This month’s Mixology Monday is hosted by Lindsey at Brown Bitter and Stirred, and the theme is… Brown, Bitter and Stirred. As a lover of spiritous drinks, aged liquor and bitters (potable or not), I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take my second foray into the MxMo crowd.
The cocktail that first came to mind was the Fritz, a virtually unknown but masterful tipple crafted by bartender Ryan Lotz of Lineage in Boston. I encountered it on the excellent blog cocktail virgin slut, of late my favourite resource for finding interesting drink recipes, and was intrigued by its heavy use of Peychaud’s bitters. I’d made cocktails with enormous amounts of Angostura bitters before, but Peychaud’s is a whole different animal, with a more spacious, less spicy profile. Whilst not entirely fitting with the month’s theme as no aged liquor has been used, it’s certainly a stirred and bitter treat. And well, Punt e Mes is pretty brown, don’cha think?
- Junipero Gin (I used Tanqueray 47.3%)
- Maraschino Liqueur (Maraska)
- Punt e Mes
- Peychaud’s Bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled rocks glass and garnish with orange peel.
On tasting, the Fritz was readily identifiable as an oddball cousin of the Negroni. Aromas are of orange oil, candied fruit, floral perfume, and the distinct cherry-anise of Peychaud’s bitters. A rounded candy cherry and christmas fruitcake sweetness comes first on the palate, followed by a hollower structure of lifted mintiness paired with a deep bitterness and astringency. This structure lingers and lingers in the aftertaste, with traces of dusty Peychaud’s anise.
Cocktail virgin slut mentioned that the creator of the drink suggested substituting Sweet Vermouth with a dash of Campari if lacking Punt e Mes; I think this would give very different results, due to the lack of powerful menthol in most vermouths. Carpano Antica Formula would be the closest vermouth match, as it’s got a similar flavour profile to Punt e Mes and a bit of mint to it. It could be interesting to try the drink with the Carpano Antica and a dash of Fernet Branca too…
But that discussion is moot, as I don’t have Carpano Antica or Fernet Branca, and the drink in its original form, with Punt e Mes, is already a real masterpiece of a cocktail!