Mixology Monday: Fortified Wines

Though the tradition was on hiatus for a few months, Frederic from Cocktail Virgin Slut has thankfully revived Mixology Monday. Hosting for January is Jordan Devereaux of Chemistry of the Cocktail. The theme is fortified wines:

These wines held an important place in the ur-cocktails of punch and have continued on in cocktails proper, the personal punches of the past several hundred years. Though less common nowadays, sherry, port, and, to a lesser extent, madeira and marsala, all find their way into various mixed drinks. [...] For this month’s Mixology Monday, I’d like to see what you all can do with these versatile wines.

Working at Metrovino, where the cocktail list is always in the shadow of our massive selection of wines by the glass, mixing with fortified wines comes naturally. From Sherry Cobblers at brunch to the PX Flip for dessert, cocktails made with sherry or port appear frequently on our menus.

The Adonis is not one from our list, but it’s one of the most pleasing aperitif drinks I know. Its recipe is given in The Savoy and I believe dates from the 1800s.

1 1/2 oz dry sherry
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
orange peel, for garnish

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with an orange peel.

For a bit more background, also see my article from Culinate about sherry cocktails or check the sherry category of this site’s cocktail archive.

Sherry cocktails at Culinate

px-flip

My latest column at Culinate gives a little sherry 101 and suggests three ways to mix with it, along with the newest addition to the Metrovino menu, the PX Flip:

2 oz. Pedro Ximinez Sherry
1/2 oz. Angostura bitters
1 whole egg

Shake hard with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg. For the sherry I suggest the Lustau San Emilio PX, which is balanced by more acidity than some other PX sherries.

Sherry has appeared in a few other cocktails on this site, including the Decatur, Walking Spanish, and the Two Item Rule.

Hail the Wale and the Two Item Rule

two-item-rule-small

Long time readers know that I have a possibly unhealthy love of corduroy fabric. I have corduroy pants, jackets, and hats. Even my laptop case is lined in corduroy, which was a big selling point for me when I bought it. When I first considered moving to Portland from Washington, DC I thought, “That is a city with a relaxed sense of fashion and many cool rainy days. I could probably wear a lot of corduroy there.”

In some sense every day is a day to appreciate corduroy, but in another sense there is only one true Corduroy Appreciation Day, as declared by the venerable Corduroy Appreciation Club. That is 11|11, the date that most resembles corduroy. And this Friday being 11|11|11, it is the date that most resembles corduroy, ever. (Except for 11|11|1111, but I’m pretty sure the people of that time had yet to discover essential comforts like modern medicine, indoor plumbing, and finely waled fabrics.)

Corduroy Appreciation Club founder Miles Rohan has planned an amazing series of celebratory happenings in New York this week, including the installation of the Corduroy Messiah. Unfortunately I cannot be there. However I have teamed up with Portland’s The Hop and Vine to organize a celebration of our own. From 5-8 pm this Friday, The Hop and Vine’s new chef will be serving a special menu of twists on food from the Golden Age of Corduroy, with items such as smoked pork, beef, and lamb Swedish meatballs. We’ll also have a special Two Item Rule cocktail for the occasion, named after the Two Item Rule in effect at the Club’s official meetings. Wear one item of Corduroy, get a dollar off. Wear two items and get two. Wear three and, well, you still only get two dollars off, but you will have won the admiration of all who gaze you upon you.

What’s in a Two Item Rule cocktail? In a nod to the fabric’s reportedly English origins, I aimed to use only English or English-inspired ingredients to create a drink as smooth and lush as corduroy itself. It features the very lightly sweetened Old Tom style gin, authentic sloe gin, and cream sherry, a type of sherry originally targeted to the British market.

1 1/2 oz Ransom Old Tom gin
1 oz Dios Baco cream sherry
3/4 oz Plymouth sloe gin

Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist. The Dios Baco cream sherry is not too sweet, so adjust the recipe if using a different sherry. And definitely use real sloe gin, not the cloying artificial stuff from the liquor store’s bottom shelf. Consume while wearing at least two items of corduroy or while reclining on a corduroy couch.

If you’re in Portland, join us this Friday to toast the world’s greatest fabric. Details are here. For last minute corduroy needs, Bonobos and Betabrands make good stuff. And be sure to check out the official page of the Corduroy Appreciation Club for all things corduroy.

Hail the Wale!

Walking Spanish

walking_spanish

Here’s the other cocktail on the Metrovino menu based on the Alto Cucina, with the wine element toned down a bit to compensate for the strong flavors of amontillado sherry:

1 oz Bols Genever
3/4 oz amontillado sherry
1/2 oz Cardamaro
1/2 oz St. Germain

Stir, strain, and serve up with an orange twist.

A friend of mine likes to contrast my drinks with those of another bartender in town, Kelley Swenson at June. Mine often tend to be big, in your face, cocktail geek-type drinks. Kelley’s are subtle and wonderfully complex. He has an amazing touch for harmoniously layering flavors. I can’t always pull that off, but the ingredients come together really well on this one, and I like to think of it as Kelley Swenson-style drink.

The name comes from the Tom Waits song, which few customers recognize but I love it when they do. “Walking Spanish” is used as slang for the prisoner’s stoic final walk on Death Row, or more generally for going somewhere unpleasant against one’s will. Or as Waits explains it:

Walking Spanish is an expression they use when you don’t want to go somewhere. It’s 5:30 in the morning and the baby just woke you up screaming and you drag yourself out of bed, you’re walking Spanish. Somebody says, “Listen, buddy, give me all your money.” and your hand goes back around toward your wallet, you’re walking Spanish, you don’t want to go. Walking the plank, basically, walking Spanish is walking the plank.

As a personal joke then it might have been better to use this name on some kind of Lemon Drop variant, since I’d be walking Spanish every time someone orders it, but the tie-in to sherry came to me first.

Big Bottom debut

BBW

I was recently hired by Big Bottom, a new independent whiskey bottler and soon-to-be distiller based outside of Portland, Oregon, to come up with a few cocktails for their debut product. Their first is a nice 3-year old Indiana bourbon with a high percentage of rye in the mash bill. The second is a 2-year bourbon finished in tawny port casks, a unique whiskey that will be available soon.
For the cocktails we focused on classics like the Seelbach and Boulevardier, but I also came up with one spirit-forward original for them, named the Decatur in a nod to the spirit’s Indiana origins:

2 oz Big Bottom bourbon
.75 oz fino sherry
.5 oz Cynar
.25 oz Chartreuse
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash chocolate bitters

Stir with ice and serve up.

Check out the rest of the drinks here, and look for Big Bottom on the Oregon market soon. (The name, but the way, is not a reference to the Spinal Tap song. It’s in honor of the Big Bottom protected wilderness area near Mt. Hood.)