Ever since I made the decision to read more books (remember those?), I’ve been diving into some of the backlog of good reads around here. (Well, once I plowed through a formidable stack of New Yorkers…) Every conceivable space in my little office (slash/guest room) and kitchen has stacks and stacks of cookbooks, many of which are bookmarked, with recipes highlighted that I want to try.
I’ve been considering opening up a test kitchen, to get others to help out, because my enthusiasm is tempered only by my ability to cook and bake everything, and clean up, then share everything with folks far and wide. #stress
However there’s only one of me (which a number of people are probably happy about…), and so, so many of them – that for the time being, I’m just going to have to be content to get to all the books and recipes when I can. However when it comes to cocktails, all bets are off.
There is a bunch of interesting cocktail lore as well, and I learned from the book that cocktails had a renaissance during the era of prohibition. It was during a time when people made their own liquors underground, like bathtub gin, and since the taste wasn’t exactly up to snuff, a good number of cocktails were invented so that the taste of the main alcohol could be hidden under a few layers of various mixers.
While les cocktails are enjoying a renaissance once again in Paris, the DIY movement hasn’t quite yet hit the city. Yet from within l’hexagone (aka: France), there’s a terrific gin from Citadel, made within our borders. Still, gin isn’t so popular in France and if you order a martini, ten times out of ten, they’ll bring you a glass of red Martini & Rossi vermouth.
(I was at a pizzeria with a well-regarded bar, and since it was my birthday, I wanted to treat myself to an icy cold martini. And to make sure, I added, “…with gin and vermouth”, to my order. The waiter was perplexed, so I went to speak to the bartender. Of course, he knew exactly what to do, which was a relief – because one of my mottos is “Never order a cocktail from someone who has never heard of it before.”)
I don’t drink gin as much as I used to, which may mean that I’m becoming more French. But I haven’t lost my taste for it and stirred up a batch of Hanky Pankys. (Which some in France are no strangers to.) It’s a terrific summer drink; the little bit of fruitiness from the sweet vermouth counterbalanced by a few dashes of bitter Fernet Branca, makes them go down quite easily. Which you’ll find out, as I did.
I added a dash of orange bitters, which took the edge off the drinks a bit.
- 3 ounces gin
- 3 ounces sweet vermouth
- 3 dashes Fernet Branca
- optional: 2 dashes orange bitters
- 2 strips orange zest
1. Chill 2 cocktail glasses in the freezer.
2. Partially fill a small pitcher with ice. Add the gin, vermouth, Fernet Branca, and orange bitters, if using. Stir well, until the mixture is very cold – about 1 minute.
3. Strain the mixture into the cocktail glasses and garnish with strips of orange zest.