juice
1/2oz Grand Marnier*
3/4oz Monin orgeat syrup**
1oz Lost Spirits Polynesian Inspired Rum (indispensable)
1/2oz Appleton 12 year old Rum (somewhat dispensable)
stir over cubes of ice. Mint sprig and orange slice garnish.

* I have tried it with Clement Creole Shrub. I declare that the Grand Marnier is smoother and easier to get and yields superb results.
** I have made my own orgeat. I have run around in goddamn circles trying all sorts of nonsense. My experiments are not exhaustive but I tell you what, Monin is easy to get and works GREAT. Rum is the key to this drink anyway.

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Amari were wildly fashionable a few years ago, so I’m just in time to jump on this departed bandwagon.

amari

There are really 4 categories of bitter drinks here that I, for my own weird reasons, consider to be related to Amaro one way or another: minty amari, Non-minty amari, Italian vermouths and Campari type drinks. Going in each case from less sweet to more sweet:

Fernet Branca tastes strongly and distractingly of mint in addition to being strongly bitter. It’s not sweet at all. I really don’t like it except when mixed equal parts with Campari and Chartreuse in a Negroguz. The slightly friendlier cousin of the Negroguz is the Negrotrar, which swaps Fernet for Cynar and adds 2 dashes of celery bitters. Maybe one day I will find a hundred great drinks to make with Fernet, but I’m not holding my breath.

Amaro Nardini is minty like Fernet Branca but also really sweet. I could imagine using it in place of Creme de Menthe for someone who likes bitterness. It’s not bad, but if I want amaro I generally don’t want the mint.

The Amari proper –

Zucca is made with rhubarb, but doesn’t taste of rhubarb – it tastes smoky and woody and delicious. Highly recommended for a Six-inch Gold Blade cocktail, on which my current favourite variant is: 2 rye whiskey, 1/2 each of Zucca, Carpano, Campari and Laphroaig, 2 shakes angostura, 2 shakes orange bitters, 1 dropper xocolatl bitters. In spite of all that going on, you can still taste the Zucca.

Cynar some people claim to be able to taste the artichoke here, but I just see a nicely balanced, not too sweet amaro. I will happily drink this with ice or in lieu of vermouth in a Boulevardier with rye and campari. One of my favourites.

Amer Picon is a lot like Cynar that’s had oranges steeped in it. Not as strong or round in its flavours, I probably would never drink it if it weren’t for its canonical uses in the Brooklyn and some other cocktails. Also goes nicely as an orange bitter flavouring for blonde beer, which is in fact what it’s sold as. Apparently Bigallet China-China is similar.

Nonino is definitely on the sweet side but is also complex and smoky like a good whiskey. Easily my favourite of the straight up Amaro for drinking on its own, I also think it makes a fine Manhattan or 1794 in place of Vermouth.

Montenegro I find over-sweet and a bit cloying.

Lucano the sweetest of the lot is also easy drinking – but I find after a glass of this, what I really want is a Nonino.

Italian Vermouths. I didn’t really love red vermouths until I tried these. The Carpano in particular is like a mix of Amaro with a little bit of red wine.

Carpano Formula Antica: is a waystation between other Italian vermouths and amaros. Like you could sub Dubonnet for red vermouth in many drinks that call for it, and probably improve the drink, too. But Carpano is something else.

Punt e Mes: tastes like a less complex Carpano to me – sweeter, maybe bitterer, it’s my favourite Negroni vermouth.

Acid-colour Italian Aperitifs from the Campari corporation:

Campari is incomparable with anything. Fresh, bright, distinctly sweet, sharply bitter. The soul of the Negroni.

Aperol: sweeter and less bitter than Campari, it’s delicious l in an Imperial (2 gin, 1/2 lemon juice, 1/2 aperol). If Campari’s too bitter for you, you might yet like the Contessa (Negroni with Aperol instead of Campari). The standard Spritz leans heavily on the branded product and is nice and refreshing, sure, but I would much rather drink sparkling wine with just a bit (like 2/3 of a measure) of Aperol and no silly soda.

