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Monday, 5 March 2012

Maraschino March: "The Hemingway Solution" from Vessel

To kick off Maraschino March we're heading to a city filled with cocktail culture - Seattle. One of the biggest bar names in the city's scene, and actually in North America altogether as it was named by Esquire as one of the "Best Bars in America," is Vessel. According to David Wondrich, world-reknowned cocktail writer/historian, "the cocktails are as modern as the design; a benchmark 21st century mix of tweaked, often molecularized classics and clever new creations - style never tasted so good." 5 years ago when Vessel opened, the bar was definitely raised for cocktail culture in the Pacific Northwest, and it happened at such a time when interest was really beginning to boom.
After a change in some high level personnel (including Jamie Boudreau, who was formerly the bar manager there), and a closure of its location next to the history 5th Avenue Theatre in downtown Seattle in December 2010, Vessel is finally planning to reopen in late April 2012 a few blocks away. The new location was previously a speakeasy of sorts in the 1950's called "El Gaucho," and is twice the size of the previous building. While the decor and design it was so famous for is gone, it's a guarantee to be one of the best places in the city to get a great cocktail.

One of Vessel's specialties is cocktail carbonation, which may sound a little crazy - and it is. Co-owner and bar manager Jim Romdall is one of the first bartenders to make use of the "Perlini Cocktail Carbonation System," (actually invented in Seattle as well by Evan Wallace) which you can see put to use here on the Small Screen Network. It's a CO2 injection system that will carbonate a cocktail without diluting it with club soda. Imagine drinking a Martini that tastes the same, but is bubbling. It's a little unimaginable, so I suggest you just head down to Vessel when they reopen and try it out yourself.

The recipe today is courtesy of Mr. Jim Romdall himself, and uses a spirit you don't often see in mixology - aquavit (or Akvavit). This is a Scandanavian grain or potato spirit that is infused with herbs, spices, or fruit oils, and often aged in oak casks. The main flavour is usually caraway, or dill, and adding that to thyme, mint, and Maraschino will give a complex collection of herbal flavours in the cocktail. If you want to try this at home, you can get some akvavit in the B.C. government liquor stores and bigger independents like Legacy, but I encourage you to put your name on the Vessel mailing list at www.vesselseattle.com so you can get down there as soon as they reopen and have Jim make you one himself!

The Hemingway Solution

1.5oz Krogstad aquavit
0.5oz Luxardo Maraschino
0.75oz fresh lime juice
0.25oz simple syrup
1 sprig thyme
2 mint leaves

Combine all ingredients in a shaker, add ice, then shake and fine/double strain into cocktail glass.
Garnish with a sprig of thyme.

[[ see "Oden's Muse" from Tavern Law here ]]
[[ see the Maraschino March introduction here ]]
[[ see "The Division Bell" from Mayahuel here ]]
[[ see "The Shibuya Crusta" from L'Abattoir here ]]
[[ see "The Unforgiven" from Russell Davis of Rickhouse here ]]
[[ see "Cherry Bob-omb" from Veneto here ]]
[[ see "Primer Beso" from The Refinery here ]]
[[ see "The Rubicon" from Jamie Boudreau at Canon here ]]

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