Friday, October 1, 2021

Nitty-Gritty (Death & Co. Recipe)


The inventor of this drink says that this cocktail is a riff on the Fifty-Fifty Martini, which is exactly what it sounds like: Half gin and half dry vermouth. What the hell is this, then? Many ingredients, none of them vermouth... If you are making a Martini variation, I don't want to see Benedictine or pear brandy. 

That sounds harsh, though. I really loved this cocktail. It is unusual to see dry Manzanilla and mezcal used in the same drink, much less pear brandy and Benedictine. And the bartender's note was absolutely right. Sometimes a rich-tasting ingredient like mezcal (which is quite dry in texture) mixed with a dry fortified wine like Manzanilla feels too dry to drink. It's like you need sugar to pull apart the wild flavors of mezcal and sherry when they are mixed in these quantities and chilled. And that is why the agave syrup was a brilliant move. 

Pear is also a difficult flavor to detect when searching for it in a dry pear brandy. Agave syrup helps with that, but apple bitters also suggests pie fruits and baked notes. That's what this cocktail finally brings home. It is a pie drink that is on the dry side and perfect for appetizers rather than dessert. 

  • 1 1/2 oz. del Maugey mezcal
  • 1/2 oz. Manzinilla sherry (Orleans used)
  • 1/2 oz. Benedictine
  • 1/2 oz. pear brandy (Catoctin Creek used)
  • 1/2 tsp. agave nectar
  • 1 dash bar coke baked apple bitters
  • 1 dash aromatic bitters (Hella used)
  • lemon twist garnish

Combine all ingredients except twist in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled coupt and garnish with the lemon twist. 

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