Hog Town Toddy

HogTownToddyIt’s winter and the living room doesn’t have as much insulation as one might like, so it’s time for hot toddies. I was in the mood for more bitter than refreshing, so I took some inspiration from the Toronto cocktail, but decided I wanted a rounder feel so replaced the usual simple & bitters with Drambuie to good effect.

2.0 oz rye whiskey (Old Overholt)
0.5 oz Drambuie
0.25 oz Fernet Branca
4 oz hot water
Add everything to a mug, no need to even stir

The first impression was warming, naturally, but it held up just fine even as it cooled. The sweetness plus mint gives it an after-dinner quality, but not cloying. Don’t overdo the Fernet! This toddy was pleasantly medicinal sipper with a lingering complexity, but more mint would have been unappealing. Despite the abundance of whiskey, it doesn’t feel boozy, so it’s a good thing that other elements slow you down.

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Scalia’s Tears

Scalia's Tears_smallerOver the last week, several online discussions I’ve seen have brought up to the concept of “drinking Scalia’s tears” (cf. South Park‘s Cartman), and what the appropriate cocktail instantiation of this is. At least one bar in Chicago has such a creation on the menu already! I didn’t have any Malört handy, so I tweaked a recipe from KathrynT on MetaFilter:

2 oz    rye whiskey (Rittenhouse)
0.25 oz Fernet Branca
0.25 oz orange liqueur (Cointreau)
3 drops saline solution
splash  soda water

Stir all but soda, strain, and serve on the rocks
Top with the seltzer

The drink was nicely balanced with the small amount of salt helping round out some of the herbal notes but did not actually give it a salty character. A salt rim was considered, but the drink wasn’t sour enough to make that work. It was definitely more popular than the other signature drink at Saturday’s party, the “King v. Burwell Majority Opinion”, but that was just a shot glass full of pure applesauce…

Fernet’s Last Theorem

Fernet's Last Theorem, flanked by previous attempts at theorems

My friend Ash came up with a bad math pun involving Fernet and Fermat. A drink had to be made and a Last Word variant seemed like a good choice. Finally after months of talking about the bad idea over drinks, we got down to actually mixing up some possibilities. We considered replacing the gin with bourbon and even cachaça, replacing the lime with lemon, and even excluding the Chartreuse altogether. On our 5th try, we settled on something close to the original, but worthy of the name.

0.75 oz  Fernet (Branca)
0.75 oz  gin (New Amsterdam)
0.75 oz  Maraschino
0.75 oz  lime Juice
0.375 oz Green Chartreuse

One thing that became clear in testing is that the Chartreuse was necessary to tame the bite of the Fernet a bit and get it to play well with the rest of the drink. The lime juice also helped settle it, the bite from the lemon juice and the bite from the Fernet were too much and fought one another—in your mouth. The lime and Chartreuse combo work with the Fernet and not against it. The New Amsterdam is nicely inoffensive and mixes well, but the bourbon and cachaça masked the Fernet.

The drink starts off bright and then mellows with some sweetness and then ends with a lime/mint aftertaste that is not overpowering. It’s refreshing and sour, but surprisingly balanced. Also, it doesn’t come off at all medicinal (save a bit in the aftertaste), which is surprising given the amount of herbal here. A Last Word variant I’ll definitely make again!