View Full Version : From the Crispy Critter Drink Labs

08-06-2007, 17:21
Tonight, I picked up a bottle of Amaro Ramazzotti. After having a taste of it (very herbalized orange flavor, and to me it seems a wee bit smoky as well), the wheels started turning. Quick checks of Drinkboy and CocktailDB found absolutely nothing.

Aside from being 30% ABV, it's nothing at all like Campari. It didn't seem like something to use with gin, and then I realized that rye seemed more in line with Ramazzoti's profile.

Here's what I came up with (measured portions, but the amounts to use were guesstimated):
The Front Street

1-1/2 oz. Rittenhouse BIB rye (other ryes should work well)
1/2 oz. Amaro Ramazzotti
1/2 oz. Vya red vermouth (other high-quality red vermouth)
1/4 oz. maraschino liqueur (I've never found anything other than Luxardo here)Stir with ice, strain into cocktail glass, garnish with a cherry.

It turned out to be spot-on. Very complex, some sweetness, some spiciness, a bitter edge to it, and it was almost smoky as well. I tried a second version with 3/4 oz. of Ramazzotti, and it was OK, but 1/2 oz. is better - when more is used, it starts to dominate.

I named it after what was historically the main street in my town, before it became an ultra-suburbanized mess of curly streets that go nowhere.

08-06-2007, 19:23
Sounds terrific, Critter. I haven't picked up the Rammazzoti yet, despite it's calling my name from the well-stocked liqueur and amari section of a local liquor store (the only place I've found Vya).

How do you think this drink would hold up with Scotch? I ask because of your mention of smokiness and the appearance of orange flavor...

At any rate, I'll probably pick up some Rammazzoti as soon as I clean out the whiskey I want from another local store. Thanks for the drink recipe.

08-06-2007, 21:06
How do you think this drink would hold up with Scotch? I ask because of your mention of smokiness and the appearance of orange flavor...

Oooo, that sounds intriguing. Aside from the occasional Rob Roy I haven't tried anything in the way of Scotch cocktails. Something light-to-moderately smoky (like Compass Box Eleuthera or even Johnnie Walker Black) might be worth exploring... or, in a different direction, there are some single malts, Glenrothes for instance, that tend to have citrusy notes to them.

08-08-2007, 17:18
This works really well with OGD BIB as well. :drink:

08-09-2007, 06:50
OGD does seem a natural for this. I often get orange peel in the nose of the BIB.
If you're at all a Scotch fan, Critter, I recommend some Scotch cocktails. I like The Bairn (http://cocktaildb.com/recipe_detail?id=2666), the Affinity Cocktail (http://cocktaildb.com/recipe_detail?id=2584), and the Blood and Sand, but my favorite is the Bobbie Burns:

1.5 oz. Scotch (Famous Grouse is good, but a homemade vatting of equal parts Dalmore 12, HP 12, and Bowmore 12 is better)
1.5 oz. sweet vermouth (don't have any Carpano Antica, but I hear tell this takes the cocktail to new heights)
2 dashes Benedictine (I go with 1/2 tsp.)
lemon twist

Famous Grouse is usually what I mix with, but I've been known to use a single malt or the Famous Grouse 12 vatted malt on occasion. By the way, the CocktailDB recipe is a bit different from what I like (and what Ted Haigh, the creator of cocktaildb, published in his book):

1 oz. Scotch
1 oz. orange juice
3/4 oz. cherry flavored brandy
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth

This drink sounds weird, but it's very good, and has a distinctive mouthfeel. Scotch and orange seem to have an affinity for one another.

Critter, I'm planning on taking a crack at your drink tomorrow, as I'll be picking up some Rammazzotti Amaro today.

08-09-2007, 07:07
Tim, regarding the quotation at the end of your post, taken of course from Walter Percy's fine encomium on bourbon, I believe the word "plain" should read "plane". In a version of the article I found online, the person who posted it questioned by way of editorial remark whether plain was a misspelling. I think the sentence does not in fact make sense unless the "correction" is made.


