August 21st, 2010

cap, captain miss america

Cocktail: Rina’s Sensory Memory

This cocktail has a story.

Last night, when Rina came over, I offered to make her a drink. She said she liked Manhattans and drinks of that ilk, so I pulled out some bourbon and vermouth (Punt E Mes is my red vermouth of choice).

While I was doing this, I opened up a bottle of Fernet-Branca and asked her to smell it, toying with the idea of mixing it into the drink. But Fernet-Branca is one of those things that people either love or hate, so I didn’t want to put it in the drink if she wasn’t going to like it.

She took a sniff, and said “that smells like my childhood!”

Rina went on to talk about her Italian family and their cakes, which, and I agree from my experience with my Italian family, are always covered in delicious icing, but when you get to the cake part, it’s always drenched in liquor to the point that for a child who is craving sugary sweetness, it’s inedible.

So I made her a drink. Tonight, I remade the drink for my mother, who said it was “a better Manhattan.” It’s not as sweet, and the Fernet-Branca is a much more sophisticated flavor than, oh, maraschino cherries.

Here it is for you:

sensory memory

3 oz bourbon (I used Eagle Rare last night, Buffalo Trace tonight)
1 oz red vermouth (Punt E Mes)
1/2 oz Fernet-Branca

–Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice, shake
–Serve in a chilled martini glass

In other proportions, served on the rocks or shaved ice, this is called a Fanciulli Cocktail, but I use a lot more bourbon here. And no ice.

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