It was Aperol that stealthily got my palate adjusted to bitter flavours. Now I love Campari, I rarely drink its orange sister. But summer is coming, so that could change again…

This is just a list of cocktail recipes I’ve made, tried, and liked enough that I’d like to make them again.

It has got rather long, so I’ve had to move the Tiki drinks to a separate post.

things I like here:
spend 1 to Gain the weather gage when battle is joined at sea.
spend 1 to Say whether the cost of a given commodity at a certain port is higher or lower than its price where you are now. (I like it this way around only because things can change by the time you get there or you now have a mission – it’s not /exchange points for cash/

 

Airbag,
(created by Phil Ward, Death & Co. and snagged from eGullet)
1 ounce El Tosoro Reposado tequila
1/2 ounce Batavia Arrack
1/2 ounce Los Amantes Joven Mezcal
3/4 ounce Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
1/4 ounce St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1/4 ounce Benedictine
1-2 dashes Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters
Stir well with cracked ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lit cherry bomb.

I believe one prepares a cherry bomb by soaking a stemmed cherry in Laphroaig cask strength, then lighting the stem. No kidding.

Daisy
2 oz. genever
¼ oz. maraschino liqueur
½ oz. orgeat
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
2 dashes orange bitters
shake, strain, up.
Its original late-1800s version combines spirits (often “Holland gin,” or genever) with gum syrup, orange cordial and citrus, while the “modern” variation from the 1910s includes grenadine and a splash of soda.
optimally I’d reduce the maraschino even further.

Daisy by Whitechapel owner Martin Cate

1¾ oz. genever
¼ oz. maraschino liqueur
½ oz. orgeat
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: coupe

Shake all ingredients with ice, then strain into a chilled glass.

Saketini:
2 dry gin
1 sake
1/4 Maurin Quina
shake strain up. Optional garnish: cucumber slice or radish sliver.

Imperial V
2 Uncle Val’s gin
1 lemon
1 aperol
dash of maraschino

Cone of Obliscence

1/4 oz absinthe (St. George)
1/4 oz Becherovka ( I may increase this)
1/2 Aperol
1/2 LS Polynesian Rum
1 Rittenhouse Rye.

 

Peggy’s parrot
1 Lost Spirits Polynesian rum
1 pearl diver mix
1 blood orange juice
1 lime juice
1/2 Aperol
2 dashes angostura bitters
3 dashes orinoco bitters
wash with absinthe

shake, don’t strain, brandied cherry
in a big-ass stemless wine glass

 

Quizzical glance
Perhaps it’s possible to make a Last Word I’ll enjoy using the canonical ratios. Meantime here’s a variant I do like:
2 gin (brokers)
1/2 lime juice
1/2 guyana rum (el dorado 12)
3/4 green chartreuse
dash of absinthe
stir, up.

 

Dalmatian Tiki:
Kielbasa
1.5 lime juice
1.5 slivovitz
0.5 strega
1 grenadine
3 dashes orange bitters
3 dashes clove bitters
8 drops absinthe
Shake. Rocks.

despised by Al
1 zucca
1 campari
1/2 LS Navy rum
1/3 strega
2 dashes orange bitters
2 dashes jerry thomas (clove) bitters
build in glass over rocks

 

Mic drop
1oz lime
1oz Benedictine
1oz Jamaican rum (Appleton VX)
1oz calvados
1 dash absinthe
1 dash maraschino
shake, up

 

Because I can’t leave the Sazerac alone…
wash with absinthe (St. George)
2 dashes Jerry Thomas (clove) bitters
1/4oz Strega
1/4oz Benedictine
2oz Calvados
orange twist

 

we used to call this an Aviation…
2 oz. Old Tom gin
¼ oz. maraschino liqueur
¼ oz. fresh lemon juice
2 dashes Regan’s orange bitters
Tools: barspoon
Glass: rocks
Garnish: brandied cherry and an orange twist

 

Significant Look
1.5 Broker’s Gin
0.5 green chartreuse
0.5 lime juice
0.25 Luxardo maraschino

…so this is a second try at the autonomically definitive Last Word. I like it a lot better, but I still don’t feel it’s the last word in Last Words.
When I get to that point it’ll be called Mic Drop.

