There is a reason why all classic cocktails have stood the test of time. Liquor heavy drinks can be difficult to perfect, there is little room for error when it comes to flavour pairings and with no mixer to hide behind the liquor is on full show. So changing the base spirit is one of the old classics is a bold move, one which can be very unforgiving. It goes beyond a lot more than just "I prefer spirit X over spirit Y", the new spirit you hoping to use is likely going to have a completely different flavour profile so how will those notes compliment or clash within the build of the drink?
Each element in a cocktails is there specifically to draw out a flavour, if we take away the flavour we are trying to draw out we will get something else, that something else may not always blend with the other components. So it can be a little more tricky when dealing with theses liquor heavy mixes.
Still I challenged myself to see if I could make a martini in the method of an old fashioned. Destined for disaster using 3 heavily aromatic ingredients - bitters, gin and vermouth, the final product certainly packs a punch.
Before even starting selecting the right gin for this mix was the first challenge. Usually I would want to go for something with the most flavour and a full pallet, however given that this mix was already quite heavy I opted for a smoother more subdued gin like Tanqueray. Now this is one of my favourite gins so in no way is that in insult. However, in the modern world where new gin mixes are popping up each more aromatic or full as the next (definitely not complaining), a classic London dry will be considered subdued. The flavours can be hidden or highlighted a lot easier through the manipulation of additive - exactly like we are doing here.
So what really made this drink a challenge was the use of BOTH vermouth and bitters, two extremely aromatic liquors. It would have been easy to only use one, however they each play an important role in their respective drinks the martini and old fashioned, it would be cheating to say I've truly combined the two if I left one out. I've opted for the classic aromatic bitters, however an orange bitters would also work in this mix, 2 drops of bitters with 3 drops of vermouth - to replace the water typically used in an old fashioned. It's important to be extremely light handed with this otherwise the flavours take over and become too potent.
For garnish I've gone with the classic orange peel, along with an orange infused ice cube.
2 drops of aromatic or orange bitters
3 drops of sweet vermouth
60ml London Dry Gin - I chose Tanqueray
Orange Ice cube
In a coupe glass add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, 2 drops of bitters and 3 drops of vermouth.
Stir together until sugar is dissolved
Add ice cube and stir again
Pour gin over ice, stir 5 times to combine. Usually in an old fashioned 3 stirs are enough however in this case you want the extra to infused the orange flavour and slightly dilute the flavour as there is no other water dilution.
Garnish with an orange peel