The colder it gets, the more punchy I want my cocktails to be. It’s a survival tactic… Yes? In the summer, let’s do juice and muddling and syrups galore. Right now, things are getting dangerously close to two-digit negative temps, so let’s grab a big blanket for our outsides and make a really stiff drink for our insides. This is “take no prisoners” winter living. Thank goodness it’s delicious too.
Old Tom gin, the base for this, is oh-so woodsy, citrus peel-y, and spicy. It’s a perfect counterpart to amaro–and a gentler one like Montenegro works perfectly here. I’d say it mellows and enhances at the same time–crazy, right? As for the bitters, cardamom is a really, really great choice in this scenario (although you could do classic aromatic ones for sure).
I based this on the Martinez cocktail–more about that bad boy here.
Then, naturally, I wanted to call this the Amartinez (Martinez with amaro, GET IT?) but… No. I have serious reservations about connecting anything without vermouth to the martini, however tangentially. So. Martinez = named after a town in the Bay Area. I stuck with that theme.
I’m on a big Jack Kerouac kick (though honestly, I have been since I was like 16) and I just re-read Big Sur for the umpteenth time. It chronicles a very bad experience in a very beautiful place–Big Sur, right on the central coast of California. Particularly, the setting is a cabin in Big Sur, right in the Bixby Canyon, under the famed Bixby Bridge. He calls it Raton Canyon in the novel.
One time, I went there and took a picture. See? Real-life Bixby/novel-life Raton.
I’m supposed to grow out of Kerouac with age/maturity/responsibility, but I think I’m growing IN as I get older. It’s as if that youthful energy speaks even louder when you’re more aware of how fast time flies.
So let’s have a drink. Or do whatever else pleases you. Live and adventure, my friends!
(Meanwhile, here I am, eating Moose Munch popcorn for dinner and refusing to leave my place because it’s just SO COLD out there. I will take my own advice tomorrow.)
- 1 1/2 ounces Ransom (or another brand) Old Tom Gin
- 1 1/2 ounces Montenegro amaro
- 1/4 oz Maraschino liqueur
- A few dashes of cardamom bitters
- Lemon twist, for garnish
- Stir all ingredients with ice except for the garnish.
- Strain into a chilled martini or coupe glass. (Note: the glass pictured was too small for all this. You know, style and all that.)
- Twist lemon garnish over cocktail, drop it in like it's hot.