Have you tried

1.25 gin
0.5 chartreuse
0.75 lime
0.25 maraschino ?
Richard G: +Adam Thornton I don’t think that’s going to get me to really like it – the basic character is the same, the discordant elements have just been toned down.
Maybe there’s a bitters that’ll pull it all together, but…. I’m thinking of removing or subbing the maraschino, at which point maybe the thing to do is equal parts gin, lime, benedictine?
Adam Thornton: Fine, motherf_cker.

Benedictine is for the weak.

Replace the maraschino with 1/2 ounce of Leatherbee’s Besk, or if you’re a real man, between a quarter and a half ounce of Jepsen’s Malort. You’re fucking welcome. Pantywaist.

 

Never trust a man in a blue trenchcoat
1.5 Slivovitz (plum rakiya, you could sub gin for a different, equally good drink)
3/4 lime
3/4 orange liqueur (clement creole shrub)
1/2 creme yvette
no cherries or ulterior motives

 

Seven Dials Shank

Wash with absinthe
1.5 Rittenhouse Rye
1/2 Zucca
1/2 Nardini Amaro
1/2 Campari
1/2 Strega
1 bar spoon Laphroaig
2 dashes orange bitters
2 dashes Jerry Thomas’ (clove) bitters
1 kumquat; halved, squeezed, skewered

Rocks or up. Either way, stir.

 

To Hell With Spain is:
1.5 glenmorangie
1/2 lost spirits navy rum
1/2 carpano red vermouth
1/4 laphroaig
1/4 maurin quina (or sure Cherry Heering I guess)
dash of orange bitters
absinthe wash (ahem +Jensen Toperzer)

Similar to but notably different from the earlier Five Points Shiv.

 

Sazafraxenbracken
2 barrel-aged Broker’s gin
1/2 Strega
2 dashes orange bitters
2 dashes orinoco bitters
absinthe wash

stir

 

Sazerac of the Long 19th Century
accidentally put orange and angostura bitters in my modern Sazerac, surprised by deliciousness.

2 rye
5 dashes Peychauds
1/2 tbsp simple syrup
1 dropper essence d’absente
2 dashes angostura
2 dashes orange bitters

 

1794

2 rye
1 campari
1 Martini red vermouth
1 dropper xocolatl bitters
2 dashes orange bitters
2 dashes angostura bitters
orange twist.
I serve it in an old-fashioned glass on the rocks, like a Negroni.

 

Streamlining the Sazerac:
2 rye whiskey
1/2 Galliano
5 dashes Peychauds
1 dash Angostura
On the rocks.
+Doug Ford likes cognac in his Sazerac but I’ve come to love the spiciness of Rittenhouse Rye.

Alt Burnt Fuselage:
1 calvados
1 Amara
1/2 dry vermouth
Up.

 

Atlas refinement
2 Calvados (Boulard)
1 rum (Bacardi 8)
1 Amara orange liqueur
3 drops xocolatl bitters

 

5 Points Shiv:

2 Rittenhouse Rye
1 Italian Vermouth
1/2 Laphroaig
1/2 Campari
1 dash Chartreuse (most important!)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 dropper Xocolatl Mole bitters

 

abusing the formula:
2 rye
1/2 Zucca
1/2 Campari
2 dashes green Chartreuse
2 dashes Angostura
1 dropper xocolatl bitters
1 dropper st george absinthe
orange twist

Stir, rocks.

 

minor martini variant #22754: margina
2 aged gin
1/2tsp strega
stir, up, no garnish.

