I was paging through the delightful Barflies and Cocktails by Harry McElhone, one of the wonderful reprints by Mud Puddle Books. Amongst all the wonderful illustrations by Wynn Holcomb, I found a variation on the martini that was new to me.
1.5 ounces London dry gin
0.75 ounces dry vermouth
2 dashes absinthe (I prefer a white over verte here)
2 dashes grenadine
stir and strain into cocktail glass, garnish with lemon twist.
This is a great variation to my tastes. It takes the venerable dry martini and adds just enough absinthe for that wonderful anise scent and a hint of taste, and just enough grenadine for just a little sweetness.
I tried this with both a blanche (Kubler) and verte (Pacifique) absinthe, and found the blanche worked a bit better. The Kubler brought a great balance while the Pacifique, even at just 2 dashes, wanted to assert itself too strongly in this mix.
In the spirit of Harry’s New York bar, still located at 5 Rue Daonou in Paris, I used Citadelle, a French-made gin.
This cocktail is another great example of how just a little bit of a strong ingredient can change a cocktail for the better.