Behind Enemy Lines

Sunday, October 25
Artillery CocktailKoala Crop

Monday, October 26
Barbed Wire Martini

I made the Artillery Cocktail on Sunday evening.  6 parts gin, 2 parts sweet vermouth.  Not exactly a complicated mix.  Not exactly memorable either.  It was fine.  But just not … memorable.  Like some blind dates I’ve had, guys I’ve met off of Match.com or Yahoo Personals.  You kinda end the evening with a “yeah, give me a call,” and hope they’re not really stupid enough to actually do that or that you gave them a bogus phone number.  Nice deep golden yellow hue – attractive for a drink, bad for a urine sample – and not much beyond that.  It made gin more drinkable for me, I’ll admit.  I am of the unpure faith and prefer vodka martinis over gin, and straight gin for me is one of those things that will give me a face like I just sucked down half a lemon.  Or a stiff drink of Aquavit, another of my non-favorites. 

So I give the Artillery a 3 stars.  Decent but hardly memorable, don’t think I’ll mix it up again anytime soon.

Now in continuing with our WWII theme, it seems only appropriate that tonight’s cocktail on my list was the Barbed Wire Martini.  Interesting name.  No idea where it came  from.  The Bible (our martini recipe book) gives the origins of a few drinks but not all  by any means.  I would be curious to know how this came to be called that.  I was personally dreading it.  I had one of the shittiest days on record thus far in my existence (okay, wait, let me clarify because I almost always say THAT) – maybe the shittiest day since being unemployed or definitely in the top 5.  Kids were slow-mo snails getting ready this morning, then after my son’s orthodontist appointment (first round of braces off, hooray!), I picked up his younger brother and we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening having ISSUES.  More issues than you’d find in a National Geographic boxed set.  Good lord.  If it wasn’t this thing that came up, it was something else.  So, despite my hesitation at the ingredient list, I was actually looking forward to the Barbed Wire by the time I got around to mixing it up, about 10 pm this evening.

The ingredients are hardly something I swoon over.  Pernod?  ICK.  It apparently came after absinthe was banned (wormwood tends to make people go crazy) and has the anise taste used in licorice and other similar flavorings.  Well, this rates an epic FAIL in my book.  I loathe licorice.  And Chambord?  Only reason I have any is a small bottle was a stocking stuffer from an old friend a couple years ago.   Black raspberry liqueur.  I have to say, I do love the bottle.  Always reminds me of the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  I felt like I should have chanted the whole ritual from the movie when I opened it up, but as I mentioned earlier, it was already 10 pm by this point.  Since I was expecting not to savor this cocktail, I used what I call the crappy vodka in my freezer.  Which it really isn’t.  It’s Prairie vodka, from the U.S., and is organic.  Probably costs close to the same as Ketel One, but I guess I’m a vodka snob and still prefer my Ketel over anything else.  I like to try other ones now and then just for comparison purposes.  So I mixed up the Barbed Wire:  6 parts vodka, 1/2 teaspoon each of Chambord and Pernod, 1 teaspoon sweet vermouth, lemon twist for garnish.  I got out one of my nice ZGallerie martini glasses and poured it in. 

Lovely gold color to it – I hadn’t realized the pernod was such a bright color (yellow) – I guess I was expecting it to be more like absinthe and it would be green.  Mixed with the dark red of the Chambord and light red of the vermouth it made for a beautiful drink.  I think a cherry would have been a nice garnish, too, to be honest. Except I’m not crazy about cherries either.  I took a sip. 

First swallow reminded me of a cross between horseradish and cough syrup.  That same suck-in-your-breath, throat and sinus-clearing sensation you’d get from either one.  Almost a minty taste, but not quite.  But it stuck with you.  I continued drinking it over the next 40 minutes or so of my evening, which consisted of straightening up the living room, unloading dishes, starting this blog, writing a couple emails.  It grows on you and I actually enjoyed it.  It was definitely distinctive and more interesting than the rather dull Artillery drink of the previous evening.  Would be interesting to pair it with some kind of swordfish or salmon, I think that would be tasty together. 

Only drawback, I noticed as I got further down in the glass, was that the damn drink knocked me on my ass.  Which made no sense to me, given the amount of vodka I used was no more than I typically used for a dry martini.  Until I remembered I’d been having a sneezing attack earlier and took a Benadryl around 9 pm.  Ahhh.  FAIL.  Bad combo.  Don’t think the Barbed Wire was entirely to blame in this case!  I think I will sample this one again, maybe even with the “good” vodka.  Four out of five stars, a memorable drink.

Cheers, Cathy

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~ by rachelroust on October 27, 2009.

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