 

six inch gold blade, +Joseph D. Eater variant, bacardi 8 in place of sadly unavailable smith&cross.
Nose: tobacco and burned cordite
Taste: lapsang and smoked shoes

 

Jack Clement
approved by my wife who likes things a bit sweeter:
1/2oz lime juice
1/2oz grenadine
1/4oz Clement Creole Shrubb
2oz Lairds Applejack
Shake. Lime twist.

 

The Unholy Mountain
2 gin
1 campari
1 cynar
1/2 green chartreuse
4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
2 dashes orange bitters
stir, strain, drink.

Harpy’s Gallbladder
1 1/4 oz Lost Spirits Polynesian Rum
1 pineapple juice
3/4 Galliano

Marley’s Pallbearer
1 Slivovitz (plum eau-de-vie) (Maraska)
1 pineapple juice
1 pink grapefruit juice
1 Galliano
2 dashes Jerry Thomas (clove) bitters

Hardly Borduria
2 slivovitz
2 guanabana
1 galliano
1 becherovka

Harley Clawhammer
1 gin (Brokers)
1/4 Galliano
1/4 Green Chartreuse
1/4 Cointreau
1 shake orange bitters (or more if you find this too sweet)
Stir. Up. Orange twist.
I call this highly drinkable. Double recipe for a decent martini glass.

Garvey Sprawljammer
1 Jamaican rum (Appleton 12)
3/4 Galliano
1/2 Aperol
1/2 lemon juice
3 shakes orange bitters
Stir. Up. Orange twist.
Not at all sure about this one. Too many ingredients, leading to not enough distinctiveness. Needs refinement.

 

 

 

Experimental gomme sirop
8 oz piloncillo sugar, dissolved in 4 oz simmering water
2 oz gum arabic, dissolved in 2 oz simmering water
combine, simmer and stir for 3 minutes,
add 1 capful orange flower water.

 

Redrum Oni
1/2 Lost Spirits “Polynesian” Rum
1 Campari
2 dashes orange bitters
5 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Ice, stir.
…the rum seems to largely cancel the bitterness of the Campari and allow the sweetness to shine through. Which is extremely weird.
Actually pretty nice, but still sweet. Curious what a sour rhubarb syrup might do here.

 

Should I be reading this or Kevin Liu’s Craft Cocktails

or Gary Regan’s Joy of Mixology?
Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail: Dave Arnold: 9780393089035: Amazon.com: Books

Brendan S: Joy of Mixology is mostly taxonomy and recipes, with a few reminiscences thrown in. It is not a treatise. I haven’t read the others.

Dave Arnold’s website: http://cookingissues.com
A playlist of his cocktails:

Cattaneo
2 gin (boodles)
1 lemon juice
1 creme yvette
1 dimmi
Shake. No garnish.
…named after Milanese aviator Bartolomeo Cattaneo. Who wouldn’t love that face?

Saxencar
Wash glass with galliano.
mix with ice:
2 cognac
3/4 St. Germain
8 dashes peychaud’s bitters
strain, garnish with large orange twist.
…..it’s kind of fruity and delicious. And nuclear orange. And like nothing else I’ve ever made.
Maybe it needs something sour – juice of half a lemon and increase the St. Germain to 1?
Maybe even add a 1/4 of maraschino instead. I don’t know yet, my taste buds are still getting used to it.

Eigengroni
2 gin (Botanist)
1 Carpano Italian Vermouth
1 Amaro Nonino
orange twist

Negrotrar
1 Campari
1 Cynar
1 Green Chartreuse
2 shakes celery bitters
stir, strain. No garnish, although I’m tempted to add a sprig of dill.

Cynevardier
1 rye whiskey
1 cynar
1 campari
Rub glass with kumquat or orange.
Stir with ice, serve up or on the rocks.
c/f Doug Ford’s masterly 1794 post for a bunch more variants and historical notes.

Saketininha
1.5 gin (Hendricks)
1 sake (Hastukura draft)
0.5 Maurin Quina
…shake over ice. No garnish unless you can scare up an umeboshi or something.