08-09-2007, 07:11
Ya know, Gary, that very fact has crossed my mind. It kind of drives me crazy, but I left it as is due to the fact that every version of the essay I've seen has it written that way. But, perhaps it's time to change it.

08-09-2007, 09:05
That's true, everywhere I've seen it too it it uses "plain" but I think probably it was a typo in the original text. Maybe it does work with plain, I'll give it more thought, the piece is written in a semi-poetic way, so maybe he did intend that word.

On using scotch and malt whisky for cocktails, I find any non-peated whiskies - or lightly peated - work fine. The one you suggested with orange juice, vermouth and cherry brandy sounds great.

The British used to like whisky and brandy (and combinations - familiar to us in some versions of the Sazerac) flavoured with cherry. Cherry brandy was a staple on the drinks trays of the well-off in England and cherry whisky was widely consumed too.


08-09-2007, 15:11

A wordsmithing discussion is usually enough to make me lean forward and reach for the keyboard.

I went though the same thought process you did and then went a step further.

I asked myself whether there's any way the sentence makes sense with the word "plain"? (Which I had first read as meaning "unadorned".)

As I pondered that question a song eased its way into my consciousness.

"Ta taa, ta taa, ta taa, ta taa, ta taa-aa".

Then an image of a distinguished Englishman, say a professor of linguistics.

By George, I think I've got it! :grin:

"The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain."

The other geographical reference ("pole") in the quote is almost enough to convince me that "plain" is the author's deliberate choice.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

08-09-2007, 18:26
...The other geographical reference ("pole") in the quote is almost enough to convince me that "plain" is the author's deliberate choice...

I, too.
If you Google (with the quotation marks) "plain of the aesthetic", Percy's is about the only entry you find. Uniqueness in usage would appeal to a writer, I think. However, "plane of the aesthetic" is used much more commonly, but only a couple of references -- probably where somebody decided to edit it from the original -- are Walker Percy's quote.
In fact, I think he might also be having a second joke on us (or himself) with the line -- an analogous incongruity ("opposite pole"?). 'Plain' is to 'aesthetic' as 'pleasure of knocking back' is to 'connoisseurship'. In other words, enjoying a simple drink of bourbon is a plain way of appreciating beauty, at the opposite end of the aesthetic spectrum from analyzing the same drink. (I'd agree, by the way.)

08-10-2007, 04:34
Interesting theories, but had the word plain been used in the sense suggested, wouldn't Percy have omitted the "but" and replaced it with a dash to emphasize the sense of opposites? Yet, you may be right, and for a writer with an individualistic style, as Percy evidently was, the sense argued for is certainly plausible.

Some writers tend to write in the way their mind works without significant editing. They feel they can express better the actual workings of their minds and render experience, and certain emotions, more authentically than when submitting their writing to heavy revision. Jack Kerouac famously espoused this theory. E.g., a well-known line from Visions of Cody (his "metaphysical" study of Neal Cassady) refers to a trip or drive of some kind and its "tarpaulin power". At the time he wrote these words, he had no conscious understanding of what he meant but later recalled that on the trip being described he had seen speeding trucks whose flat beds were covered in tarpaulin. I can't recall having seen such trucks (outside of unconscious childhood memories and, probably, 1940's and 50's films or photos) but I know exactly what he meant and indeed the image is very effective.

Kerouac famously wrote in On The Road that he "shambled after people who interested me". I am not sure shambled is a standard English word, but again we know what he means and the image is a striking one. Earlier writers such as James Joyce and Gertrude Stein explored the limits of word use in this way; Percy may have, too.


08-14-2007, 17:02
Something light-to-moderately smoky (like Compass Box Eleuthera or even Johnnie Walker Black) might be worth exploring...

I'm now trying it with Johnnie Walker Black, and it works superbly. The smoky side comes out in the JWB version. This is turning out to be quite a versatile drink!

08-19-2007, 16:44
Yet another variation for the Front Street: use Punt e Mes instead of a "standard" red vermouth. Before I tried it, I wasn't sure how well it would work, since Ramazzotti does have some bitter to it (it's an amaro after all!), but in practice it's delicious, and superbly balanced. I'm using 1/2 oz. just as I would with Vya.