November 29, 2010

What I’m Drinking: Da Molto Tempo

I swear, this has to be a drink already, with another name. It’s very classically minded, and an obvious relative to drinks such as that which will not be named (but which ends in “tini”). It does use rose’ vermouth, which isn’t as readily available in the U.S. as one would hope (as you might expect, it’s neither as dry as French vermouth or as herbal as Italian vermouth, or dry and sweet vermouth respectively, and light on the tongue like its namesake wine), so it might not yet be named. However, rose’ vermouth has been available then and now, maybe moreso then, even, so some variation of this (maybe with a different bitters, since the Bitter Truth, even with their classical leanings, haven’t been around that long) seems like it has to have been around. I’d check the library, but the library is in Seattle and I’m in the Italy. Some bartender or bar writer out there will, I’m sure correct me. But until then, I’m going with Da Molto Tempo, and having it lots:



Cracked ice

1-1/2 ounces gin

1/2 ounce rose vermouth

1 dash Bitter Truth Aromatic bitters

Lemon twist, for garnish


1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass with cracked ice. Add the gin, vermouth, and bitters. Stir well.


2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon twist.


PS: For those inquisitive ones: it means “a long time ago.”

October 10, 2010

Six Bar Tools I Took to Italy

This is somewhat of a (or almost exactly a) duplicate of a post on my Italy blog, which is called Six Months In Italy. But I figure the Spiked Punch readers may not have found that blog yet, and may be interested in the bar tools I lugged in my luggage recently. Oh, as a backdrop—I’ve moved to Italy, to be closer to local Amaros, Strega, Fernet Branca, and the other Italian boozes I love. Which is why this blog has been even lighter than normal lately. I just got here (here now being middle Italy. For gosh sake, go read the Italy blog if you want to know more or I’ll go on all day), and these are the tools I brought with me.


Oh, by the way, it’s not that I think I couldn’t make slurpable drinks during the next seven months without the following seven drink-making devices (at least I think I could), but I’d just feel so naked behind the bar (or at the counter). And not in the good “making-drinks-naked way.” So, here’s a look at some of what was in my suitcase.


1 and 2: Cocktail Shaker and Jigger

This is my most-utilized cocktail shaker, the WMF Manhattan stainless steel cobble-style shaker. I love both how it fits me, and how it has a little elegance in its lines. It also packs up nice, and since I’ve used it almost every day for the last 10 years, isn’t something I’d leave behind. The jigger alongside it keeps me honest on measuring, and also keeps the shake company.


3: Fine Strainer

A good fine strainer for drinks that contain fresh juice (which should be the only juice you use naturally). I wanted to bring a juicer to go with, but decided at the last minute that squeezing would work as long as I took the fine strainer to ensure no chunky-ness gets into the drink (or my teeth).


4: A Hawthorne Strainer

This is the Oxo strainer, very portable, and a necessary extra just in case the built-in strainer on my shaker gets overwhelmed by the amount of drinks being made, or the fruit in them, or anything else. Can also work if I decide to use another shaker when out and about. A generally handy item to have, and small enough to not worry about packing.


5 and 6: Pug Muddler and Stir Spoon

This and all Pug muddlers was made by hand with care by a gentleman named Chris Gallagher. It’s made from Mexican Rosewood (or Bocote), and is a substantial and beautiful thing, which between us, I paid probably more than I should have for—but look at it! Pug muddlers aren’t available in stores, but you can email Chris directly if you want one (and you should), at jcgallagher08 @ hotmail . com (removing the spaces). The stir spoon is one of many I have, but needed for stirring drinks.


7: Ice Cube Trays

I can admit it: I am addicted to these decently-sized perfectly square ice cubes. I can’t be completely happy without them (okay, okay, that’s going overboard. But I am awfully fond of them, and how them both melt slowly and crack perfectly when smacked with the Pug Muddler, making them the ideal ice for the home bartender). Mine are made in the the Tovolo Perfect Cube silicone ice cube tray.

May 1, 2009

What I Wish I Was Drinking: Viparo

So, no big lengthy Italy post this afternoon (I have to get outside and enjoy the sun. Or do about 100 other things. Take your pick), but I do have one Italian gem to leave you with for your weekend (and a mission): Viparo. Viparo! Viparo? What is it? It’s an Italian amaro (the bitterish, to degrees, drinks you tend to have after dinner), one I’d never seen before this last trip. I found it in the little café, Lo Spaccio, which sits in the middle of San Leo Bastia, which is the little town we always stay near when in the Upper Tiber Valley countryside (which is one of the finest places on earth, in my opinion). Lo Spaccio not only has the usual Italian café amenities, coffees, drinks, pastries, Fonzies, friendly people, but also a tiny one aisle store in back. In that tiny store they have a better booze and wine selection than some liquor stores, and on the top shelf of that, my favorite section, I found a dusty bottle of Viparo when we were there this last time. On the sweeter side of the amaro family (but not too sweet), it had bitter tingles but also caramel overtones and herbal undertones, all mixed up in a deliciously dark package. Pretty much everyone with ended up loving it, and we put the bottle away without a problem–and then couldn’t find another bottle in Lo Spaccio, or even when Andyo and I went to all the booze counters in Florence. There’s a picture of it below (a bit blurry, but it was late, and dark, and I was weepy cause I’d just finished the last drop), and you now know the name (Viparo!), and the tagline is “Delizioso Aperitivo Tonico Digestivo” (which is really fitting, cause it can be consumed anytime and will cure what ails you), and so my mission to you is, if you ever see a bottle, buy it for me and I’ll pay for it, the shipping (if needed), and your next two three drinks! What a deal. Now go have a happy weekend. And find me some Viparo!

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