Dimmi Martini
2 Martin Miller gin
3/4 Dimmi
1/4 Lillet blanc
2 dashes orange bitters (most important)
lemon twist.

first Martinez I’ve actually enjoyed:
2 Boodles gin
3/4 Carpano
1/6 Luxardo maraschino
Yes, it’s sweet. The Carpano vermouth is indispensable.

Simpler than martinez
2 beefeater gin, 1/3 Picon citron.

Research Triangle is like a Vieux Carre minus the Saratoga
2 Gin
2/3 Benedictine
7 dashes Peychauds
1 dash orange bitters

That’s intriguingly sweet. For a bone dry version, swap Benedictine for Green Chartreuse. The result is pink, yet macho and martini-like. I actually like this one a lot.

C&B Old Fashioned
2  Plymouth Gin
1 Lillet Blanc
1 Campari
1/3 Bénédictine
1/3 Cointreau
Stir, Orange twist.

Imperial
2 gin
1 lemon juice
1 aperol
orange twist
shake

Manhattan-sur-Seine
2 cognac
1 dubonnet
cherry

Drinks awaiting testing:

Charles
5 cognac
2 amer picon
1 fresh squeezed OJ
cherry

Candied Marmot
2 hendricks gin
1/2 carpano
1/2 amaro nonino
1/2 dry vermouth
1/2 fresh-squeezed orange juice
shake, strain, garnish with orange peel

Louisville Daiquiri
2 bourbon
2/3 st. germain
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 angostura bitters

Don’s Special Daiquiri
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz honey syrup
1/2 oz passion fruit syrup
1/2 oz Jamaican rum
1 oz white Puerto Rican rum

C’est La Vie:
2 bombay east,
1/2 St-Germain,
1 grapefruit,
sprig of rosemary.

Old classics for reference…
Sazerac
Ingredients
•    1 teaspoon sugar
•    3 or 4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
•    a few drops water
•    2 ounces rye whiskey (such as Sazerac Rye)
•    1 teaspoon Herbsaint, Pernod, pastis, or absinthe
•    lemon peel

Chill an Old Fashioned glass or small tumbler in your freezer.
In a mixing glass, combine sugar, Peychaud’s Bitters, and a few drops of water. Mix until sugar is dissolved, and add rye. Add plenty of ice, and stir for about 30 seconds.
Pour Herbsaint, pastis, or absinthe into your chilled glass, and rotate glass until the inside is well coated; discard the excess. Strain the liquid from your mixing glass into the serving glass. Twist a piece of lemon peel over the drink. Indulge.

Vieux Carre, old style
1 rye
1 cognac
1 carpano
6 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
1 bar spoon benedictine
Stir. Tumbler. Garnish with a cherry and/or orange twist.

Cocktail a la Louisiane
•    ¾ ounce rye
•    ¾ ounce sweet vermouth (Dolin rouge)
•    ¾ ounce Benedictine
•    3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
•    wash of absinthe or Herbsaint

Mai Tai

  • 1 oz dark Jamaican rum (Appleton Estate 12)
  • 1 oz light rum (Clément VSOP)
  • ½ oz Grand Marnier or Clement Creole Shrubb
  • ¾ oz orgeat syrup
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice

Shake all ingredients with crushed or cracked ice and pour (including ice) into a tall glass. Top with additional crushed or cracked ice as needed. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint. Some recipes also add a lime wedge, or add the lime shell into the drink.

when I get some Applejack brandy…

Marconi Wireless

  • 2 ounces applejack
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes orange bitters

aviation_yvette-1research triangle

I recently learned that, like Coca-Cola, one of the most important attractions that champagne has is its standardization – the fact that every time you open a bottle, of any year, you know what experience you’re getting.

I learned this from the Moet & Chandon tour and… they have a point. Moet champagne actually might have been one of the very first products to globalize and its history looks highly interesting for my general project on the history of modernity as an idea (spread by Napoleon, the low-born king, in a coalition of excess with a bunch of nobles who managed to survive the Terror… made famous by its sharing among the Emperors of France, Russia and Austria (before the French one invaded the others…) – there’s stuff there.

