It’s been a little while since I last managed to take part in a Mixology Monday but when I saw this month’s MxMO, hosted by Sam over at Cocktailians, was on the subject of vermouth I knew I had to take part. Vermouth is a spirit close to my heart – some of my favourite cocktails like the Manhattan and Martinez make good use of it, and when I’m looking for a simple drink that isn’t going to get me tipsy a nice vermouth on the rocks is hard to beat.
The drink I’ve chosen this month uses one of my favourite vermouths – Antica Formula. Rich, deep and complex, Antica Formula is really hard to beat when mixing up a lot of classic drinks. It combines wonderfully with rye in a Manhattan, and as I learned in the Guyana Manhattan also pairs well with Demerara. Knowing this, when I first saw the recipe for the Coin Toss by Phil Ward of Death & Co. I was eager to try it, until I saw that it called for The Scarlet Ibis – a rum that wasn’t available here in the UK.
Scarlet Ibis is a small-batch rum made using stocks of three to five year-old Trinidad rums for Haus Alpenz, a speciality alcohol importer who bring all kinds of great products from Crème de Violette to Batavia Arrak in to the US. The rum was specially made for Death & Co., one of my favourite bars in New York, and indeed the world, who wanted a higher proof rum that could be used for mixing without loosing its oomph.
Happily Eric Seed hasn’t left us out in the cold over on this side of the pond and Hauz Alpenz recently started being distributed here in the UK, so I could finally get hold of The Scarlet Ibis easily. On its own the Scarlet Ibis doesn’t hide its strength – from the nose to the finish the rum is packed with alcohol and heat but thankfully this is also met with a delicious funkiness as well as lots of florals and a fair amount of sweetness. Something of an assault on the senses this isn’t a rum I think I’ll be sipping neat while contemplating life, but it’s definitely one whose mixing potential excites me.
- 2 shots / 60 ml / 2 oz Scarlet Ibis rum
- ¾ shot / 22.5 ml / ¾ oz Carpano Antica Formula vermouth
- ¼ shot / 7.5 ml / ¼ oz yellow Chartreuse
- ¼ shot / 7.5 ml / ¼ oz Bénédictine
- 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- Stir all ingredients with ice and strain in to a cocktail glass.
With a full 2 shots / 60 ml / 2 oz of Scarlet Ibis there is no hiding its powerful flavours, however the other ingredients complement it to perfection. The Antica Formula provides an aromatic bed which helps carry the flavours of the rum and smooth out some of the rough edges, while the Chartreuse and Bénédictine sweeten the deal with a delicious blend of herbal flavours that complement the funk of the rum perfectly.
The Peychaud’s play a background role that is almost imperceptible in the finished cocktail, but without them, as I found out when I forgot them when making the Coin Toss once, the ingredients just don’t come together in quite the same way. A delicious showcase for Scarlet Ibis, the Coin Toss, like the Guyana Manhattan and the El Presidente, shows just how wonderfully rum and vermouth can work together.
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