passing and punting

[by john]

i passed my third and final qualifying exam last week, marking not only the start of my candidacy for a phd, but, more notably, the end of a horrendous month of extreme teetotalism. what better way to celebrate than beers, bourbon, burgers, and a trip to craigie for tom's cocktails? in response to my plea for a drink to erase volumes of astrophysical trivia, he whipped up some strange stepchild of a recipe, which included galliano, rye, tequila, and becherovka. whoa. uncanny light color, foreign flavor, and all too drinkable.

now, as i predicted before, my budget fared well in the month of may. that means i can give myself a $100 present for jumping through that flaming, spinning, glass-shard-encrusted academic hoop.

first on the list: punt e mes. this guy was (still is) the darling vermouth of boston bartenders for a while, and for good reason. it blows the socks off of martini & rossi. i just picked up a bottle this evening at the wine and cheese cask (where mike got his bottle) on my bike ride home from lab. they also had both kinds of dolin vermouth there, so i might have to go back...

to break in the bottle, i decided to give it a spin in one of my all time favorite cocktails, the cocktail à la louisiane:
cocktail à la louisiane

1 oz rye [rittenhouse]
1 oz benedictine
1 oz italian vermouth [punt e mes]
1 barspoon absinthe [st. george]
1/2 barspoon bitters

stir with cracked ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
the punt e mes has a gentle bitter finish, so i was most curious to see how that would play in the drink. and, voila, it shows through! first, it races to cut the sweet benedictine, then, after the absinthe has had its say, it outlasts with its bitter end. the punt e mes added a layer and a half to this already multifaceted drink. in retrospect, the m&r was only filler.

well, next on that list: st. germain (now that it's popular and can be found in every liquor store), cherry heering, greylock gin (a local distiller), and maybe galliano, four roses bourbon, another rye, bonded applejack, and who knows what else. the burden of choice!

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