But Moet sucks. Sorry. I got to try some of their top flight, vintage product (well, not truly top-flight because that’s Dom Perignon, which I didn’t know previously is just a sub-brand of Moet) and it’s really goodmuch better than most high street champagnes – but it’s not as good as nearly anyone else’s vintage. So “better than Moet” is my basic metric for whether a champagne is worth your time.

So what are some better-than-Moet champagnes and where can you get them? Ah, there’s the rub. A bunch of the following can only be got from the vineyard or local resellers. Some of it isn’t even sold in Paris (I’m told). But if you get the chance I recommend all these makers unreservedly:

aperitif2 H Depaux‘s basic product 15E. Knocks Moet out of the park, despite competing on something like the same field – light bodied, very dry, pale. Their millesime (vintage) ROCKS – it’s biscuity and woody and distinctive and fabulous and about 24E, so cheaper than Moet’s coke.

Where Depaux exemplifies the sort of ultra-small producer you can’t find much outside their hometown of Vincelles, H Blin have their sights set on bigger targets – and have invested a lot more in their tasting room. Still, their basic product rocks (maybe not quite as hard as Depaux’s) – their vintage is a bit pricier but still should be cheaper than, say, Veuve Clicquot and will beat it hands down in any unbiased tasting. blin-10

But the real revelation for me was A. Bergere. First the bad news: it’s France only (unless some enterprising shipper is working independently to spread the word). Now the good news: their basic brut is 12E… and it has something of the character of the others’ vintage – woody, complex, rich, round, extremely quaffable.

4…and then their top-flight products… they do a blanc de blancs and a vintage that are every bit as remarkable as each other. Seriously, I have never tasted champagne like it.

Now I should qualify that: I haven’t tried Dom P or, probably more importantly here, Krug. I am not an authority on champagne. But if by any chance you’re thinking of going to Epernay, this is the best advice I can give you; by all means stop in at Moet’s enormous palace, and Perrier-Jouet’s art nouveau HQ, and that favourite of French housewives, de Castellane, and sample their products (share a glass with a friend – pours are generous and not well adapted to actually going comparison-tasting). But also make sure you stop at Bergere – pretty much next door to Perrier-Jouet, and save some room for a couple of glasses of their basic, vintage and blanc-de-blancs. I know which one I would want a case of. And it’s at worst 30E a bottle, as opposed to Krug’s  60E or Dom P’s 150E.

16 E. Corsican white.

I have some bias regarding Domaine d’Alzipratu for reasons that have nothing to do with their products: I got there after a long and hair-raising drive on a wine trail that frankly failed to deliver (2 wineries in over 2 hours of hairpin bends and rock-pitted mountain roads = not good value), and the wines available for tasting were limited (I didn’t get to try the Pumonte rose, which might’ve been brilliant, for instance). So I’d love to say that this wine was outstanding, but it’s merely pretty good – respectable at 16E, suitable for taking to meet your boss or your parents, reliable but not really worth climbing mountains for. So it’s a shame it’s tucked away on a Corsican mountain. Certainly the best of the whites and reds on offer, if you can find it, it’s worth a try. If you can’t, well, it does pretty much the same job as a good white Graves.

.

3 parts Hayman’s Old Tom gin
1 part Dolin dry vermouth
1/3 part Amer Picon

Yes it’s a slightly modified, very old fashioned martini. It’s also a seriously laid back and sociable cocktail. A colonial era Martini with a French twist.

5.50E, French sparkling wine

Cremants d’Alsace tend to be bone dry, light and slightly floral; cremants de Bourgogne I’ve tried have been wildly variable. The Loire (and Saumur) ones have been closest to blanc de blanc champagnes. This one is clearly not a champagne but it has many of the virtues of one – crisp, clean, dry, refined – it’s very good for drinking alone and, at 5E, cheap enough to mix (in, for instance, a Spritz). Better that Glenora’s Brut, better than Ackerman, and if not better than Moet, at least better suited to everyday drinking.