Sometimes it’s all too much — the ornate recipes, the elaborate productions, the ingredients that require a week or more of preparation before enjoying the results.
Usually this mood hits me when I’m extremely busy, as I have been the past few weeks, and in the short space I have in the evening to sip something and unwind before bed, the last thing I feel like doing is digging through the liquor cabinet in pursuit of some weird liqueur I socked away last year, or trying out a neat little bitters I’ve been meaning to get around to, or sorting through a cocktail manual in search of a recipe I’ve been intending to try. Honestly, I want to do all these things, and those samples of rum and gin that have been sitting unopened on the shelf waiting for me to taste and blog about them make me feel guilty every time I reach past them for something tried and true. But on a weeknight, when I’ve been going since 6:30am and will do so again in just a few short hours, I need something simple — potent, friendly, easy to mix, and dependable.
For now, that something is gin, sweet vermouth, and Ingredient X.
As with the last drink I mentioned, sometimes that ingredient is something bitter, like Fernet Branca; other times, I go the Martinez route with the maraschino and orange bitters; and still other times, when I’m feeling too lazy to mix something elaborate but need something lively in the glass, I go for the Fourth Degree.
This recipe is from Wondrich’s Imbibe! ; yes, I know there are probably other versions out there, but pay attention — right now I have neither the time nor inclination to rummage around on the bookshelf. And it’s somewhat similar to the San Martin, if you swap one rambunctious herbal spirit for another.
So, for you regular readers, sorry I haven’t been posting more frequently, but I’ve got deadlines stacked up like 747s landing at O’Hare. But at times like these it’s comfort-drink time, and tonight, I’m finding a lot of comfort in the Fourth Degree.
- 2 ounces Plymouth gin
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica time)
- dash of absinthe
Stir with cracked ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass; hit it with the lemon zest.