Oh to be a bookworm when the volume at hand is The Beverage Book. All one needs is a spirit of adventure, and sidling up to The Cypress Room’s bar becomes a trip anywhere across the globe. From our own Miami backyard of Wynwood to France’s Lower Normandy — even through the printed page and silver screen, allow us to introduce three welcome additions to the list.
Pomme Charmé — Ryan Goodspeed’s first new barrel-aged cocktail since opening comes online this week, and we are really looking forward to highlighting a locally-distilled rum. Pomme Charmé, or The Charmed Apple, combines Miami Club Rum, Busnel Calvados, Dolin Dry Vermouth, and Benedictine, aged in oak for four months. Now ripe for the picking, the drink is served in a coupe topped off with Moscato d’Asti and flamed orange peel. Approachable with round caramel apple notes accented by the finish of citrus and bubbles, this forbidden fruit is delightful especially on the finish. Apple orchards and brewers are mentioned as far back as the eighth century by Charlemagne. The first known Norman distillation was carried out by “Lord” de Gouberville in 1554, and the guild for cider distillation was created about 50 years later in 1606. The area called “Calvados” was created after the French Revolution, but eau de vie de cidre was already called calvados by then in common usage. The appellation contrôlée regulations officially gave calvados a protected name in 1942.
Midnight Blossom — Our cold tea cocktails change with the seasons, and spring’s is pretty in pink thanks to the tea blend’s tropical notes. Ransom Old Tom Gin blooms with dragon fruit, rose petal, candied mango, orange zest, and fresh grapefruit and lemon in this lively elixir for two. The hue alone is reason to try this beauty, whether to begin a leisurely lunch prix fixe with a friend, or dinner of fava bean agnolotti and “Selection of Cheeses”, which today are Parmigiano (Italy, Raw Cow’s Milk – Sharp, Fruity,) Nutty Tete de moine (Swizerland, Raw Cow’s Milk – Semi Hard – Sweet, Fruity Flavor) and Valdeón (Spain, Blue, Pasteurized Cow & Goat’s Milk – Assertive, Caramel Notes.)
Vesper — The Cocktails of The Ritz Paris, a new-old book with darling illustrations by Yoko Ueta, was recently acquired from the library of Ryan Goodspeed. In it, Colin Peter Field delves into the origin of classic cocktails which turns out is no simple feat (“the difficulty in finding the truth about a cocktail.”) The provenance of the Bloody Mary alone proves quite a colorful, eye-opening appetizer – er, amuse – thanks to excerpts from Hemingway’s own letters to his friendly barman, Bernie.
Yes, there is a common thread to cocktail creation myth — we find a professional behind the bar and a discerning customer in front of it, with requests. Nothing screams classic like James Bond, and this is no better exemplified than in the very real cocktail attributed to this fictional character and his creator. And so the story goes of our dapper secret agent in the 1953 novel Casino Royale and The Vesper’s immaculate conception.
“A dry martini,” [Bond] said. “One. In a deep champagne goblet.”
“Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”
“Certainly, monsieur.” The barman seemed pleased with the idea.
“Gosh, that’s certainly a drink,” said Leiter.
Bond laughed. “When I’m…er…concentrating,” he explained, “I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink’s my own invention. I’m going to patent it when I can think of a good name.”
—Ian Fleming, Casino Royale, Chapter 7, “Rouge et Noir’
Fleming continues with Bond telling the barman, after taking a long sip, “Excellent … but if you can get a vodka made with grain instead of potatoes, you will find it still better,” and then adds in an aside, “Mais n’enculons pas des mouches (English: But let’s not bugger flies—a vulgar French expression meaning “let’s not split hairs”). Bond in the next chapter, “Pink Lights and Champagne”, names it the Vesper, at the time of his first introduction to the beautiful Vesper Lynd. A Vesper differs from Bond’s usual cocktail of choice, the martini, in that it uses both gin and vodka, Kina Lillet instead of the usual dry vermouth, and a lemon peel instead of an olive.
“The Vesper is part of my new gin thing,” Michael explains. “They are balanced and dry and pretty powerful. I like mine shaken, which makes for a crisp, more chilled result. Mellows it a bit, but not too much! I even ask for a dash of Bergamot bitters to be added.”
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