Art&Amaretto

For all it’s grandeur it’s built to the human scale. While the tangle of streets,alleys and canals form a maze that can confuse even old-timers,the city is small enough to be comprehensible. You will continue to get lost,but in places that are familiar and welcoming.-p. 29 of No Vulgar Hotel

More cocktails I’m afraid. I had a trial monkey over and decided to make the most of it. And as the Venice Biennale has now begun it seemed like a good idea to make a cocktail named after that habitat on the marshes. But let’s be honest; for me Venice is always “top of mind”. It is one of the most magical places on earth. I’ve visited twice and would love to go back, but we’ll see when it happens. Until then there is plenty to read to take me back.

One of my all time favorite books,Jonathan Strange&Mr Norrell, partly takes place in Venice. In Proust’s epic suit A la recherche de temps perdu the narrator makes a visit. I recently read The passion by Jeanette Winterson which also is set partly there. And many many others. I’ve read more then one book purely because it takes place in that decaying city that has been described as a living museum. My tip for getting a genuin feel for the place is to get up early and move around, have breakfast at a cafe to view people who live and work there. Try to get away from the crowds a bit and visit the outskirts of the city, which given the small size of the plan isn’t that difficult.

A fun read, a bit out of the ordinary, that I picked up on one of my visits is No vulgar hotel by Judith Martin. She is a Venetophile and isn’t afraid to say so(nobody is; a love of Venice is a love that totally dares speak it’s name). With a a dark sense of humor Martin tells the story of Venice and how to make the most of your stay. Somewhere between “A Year in France” and “1066 and all that”, but you know, Venice, is how I would describe it. Byron makes an appearance, obviously.  Martin is American and writes from that perspective, just skim the fist chapter or so where she draws parallels between the US and The Venetian Republic. Or read them, rather interesting actually.

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But the where is the drink I promised? Ah. Most who have visited Italy are familiar with The Spritz; white wine, Aperol or Campari and soda. Very good stuff on a hot day. So called low ABV i.e. low alcohol but very refreshing. Served with olives or crips. This cocktail, the Ventian, comes from a cocktail book I have somewhere. Iused to make it often and feel it’s time to bring it back into my repertoire as Campari is always a good idea and Amaretto has a bad rep despite being a very nice thing to have on the bar cart.

Venetia-cocktail;yields 1 drink

4 cl dry gin

2 cl dry vermouth

1 cl Campari

1cl Amaretto

for serving;

chilled coupette or other cocktail glass

lemonzest

  1. Stir ingredients in an ice-filled mixer glass until chilled.
  2. Pour into the coupette and add the lemon zest.
  3. Enjoy responsibly.

This is a very nice drink with a mix of bitter and sweet. Very refreshing but also potent. On a hot day a spritz is a better option, and if you find yourself in the actual city you may not find this but then a Martin at Harry’S Bar is a nice substitute. For rainy nights when you wish you were somewhere else? This is just the thing.

-Suss

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Because you know vermouth

I’ve had a tear sheet in one of my notebooks for along time, a recipe for making my own sweet vermouth. I finally got around to trying it, and let me tell you, I will never look back.

I’m partial to the cocktails with sweet vermouth; Manhattans,Negronis and the odd Hanky-Panky. But sadly the Swedish state monopoly on alcohol sales, which I mostly endorse, has little to offer in terms of sweet vermouth. They basically have Martini Rosso on the shelves, on occasion something else, and all the brands I would like (Antica,Punt è met etc.) you have to order specifically and it comes with a price tag. In terms of dry vermouth there is no such problem though; Noilly Prat is always stocked(and I’m happy about that).

I did deviate from the recipe I have(which I think is from the cocktail magazine Hotrumcow), I’m confident in my mixology, but feel free to search online for your own recipe; I had a look and there are several out there. The ingredients are easy enough to find in Stockholm; A trip to Systembolaget for the alcohol, Aeter&essence fabriken(and old fashioned spice shop) for the wormwood and chamomile, the local deli will supply the rest. How things are where you live I have no idea but again; the internet is full of answers.

Homemade sweet vermouth;

750 ml bottle of red wine( nothing fancy is necessary)

0,5 teaspoon wormwood

2 cm vanilla bean, slit open

1 teaspoon dried chamomile flowers

1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger

zest of half a lemon

zest of half an orange

4 whole peppercorns

150 grams brown sugar

60 ml cognac (VSO is fine)

  1. Put all the ingredients except the cognac in a pot and slowly bring to the boil.
  2. When boiling,reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat, add the cognac and let infuse for a further 20 minutes.
  4. When it has cooled, strain and pour into a clean bottle and leave it to to cool in the fridge for approx. 12 hours.

This should always be kept in the fridge and will last 3-5 months. You can add further 25 ml of cognac if you want to keep it longer but it is better to make small batches often.

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Now that the vermouth is done, time to make a Negroni. Easy to make, easy to love if you like that mix of sweet and bitter. Campari is not to everyones taste.

Negroni; yields 1 cocktail

3 cl gin

3 cl sweet vermouth

3 cl Campari

for serving;

ice cubes

Tumbler glass

orange slice or zest

  1. Stir the ingredients in a stirring glass until properly chilled.
  2. Pour into the tumbler with ice and garnish with orange.
  3. Serve

The fashion now is for one big ice cube as this will melt slowly and not dilute the cocktail but just keep it chilled. Muji has nice “spheres” for this. It is also easy to make this drink “smaller” as the key to it is the proportions; a third of each ingredient. I sometimes make a really small one for myself using just 1 cl of each.

Enjoy responsibly!

-Suss