After this run of less-than-amazing cocktails, it’s so nice to finally get two hits, a new drink and an old favorite.  With the cold weather (it’s been running right around 0 ºF in Burlington) I’ve been in the mood for spicy, rich drinks.  Both of these were perfect.

Snap Point (Cocktail Virgin Slut):

  • 1 1/2 oz Old Tom gin (Ransom)
  • 1 1/2 oz Bonal
  • 1 barspoon Yellow Chartreuse (I was generous)
  • 1 dash orange bitters (Bitter Truth)
    Stir with ice, serve up.  Garnish with orange peel (I didn’t have a lemon).

What a delightful cocktail!  It seems that Frederic and I came to the same conclusion, that this is, at heart, a rejiggered Martinez.  I definitely prefer this to the original – something about Yellow Chartreuse is really doing it for me these days.  In this case, the Ransom’s strong citrus notes and the Chartreuse’s bitter/butter-y saffron notes played out well against the Bonal’s usually dominant vegetal flavors.  Really a beautifully synergistic drink.

‘Ti Punch (New Heights DC (John Wabeck) Recipe):

  • 2 oz Rhum Agricole (Rhum J.M Elevé sous Bois)
  • 1 barspoon rich sugar syrup (rich pineapple(!) syrup)
  • 1 small slice lime
    In a rocks glass, squeeze silver-dollar shaped slice of lime into bottom.  Top with sugar syrup, rum, and ice.  Stir gently to combine.

‘Ti Punch is a gestalt drink.  It helps, of course, that a good rhum agricole, like Neisson or J.M, is drinkable completely on its own, but a bit of syrup and some lime juice and peel make this into an entirely other beast.  Like an Old-Fashioned, a ‘Ti Punch changes over time, starting out rough and rum-forward, mellowing into a citrus-y, green-tasting soother.  ‘Ti Punch might, for me, be a Desert Island Drink, in terms of both affection and refreshment.  The pineapple syrup, by the way, was a matter of exigence – we were out of normal rich syrup and I wanted a ‘Ti Punch.  It seemed to work well anyway.  Might be a worthwhile variation in general.

We met John Wabeck when he was chef and mad genius behind the Gin Joint at New Heights Restaurant in DC, The Girlfriend was working two jobs, and I was an increasingly reluctant line cook.  This was 2007, before cocktails had really taken off in DC, and by some wonderful chance New Heights was our neighborhood restaurant.  John was a great bartender, with a sommelier’s palate, a chef’s attention to detail, and none of the pretension that was later to plague DC cocktail bars for several years.  We hit it off when we discovered that we all had a thing for genever.  The Girlfriend and I had managed to acquire a couple of bottles of Boomsma (then completely unavailable in DC) as well as a 20-year old bottle of something authentically Dutch from the parents’ freezer (bad idea) and he had some Bols and Zuidam, so we had an after-hours gin party, resulting in the most formidable hangover I’ve ever had to take to work.  Late in his career at New Heights he got bored with gin and into rhum agricole, and I’ve had a thing for it (especially J.M, his preferred label) and ‘Ti Punch ever since.