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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Amaro April: "The Penny Farthing" From Pourhouse

I was going to continue on with another Aperol cocktail from Pegu Club in New York, which in hindsight would have been the best cocktail to start everything off (being an introduction to Aperol, which is a great introduction itself to amaro), but I've decided instead to head a couple blocks west of L'Abattoir in Gastown and visit my good friends at Pourhouse.
This is one of my favourite Pourhouse originals (again a creation by bar manager Christopher Flett, the man who brought us both "The Bittercup" for Fernet February and the amazingly delicious "Don't Mind If I Do") and actually the reason I bought my first bottle of Averna. It's fairly unique in its choice of base spirit - gin - because amari are typically darker and denser in taste and body, which means that they will typically be paired with darker and denser spirits, like whiskey or dark rum. Lighter spirits are usually overpowered by more potent ingredients, so Flett's choice of gin with a dark amaro here makes for an immediately intriguing drink, and a great showcase for amaro's versatility.
The specific ingredients here are key - I've tried it with other gins and it's still a great cocktail, but not quite the same, and I've tried it with other orange bitters, but Fee's is the one that without a doubt really makes this work. While not my favourite orange bitters at all, as it's much less complex and interesting, it does work exceptionally better in certain cocktails, plus will only run you $8 at Gourmet Warehouse. Victoria Gin from Victoria Spirits in, yes, Victoria, is one of my favourite gins (as you may have already seen in my Beginner's Guide to Buying Gin in B.C.) and is probably very different from what you've had before. It has a much softer juniper component, which allows its other spices and citrus to really create a different balance than you're used to in a London Dry-style gin, and despite its higher proof has a really soft and buttery feel in your mouth. Using Averna brings out certain botanicals in the gin, and using the very orange Fee's orange bitters brings out the citrus notes. Maraschino cuts through as you would expect, but in the spirit of a cocktail like the Martinez, doesn't overpower and almost makes a seemingly dark drink taste and smell lighter.
While the ingredients are not all cheap (with Victoria gin coming in at $45-$50 in B.C.), they're all worth every penny, and this drink is true evidence of this. (I should also note that you can get a half bottle at 375mL of Victoria Gin for $28 should you want to save a little and try it out, but only non-government stores carry it).

Cheers to Flett and the boys at Pourhouse for continually mixing high-quality, classic-style cocktails. Head to Pourhouse immediately for this and many other a cocktail whenever you're in Vancouver.

The Penny Farthing
1.5oz Victoria Gin
1/2oz Averna Amaro
1/4oz Luxardo Maraschino 
2 dashes Fee's Orange Bitters

Stir over ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. 

[[ See my post on amaro digestivos here ]]
[[ See my post on amaro aperivos here ]]
[[ See a buying guide for amaro here ]]

[[ See "The One Hit Wonder" from L'abattoir in Vancouver here ]]
[[ See an introduction to amaro  here ]]
[[ See "The Imperial Eagle" from Bourbon & Branch here ]]
[[ See "Sevilla" from Beretta here ]]
[[ See "Fallow Grave" from the Toronto Temperance Society here ]]
[[ See "The Black Prince" from Phil Ward here ]]
[[ See "Bad Apple" and "Jackson Ward" from Amor y Amargo here ]]
[[ See "The Four Horsemen" from Jay Jones at Shangri-La here ]]
[[ See Colin MacDougall from Blue Water Cafe here ]]
[[ See "Debbie Don't" from Dutch Kills here ]]
[[ See "Welcome to the Dark Side" from Cin Cin here ]]
[[ See "Foolish Games" from Russell Davis here ]]
[[ See "Intro To Aperol" from Audrey Saunders at Pegu Club here ]]

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