Old Pal Cocktail – Mama Beth Style

Posted on Monday, February 11th, 2013

I have the hardest time following a recipe. I’ll do it when I’m baking, and I’ll try really hard to stick to the original idea when I’m making a classic cocktail. It’s valuable to know what the original version was meant to taste like. And the classic cocktails are classic cocktails because they are delicious. I wanted to try the Old Pal Cocktail – 1 1/2 ounces rye, 3/4 ounce dry vermouth and 3/4 ounce Campari. It is very good, with a strong Campari element. Then I changed it up. Bourbon instead of rye. Bittersweet vermouth instead of dry vermouth. Cardamaro instead of Campari. The substitutions had similar flavors, but changed the whole outcome.

And of course, I had to  use something from my garden – lemon balm (which is sprouting a few sprigs in February), and one of my homemade boozy foods – lemon slices roasted in bittersweet vermouth. The resulting Old Pal – Mama Beth Style – was more tart than bitter, and had more depth of flavor. I’d be happy to drink both Old Pal Cocktail versions. Here’s mine.

Old Pal Cocktail – Mama Beth Style

2 ounces bourbon

3/4 ounce Imbue Bittersweet Vermouth

3/4 ounce Cardamaro

3 lemon slices roasted in bittersweet vermouth

6  lemon balm leaves

In the bottom of a mixing glass, muddle the lemon slices and lemon balm leaves together with the bourbon. Add the bittersweet vermouth, Cardamaro and ice. Shake until cold and strain into a glass.

To make the roasted lemon slices in bittersweet vermouth, please follow my recipe for Roasted Tangerines in Sweet Vermouth. Substitute lemons for tangerines. And bittersweet vermouth for sweet vermouth. Store in the fridge and use within two weeks.

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