Will that be pebbles with your martini?

on 30/01/11 at 1:06 pm

Spirits

Not long ago, I wrote about inexperienced bartenders who have been creating nonsense cocktails and taking themselves far too seriously for my liking. I’ll stand by my words on that subject, but at the same time I’ve got to say that I’m so darned impressed at the innovations in the craft that I’ve seen coming from bartenders who understand how to put ingredients together in harmonious, ingenious ways.

Balsamic vinegar, for instance, is being used by more than a couple of cocktail masters. Brad Farran at the Clover Club in Brooklyn makes his Strawberry Blonde cocktail with a strawberry muddled with freshly ground black pepper, white rum, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white, grenadine, and a bar spoon of white balsamic vinegar. It’s a brilliantly balanced drink.

Anthony DeSerio uses balsamic in the Bloody Marys at Aspen, a bar and restaurant in Old Saybrook, Conn., and Bradford Scott Knutson at the Swing Wine Bar in Olympia, Wash., adds it to cognac.

In London, at Mark’s Bar in Hix, bartender Francesco Turrini is being innovative in a different direction. He soaks porous pebbles in Pedro Ximenez sherry for a week, stores them in a freezer, then places two or three of the pebbles in the bottom of an old-fashioned glass, and covers them with 23-year-old Ron Zacapa rum. The name of the drink? On The Rocks, of course.

The use of porous pebbles in cocktails and mixed drinks, I discovered, is not a new trick at all. Turrini told me that he got the idea when he heard that people in the 1950s in search of the driest gin martini possible, soaked stones in dry vermouth, placed them in the bottom of glasses and filled the glasses with chilled gin.

{Full story via SF Chronicle}

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