.25oz Amaro Nonino
1 brspn Maraschino
4 drops Saline Solution
1 dash Orange Bitters
Add the genever, genepy, Amaro Nonino, maraschino, saline solution (see below) and orange bitters to a chilled mixing glass. Add ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
Add 1/2 ounce of Kosher salt to about 8 ounces of water. Stir to dissolve. Be careful with this stuff as a little goes a looong way.
This one’s a little lighter than its inspiration, thanks to the genever. It’s all about the malty flavor, with bitter herbs and citrus in a very smooth package. The saline solution makes it a bit savory, without being too salty. The scent is really refreshing, like a breeze from a citrus scented ocean (but don’t worry, it’s not nearly as salty).
One of the most striking things about the Irish Cocktail is the olive garnish (although it wasn’t entirely uncommon for all sorts of drinks to get olive garnishes back in the day). For my updated variation, The Dutch Alps, I thought it might be fun to play with the briny taste without actually using olives.
A great way to get that savory flavor in a cocktail is by adding a bit of saline solution. If you haven’t heard of it, you’re not alone, but it is a trend that has gained a bit of popularity recently. Best used like bitters, a few drops of saline solution will add quite a bit of richness to a drink. Add too much and you’ll turn almost any cocktail into a glass of seawater.
Before you go looting IV fluids from the local hospital, slow down: saline solutions are actually super simple to make. Take some water, drop some salt in it, and stir until dissolved. I use 1 part kosher salt to 15 parts water. Doesn’t get much easier than that, plus you won’t need to wear a ski mask to acquire “supplies.”
Getting back to my variation, I went with genever as the base in place of the Irish whisky that’s called for in the classic. It plays up the malty flavor of the original nicely. The maraschino and lemon twist stick around, but I switched the bitters from Angostura to orange, lightening the drink a bit.
While we’re trying new things, I have a couple more ingredients for us to play with. The first is genepy, an alpine liqueur flavored with herbs and wormwood that you’ll see on the shelves of more and more bars these days. It comes in somewhere between the herbaceousness of Green Chartreuse and the anise and wormwood flavors of absinthe, but is a touch sweeter than both. Dolin makes a good, affordable version.
I swapped out the classic’s curaçao for Amaro Nonino, a delicious Italian amaro that tastes like a lightly bittered Grand Marnier. You’ll definitely go through this one faster than expected.
This one also appears over on Serious Eats.
Irish Cocktail: A Classic Drink for St. Patrick’s Day (drinks.seriouseats.com)
Serial Killer (drinkstraightup.com)
A Nise One (drinkstraightup.com)
Improved Holland Gin Cocktail (drinkstraightup.com)