- On December 23, 2015
Last week we gave you a few examples of great gifts for this holiday season, and this week we’d like to give you some more! We’ve done the dark, now let’s move on to the clear.
Loved one takes their martini extra dirty? Oh my! (Read that in George Takei’s voice please) Some might think of vodka as a spirit that is without character. A flavorless, colorless, odorless beverage meant to intoxicate but leave no trace behind. I’m sure we’ve all had a bottle or two sitting in our freezer at one time or another. But that’s just one side of the vodka coin. Vodka need not be elaborately filtered through layers of diamond and double rainbows. You also probably don’t need to see an ad for it during the half time report on Sunday Night Football. It just needs to taste good! The best part? You don’t need to spend a million bucks to sip on vodka with great flavor and no BS! Modest Vodka, produced at Yahara Bay distillery in Wisconsin (in collaboration with Bittercube), is everything you want in a vodka without the stuff you don’t need. It is a 100% corn (read: gluten free), copper pot distilled spirit filtered through charcoal and proofed down with reverse osmosis water. It is crisp, clean, elegant and unabashed. Perfect for dirty, dirty martinis and with enough flavor that your vodka rocks will actually taste like something! No frills, all thrills. ($17.49/1L)
Have you had a million martinis, and want a change pace? Let us introduce you to the classic Martinez. Often thought of as the missing link between the Manhattan and the Martini, you get the best of both worlds with this cocktail. Combine gin and sweet vermouth and you get a cocktail that is surprisingly nuanced without being overly rich or complicated. Each person will have their subjective preference in building this cocktail, but our recipe is pretty standard. Before we get to that, let’s talk about the gin we will be using. Classic recipes call for an Old Tom gin, and that’s our go to as well. Ransom Old Tom gin is about as true to form as modern Old Toms can be. Developed in collaboration with David Wondrich (he’s back!), this gin uses 85% malted barley and 15% unmalted as its base wort, which is then married with a high proof corn spirit that has been infused with the botanicals. This combo is then rum through an Alembic pot still to capture as much of the aromatics as possible. The spirit has a flavor that is subtly malty and sweet without going overboard. The botanicals are pretty straightforward: juniper berries, orange peel, lemon peel, coriander seed, cardamom pods, and angelica root. All are Certified Organic. After all this, it rests in used French Oak wine barrels for 6-8 months, giving it color, weight and depth of flavor. There is a great citrus zest to it, as well as resinous pine and warm spices. (34.99/750ml)
Now, on to the recipe you’ve patiently been waiting for:
- 2 oz Ransom Old Tom Gin
- 1 oz Carpano Antica vermouth
- 1/8 oz Luxardo Maraschino
- 2 dashes Bittercube Orange bitters
- Garnish: lemon disc
Instructions: Combine all ingredients in pint or mixing glass half filled with ice and stir. Express and garnish with lemon disc.
We discussed a rum out of left field last week, now let’s examine a rum almost as improbable. Distilled since 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by an ex-CIA agent using all organic, high-grade molasses, Twisted Path certainly blazes its own trail. Forgoing the usual Blackstrap molasses used in rum, which is usually cut with granulated sugar to up its alcohol yield, distiller Brian Sammons chose a molasses with a higher residual sugar content that had as little processing as possible. When you start with a product like that which has more of the original flavors left in it, the resultant rum has a certain “green” quality to it. This can be referred to as “hogo”, which means “high flavor” and was used in the past to refer to game meats and their inherent flavors. In rum, we use this term to refer to an herbaceousness or earthy, funky quality of the spirit. The purest expression of that flavor comes forth in the unaged rum he produces. None of his rum is chill-filtered, leaving as many flavor compounds and proteins in the spirit as possible. Bottled at 90 proof, it is perfect for cocktails but drinks great neat. ($31.99/750ml)