Martini Madness: One, one and one more …

by KeithP on August 24, 2011

We have made it to almost the halfway mark of Martini Madness and what an interesting ride it has been.  Several riffs on the classic formula; use of that dreaded spirit vodka; the Vesper in all its glory and riffed; homeward bound via the Martinez and two interesting recipes that took head on dry vermouth’s seat at the Martini table.  With maybe one (or two exceptions), this our tenth post in the madness begins our turn to more daring and/or interesting riffs on the classic recipe that will in a few cases stretch the fabric of the Martini canvas quite a bit.

Today we face an interesting question — can the head bartender of one of the world’s best craft bars create a drink that is so simple as to have three principal ingredients only and be worthy enough to then grace their menu?  Answer, damn right!!  In creating the One, One, One Thomas Waugh, the head bartender of NYC’s Death & Co. shows us that simplicity and ingenuity go hand in hand. They also end up creating that is something beyond elegant.  Thomas describes this drink as being the result of tinkering around with spirits he had on hand but like most creative bouts, they can take time and come from not so obvious sources.  The Martini canvas is used in this case via a surprisingly simple formula tweak … take what amounts to a 50-50 formula, extend it a bit by throwing in a third, equally strong character, dash it up with a few bitters and there you have it.  Simple, easy, straightforward and not at all what you would expect to see on D&C’s menu where complicated recipe formulas ring forth. But then again, great doesn’t have to be overtly complicated to reign on D&C’s menu.

Why is it so good?  In part because it really is so simple … you only need but three common (okay, I’m putting aquavit in the “common” category and that could be a slight stretch) ingredients, some bitters and ice for mixing.  The formula, a dash or two of bitters mixed with equal parts of the three main ingredients is itself simple.  The taste? Not simple at all.

This drink is alone well worth the effort but if you don’t have a bottle of aquavit on hand than go out and get one so that you can make this. If you are worried about having a single use bottle, than think again; you’ll be able to make Trident’s, my Northwestern Julep recipe (had to throw that one in) and of course Jeffrey’s Norwegian Wood.

One, One, One
Recipe created by Thomas Waugh, head bartender at Death & Co. in NYC, sourced from the blog Fork in the Road and adapted by theSpeakista

•    1 oz Beefeater 24 gin (Tanqueray London Dry gin  was used)
•    1 oz Krogstad aquavit
•    1 oz Dolin Blanc vermouth
•    1 dash of Regan’s Orange Bitters
Garnish: none
Glass: cocktail coupe or glass
Tools: mixing glass, bar-spoon and julep strainer

Assembly: Stir with plenty of cracked and non-cracked ice for at least 45 seconds to a minute.  Add in additional cracked ice as needed and stir for an additional minute or more. Strain the mixture into the serving glass, garnish and serve up.  

The verdict: This amazing little beauty of a drink leads off with a slightly sweet, anise aroma that fills the nose; it is a really nice drink to smell. Something so clear has never been so fascinating to look at; the drink holds the light nicely.  Equal parts smooth in texture and strong in flavor, the method of making leads to a drink whose texture makes what follows on the palate welcomed.  And oh so rich is the flavor … heavy doses of botanical and floral notes square off against aquavit’s anise muscle and yet in these proportions proper balance is achieve.  The slight twinge of sweetness offered by the blanc vermouth binds and holds the flavor muscle in check.  Down right beautiful to drink.  Elegance in a glance has never been so simple to achieve.

Thanks again Thomas for another home run recipe.  We turn our attention now continuing to take gin on and up next, we pitch it over the side completely (well, sorta).

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

jellydonut August 25, 2011 at 1:49 am

Strangeness. I only have aged Norwegian aquavit. I haven’t actually tasted clear, unaged aquavit, I can only speak for the aged variety which has a very strong flavor. The casks used are old sherry casks which impart a slight sweetness as well.

I don’t know if that would work at all well but it’s what I have on hand.

On the other hand I hate vermouth so I’m not sure I’d buy another bottle of that. Unless you can convince me Dolin Blanc or any other brand (Noilly Prat) is significantly different from Martini & Rossi’s horrible variants. :p

KeithP August 26, 2011 at 2:08 pm

All of the Dolin products are quite good … the blanc in particular. i’m fortunate in NYC to be able to get half bottles so that’s what i tend to do

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