burying the lede

[by john]

at the risk of living up to my own title, i'll put my point up front: i went to drink last night and tried two new spirits, but had them in cocktails with other ingredients that, well, buried them. lesson learned.

my friend steven is visiting from nyc for the weekend, which is more than occasion for a trip to drink. i was excited to show off boston's best to steven, who had taken me to some great nyc speakeasies last month.

we found perches at the ice peninsula, where misty was holding it down. we held her captive for a while, asking her what she was working on (a lot, it turns out, but no names yet). steven went for the laphroaig-rinsed apple brandy cocktail, with some benedictine and muscovado (molasses-like) simple syrup. my interest was piqued when misty mentioned dolin vermouth (this stuff is hard to get).

the dolin drink was mostly dolin blanc (not your typical cocktail), with smaller amounts of rye and green chartreuse. the effect was intriguing - a pale colored drink with ebbing hints of rye. but the chartreuse (one of my favorite spirits, don't get me wrong) cut through everything, leaving little to taste of the vermouth. we got to try some of the dolin alone, and i think its delicate profile would be more suited towards a gin drink like the marguerite. steven's cocktail, incidentally, was fantastic - the dry, peaty hint of scotch acted as guardrails for the driving, complex sweetness of the rest of the drink.

for our second round, we both went the digestif route to settle our dinners from the south street diner. i had been eyeing the cynar bottle the whole night, having never tried the artichoke-based liqueur. when misty said a ponte vecchio contained equal parts cynar and fernet (the you-drink-it-if-you're-in-the-industry drink), and a bit of citrus, i was sold, on curiosity alone. the fernet's sharp, minty elbow overpowered the body of the cynar, but the drink was easier to sip than a shot of fernet, for sure.

steven, again, chose inspiredly and got an appetizer l'italiene: 2:1 punt e mes to fernet, with dashes of absinthe and simple syrup. the nose on this drink was crazy...sort of savory, reminding me of bacon. the taste, though, was sweet and nicely rounded. cool.

so to set this extended metaphor to rest, the next time i try to discover the story of some new alcohol, i'll have it in a drink that doesn't make me read between the lines.