Archive for June, 2010

Newsletter: Issue 4

Posted in Newsletters on June 18, 2010 by ocbc-admin

Bartender’s Cabinet
Issue 4
June 2010
Summer is nearly upon us! As we all put our sweaters and jackets into storage and prepare to spend a lot more time in shorts and sandals, we also look at drink menus becoming more tropical and whimsical with Mai Tais, Daiquiris, Swizzles and Margaritas leading the way.
About: Bartender’s Cabinet is about educating bartenders and enthusiasts of great spirits and cocktails about using fresh ingredients and quality spirits for better tasting cocktails. We are also about having a good time through interacting with those who share enthusiasm for tasty beverages.
Logistical Information: Bartender’s Cabinet meets monthly at 320 Main in Seal Beach. Contact regarding membership.
Previous Meeting: Julie Gino from Infinium Spirits brought us not one, not two, not even three products from the Infinium line-up of great liquors, but the entirety of Infinium’s offerings. Crystal Head Vodka, Casa Noble Tequila, Fernet Branca, Punt e Mes and Carpano Antica are just some of the fabulous samples that were available for attendees to learn about and sample.
Forrest shares his insight on a few of these amazing spirits.
Antonio Benedetto Carpano was 22 years old when he invented vermouth.
While working in a cafe in Turin, Italy, Antonio played and experimented with wine by adding more than 30 different herbs and spices through fortification and infusion until he landed on the recipe we know as Carpano Antica.
His experiments and subsequent discovery were so well received that shortly thereafter his cafe had to stay open twenty-four hours a day to keep up with the demand for this new beverage – vermouth. By every known account, Antonio was a man of culture, a man of poetry – passionate in particular for the poetry of Goethe – which I assume is why he named his new and highly popular aromatized wine after a German wine with added wormwood. Vermouth is named for the German word for wormwood —Wermuth (wermut in Modern German).
A secondary effect of Antonio’s new beverage was the invention of the apéritif. So by twenty-two years old he had invented Vermouth and created a popular craze that is still being observed the world over almost 195 years after he passed from this world. All of this done about eighty years before Italy was unified, in a little cafe, by a driven and gifted man in his early twenties.
A rosso (red) vermouth, Carpano Antica Formula leads with dry, earthy aromas of flowers, citrus zest, grass, caramel and dried fruits. The flavors are deep, layered and sumptuous, with creamy, vanilla and butterscotch evolving into daedal herbs and elegant, earthy spice. The palate begins sweet, but by the finish it has articulated a level of complex richness that lingers with sparkling restatements of yummy spices. This is an amazing aperitivo, will convert any hater of vermouth and makes a brilliant cocktail.

Blue Boy (from
1.5 oz light rum
.75 oz Carpano Antica
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash orange bitters
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain.
Serve in a cocktail glass.

In that same Turin cafe, a stock broker called out for a vermouth with a half-dose of bitters added using the term from the trading floor— the concoction that evolved was Carpano’s Punt e Mes (Piedmontese for “point and a half”).
Punt e Mes is the rich color of coffee, based on white wine aromatized with a secret recipe of dozens of herbs and spices. The mild, inviting aroma only begins to reveal the lovely bold flavors to come. With spectacular palate articulation Punt e Mes starts nicely sweet and builds briskly to a wonderful, complex bitterness. The range and movement of these flavors are enticing – the best of a sweet vermouth with the added intricacies of a delicate amari. This is also exquisite as an aperitivo – especially when coupled with an orange slice.
This is a game changer in a cocktail – perfect in an Americano, a Negroni, a Fair and Warmer or an Old Pal.

Old Pal (from
1.5 oz rye
0.5 oz Punt e Mes
0.5 oz grenadine
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain.
Serve in a cocktail glass.
Italian Peach Tea (created by Juan Alvarez)
2.5 oz Peach Tea Vodka
3 oz Carpano Antica
0.25 oz Punt e Mes
1.5 oz Lime Juice
3 oz Orange Juice
Shake with ice and pour into a tall glass filled with ice.
Top with soda and garnish with slices of orange, lime and lemon.

Fernet Branca was created in 1845 from a secret recipe that has never been disclosed, held by the family and unchanged with time. Fernet will cure what ails you; it is a perfect drink to start off or prolong an evening’s pleasure.
The key to the unique, unmistakable flavor is the result of the highest quality ingredients: at least twenty-seven herbs harvested from four different continents, macerated and infused then laid in oak casks for at least a year. The known ingredients include aloe, gentian root, rhubarb, gum myrrh, red cinchona, Columbus, galangal, zedoary, saffron, mint and citrus.
The aromas are bitter and earthy. You smell grasses and fields and wild flowers all crashing in on you. There is also minty camphor, gentian, cinnamon and a multitude of more delicate scents to be discovered and enjoyed.
The flavors are explosively huge and giving. ―Bitter” is an unfair way to describe it because of the negative connotations of the word, but that is what it is – big, bitter, complex, and dry. The flavors follow the aromas and are as difficult to pick out. Fernet Branca is perfect as a digestivo and a powerful trick in a tasty beverage such as Jason Schiffer’s The Devil’s Own.

The Devil’s Own (created by Jason Schiffer)
1.5 oz Zaya Rum
0.5 oz Fernet Branca
0.25 oz Gran Gala
1 barspoon Demerara Vanilla Syrup
Stir with ice & strain into a glass that has been rinsed/coated with absinthe.
Add a twist of lemon and discard the peel.