One of the great things about having a blog here on FineCooking.com is that it gives me an excuse to make all the recipes in my over-stuffed "Cocktails To Try" folder that is filled with scraps of paper and print-outs from the internet. Sometimes the drinks are disappointing when I finally get around to whipping them up at home, but more often than not the drinks that look delicious turn out to be so.
Take the Strawmellier, a cocktail that won the "Mixologists Choice" award for an Akvinta vodka competition back in 2009. I found the recipe circled in my folder and finally made it at home this week. It contains vodka, honey, lemon juice, and strawberries - a combination sure to be good. But what drew me to the drink was the extra ingredients - a splash of sweet red vermouth and a couple dashes of orange bitters.
These ingredients, used only in small quantities, give this cocktail a wonderful and mysterious spin. Had I not known what was in it before tasting it I may not have identified the extra ingredients by name, but could tell it was a drink with some extra zip. The vermouth and bitters add a bit of ambiguity (Is it wine? Is it vinegar?) to an otherwise tasty but straightforward cocktail.
A touch of mystery makes both cocktails and life more interesting.
By Julian De Ferral of Bureau and Lutyens in London
1.25 fl. oz. Akvinta Vodka
.5 fl. oz. Sweet Red Vermouth
.5 fl. oz. Honey Syrup (Equal parts honey and hot water to make it pourable)
.3 fl. oz. Lemon Juice
2 Dashes Orange Bitters
1.5 Medium-Sized Strawberries
Muddle the strawberries in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a strawberry.