Friday, July 26, 2013

Garden Martini

Inspired by Kevin Liu's recent article about cocktail foams, I wanted to try my hand at one. Perhaps it's all the summer produce, but my cocktail desires have leaned heavily towards fruit and vegetable flavors lately. This drink leans particularly that way, with its blend of vegetable, herb and fruit flavors.

I was also inspired to give Aviation Gin a go, after reading a Harvard Business Journal interview with its maker, House Spirits Distillery's co-owner and CEO Thomas Mooney (both this and the Liu story were in this week's edition of The Feed). In the article, Mooney talks about how Aviation Gin represents their work to create a definitive American cocktail gin. It's also from my birthplace, Portland, Oregon, so I have to give it as fair a shot as I gave Green Hat Gin, made in my current home (Washington, D.C.).

This drink has a nice bitterness from the Cocchi and the fennel, but also a marked sweetness from the liqueur. Although the fennel comes forward at first, as the foam dissipates, the flavors blend quite nicely.

Garden Martini

8-10 lemon basil leaves
3/4 oz. Cocchi Americano (Cocchio Americano is a bittersweet Italian aperitif. Lillet Blanc would be an acceptable substitute, although without the bitterness)
1 1/2 oz. American gin (Aviation Gin)
2 dashes grapfruit bitters
Fennel foam (see recipe below)

Add basil and Cocchi Americano to a cocktail mixing glass and middle. Fill halfway with ice. Add gin and grapefruit bitters. Stir until cold and diluted as desired. Strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass. Top with about 1/2 inch of fennel foam.

Fennel Foam
Inspired by a recipe for Elderflower Foam by MolecularRecipes.Com

200 ml fennel liqueur (Don Ciccio & Figli Finocchietto)
2 grams powdered gelatin

(The guiding recipe I used for this is in metric. A rough conversion: 200 ml is 6.8 ounces or a little more than 3/4 cup. 2 grams of powdered gelatin is just slightly less than a teaspoon.)

Heat the fennel liqueur in a microwave (about 1 minute at 50 percent power). Stir in the gelatin until dissolved (reheat in the microwave at low heat if needed until the gelatin dissolves completely). Allow to cool at room temperature.

Transfer mixture to an ISI whipping siphon. Charge with one N2O (cream) charger. Refrigerate for several hours until cold.

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