Fernet Fascination 2: Fernet and White Dog

There are a dearth of cocktails containing Fernet-Branca. How do I know this? My previous Fernet post is far and away the most popular post I’ve written; at the time of this writing it has 3,829 views while the homepage has 2,226. As such, I feel it behooves me to create some more.

A search on CocktailDB yields 28 results. The easiest entry point for the uninitiated is the Fanciulli (sometimes Franciulli) cocktail. Essentially a Manhattan with Fernet in place of the Angostura bitters, I find myself making this more often than the traditional Manhattan. (My Fanciulli recipe is 2oz rye, 1oz sweet vermouth, 1/4oz Fernet.)

Looking through the rest of CocktailDB’s Fernet cocktail listings, I notice that many of them consist of spirit, sweet vermouth and Fernet. As Fernet is a bit of a bully, I sought to find an spirit that could stand up to it. The answer is unaged white whiskey, aka white dog. With it’s bold flavor, the white dog isn’t overwhelmed and definitely holds its own.

Dog Will Hunt
1.5 oz white dog (House Spirits)
.5 oz Fernet-Branca
.5 oz sweet vermouth (Martini & Rossi)
1 bar spoon 2:1 rich Demerara syrup
Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with orange peel. 

I should note that the white dog I used is 100 proof. If you use a lower proof whiskey, like Woodinville Headlong or Death’s Door, increase to 2oz. Also white dogs vary widely in flavor, perhaps more so than aged whiskeys which are mellowed by the wood. The House Spirits white dog is 100% barley, thus its flavor is unique among unaged whiskeys.

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Happy Holidays!

For Christmas Eve I’m making up a batch of what I think is one of the best fireside drinks, the Star Cocktail. I take a couple liberties with my variation, but it’s what tastes best to me and delightfully simple.

Star Cocktail
1.5 oz applejack (Laird’s)
1.5 oz sweet vermouth (Martini & Rossi)
1.5 dashes each Angostura & Peychaud’s bitters
Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with lemon peel. 

You’re probably thinking, “How do I get 1.5 dashes of bitters?” You make two cocktails at once and double all of the quantities. The original recipe calls for 3 dashes of Angostura or Peychaud’s, but I see no reason not to use both; the spices in the bitters add to that fireside feeling. I’ve also tried this with Laird’s bonded apple brandy and syrup and found it lacking. Somehow the applejack with its neutral spirits makes this drink better.

However you decide to make it, or whatever you are having, happy holidays to you and yours.

Rattan Cocktail & Last Gasp

I can’t overemphasize my love for Cocchi Americano. Regardless of appropriateness, it’s one the first ingredients I reach for when I’m creating new cocktails and variations. Here, I’ve tinkered with two of the most iconic cocktails, the Manhattan and Martini/Martinez. I’ve got them all Cocchi-ed up and also fancied or improved (I can never remember which is which) with some pastis.

The whiskey variation is almost a cross between a Manhattan and a Sazerac. Actually, the most similar thing I could find at CocktailDB was the Satan Cocktail. Garble those three names together enough and you kind of get the…

Rattan Cocktail
2oz rye (Bulleit)
1oz Cocchi Americano
dash Angostura bitters
dash Peychaud’s bitters
absinthe or pastis (Legendre Herbsaint)
Stir rye, Cocchi and bitters with ice, strain into a chilled, absinthe/pastis rinsed cocktail glass and garnish with lemon peel.

Switching the rye for gin, the Angostura for orange bitters and the lemon peel for orange peel gets you the…

Last Gasp
2oz London dry gin (Beefeater)
1oz Cocchi Americano
dash Regan’s #6 orange bitters
dash Peychaud’s bitters
absinthe or pastis (Legendre Herbsaint)
Stir gin, Cocchi and bitters with ice, strain into a chilled, absinthe/pastis rinsed cocktail glass and garnish with orange peel.

To find out why this one is so named, inhale sharply through your mouth after swallowing a sip.

Don’t cry. Dry your eye.

Bulleit makes a rye whiskey now. That’s good news. We like rye. Bulleit bourbon has one of the highest rye contents of any bourbon (28%) and in a pinch, it’s a decent rye substitute. But now there’s Bulleit rye. With rye making up 95% of the mash bill, you won’t confuse it with bourbon.

I’d been toying with a cocktail that was somewhere between the El Presidente and a Sazerac. It wasn’t coming out right. The Missus and I concluded that the problem was that we were using a relatively weak 80-proof rye. Say hello to Bulleit rye and quit yer cryin’.

No More Tears
1.5 oz rye (Bulleit)
.75 oz dry vermouth (Martini & Rossi)
.25 oz triple sec (Royal Combier)
.5 tsp absinthe or pastis (Legendre Herbsaint)
Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with orange peel. 

The combination of the pastis and dry vermouth make this is a very dry cocktail.

Cherry + Heering = Cheering.

Cherry Heering is another ingredient that I’m late to the party in utilizing. It’s a Danish cherry liqueur used in many classic cocktails including the Singapore Sling, Blood & Sand and one of my favorites, Remember the Maine.

When approaching the creation of a Heering cocktail, I decided first that my base spirit would be gin. Originally, I used what we call around here the Boudreau ratio. While the results were pleasing, I found it didn’t quite fill my cocktail glasses and coupes quite enough.  I also tried Punt e Mes as the vermouth component. Creating the drink in July, this proved a bit too wintry. (Remind me to try it again in 6 months.) I thought dry vermouth, but I didn’t want a cherry flavored martini. My solution was to go the perfect route, which in cocktails is equal parts sweet and dry vermouth. Hence:

Perfect Hearing Perfect Hearing
2 oz London dry gin (Bombay Dry)
½ oz sweet vermouth (Martini & Rossi Rosso)
½ oz dry vermouth (Martini & Rossi Extra Dry)
2 teaspoons Cherry Heering
Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with orange peel.