This month’s Mixology Monday is hosted by Natalie “The Liquid Muse” Bovis-Nelsen, who has chosen the rather interesting topic of cocktail pairings, or finding cocktails and food that work particularly well together. This presented an interesting challenge to me as I tend to drink wine when dining, leaving cocktails for after-dinner, afternoons and, well, every other time except when I’m eating!
I decided that I would try to find, or adapt, a cocktail to work with one of my favourite meals – salmon wrapped in Parma ham with a basil vinaigrette. I don’t consider myself particularly gifted in the kitchen, but I do enjoy cooking for friends and this dish has always been received well. Typically I serve it with a nice crisp Pinot Grigio, which works nicely with the food, so I wanted to find something with vaguely similar characteristics.
Gin seemed appropriate, as did vermouth. A Martini was the first thing that sprang to mind, however I didn’t want the strength that a classic Dry Martini brings – to work with the food it needed to be toned down a little. I ended up combining Noilly Prat dry vermouth and Noilly Ambre with some Hendrick’s gin to create what I can only call, given my lack of imagination when it comes to naming things, a Martini Variation.
- 1¼ shots gin
- 1 shot dry vermouth
- ¾ shot Noilly Ambre
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- Stir well with ice and strain in to a cocktail glass. Garnish with an lemon twist.
Although I’m not 100% happy with the way the drink works with the food, this cocktail is by no means a bad one. The hefty presence of vermouth ensures it is a relatively light drink, and the slightly sweet nature of the Noilly Ambre also helped keep the gin from dominating. I wouldn’t call it a perfect pairing, but it’s definitely something I would like to refine and experiement with further.
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