September 4, 2009

Appropriately, it's a short drink...

Tonight I feature a new ingredient for the blog, one that'd read about for months on end, but until lately, have not tried. It's called Dubonnet, and like vermouth, it's a fortified wine. Unlike vermouth, however, it contains quinine, which makes it a quinquina. Among the fortifying spices and flavorings in Dubonnet Rouge, the red variety that's by far the most common, are chamomile, cinnamon, orange zest, and unroasted coffee beans. (I must tip my hat to Tim, of the previously-mentioned Ginger Bitters blog for turning me on to the existence of this drink in the first place, as well as his helpful information on Dubonnet. If all bars were like the New Zealand bar he manages, the drinking scene would be vastly improved. As ever, Cheers, Tim!)

So, this drink is sort of a kissing cousin to the Fifth Avenue Variation I mixed up last month; gin based, has a little Fernet Branca backing up the fortified wine, but instead of dry vermouth, we've got a sweeter Dubonnet taking up that role, and some citrus is added with the inclusion of orange curaçao (I used a good triple-sec, a.k.a. white curaçao, but Cointreau or Grand Marnier could work, as well.) Furthermore, this drink is first and foremost a gin drink...there's four times as much gin as the other ingredients combined. Despite that, there's still a remarkable complexity to it... Here's how it's made:
The Napoleon Cocktail

60 ml (about 2 ounces) London dry gin
5 ml (about 1 teaspoon) Dubonnet rouge
5 ml (about 1 teaspoon) Fernet Branca
5 ml (about 1 teaspoon) orange curaçao/triple-sec/Cointreau/Grand Marnier

Combine all ingredients with ice, stir well to combine, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe.
Thanks to the properties of the Fernet and the Dubonnet, this is really an ideal after-dinner drink, for calming down the stomach and kicking the digestion of the meal into gear, a traditional digestif/digestivo. As I said it's a remarkably complex drink, but a very enjoyable one. Dubonnet is remarkably inexpensive, so go get a bottle and start playing around with it.

The Napoleon Cocktail


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