Spring Cocktail

Spring Cocktail
3 glasses Gin. (3/4 oz Junipero, 3/4 oz Genevieve)
1 glass Quinquina. (1/2 oz Bonal)
1 Glass Benedictine. (scant 1/2 oz Benedictine)
Before shaking (I’d stir) add a dash of bitters and serve with an olive (Nicoise Olive).

As usual, to convert this “party cocktail” to a single serving, I am dividing the “glasses” in half and then counting them as ounces.

I never quite know what to use when a recipe calls for “Quinquina”. I don’t know if there was a specific product called “Quinquina” at the beginning of this century or if there was a specific brand of Quinquinas which was used when this appeared in cocktail recipes. To me, Quinquinas are a class of French wine based aperitifs which contain Quinine. Unfortunately, this is a fairly wide variety of products, from Lillet Blanc to Dubbonet Rouge. If you cast your net a bit wider, there are about a million wine and neutral spirit based beverages from around the world which potentially qualify as “Quinquinas”, due to the fact that they contain Quinine as a bittering agent. All have very different results when used in cocktails.

Haus Alpenz has begun importing an interesting wine based Gentian and Quinine aperitif called “Bonal”.

From their website:

Since 1865, this delicious aperitif wine has stood apart for its exceptional complexity, delightful flavors and stimulating palate. Serious to its role as aperitif, it was known as “ouvre l’app├ętit” – the key to the appetite. Found popular with sportsmen, Bonal became an early sponsor of the Tour de France. It is made by an infusion of gentian, cinchona (quinine) and renown herbs of the Grand Chartreuse mountains in a Mistelle base. Traditionally enjoyed neat or with a twist; also may enhance classic drinks in place of sweet red vermouth.

I would describe the flavor as similar to a more extreme version of dry or blanc/bianco vermouth. The botanicals seem more herbal than spice based. There seems to be little citrus. The middle flavors are similar to savory, culinary herbs with a strong gentian bitterness at the fore and lingering quinine bitterness in the finish. Quite nice.

Well, give a boy some new booze and ya gotta mix with it, especially when it seems appropriate in the recipe.

Scouring the refrigerator, I discovered I was out of Green Olives. Horror! How do things like this happen? In fact the only olives I had were Nicoise olives. Well, ya gotta do what you gotta do.

Thinking about these flavors and with the generic specification of “Gin”, I was reminded a bit of the savory combination of Junipero and Genevieve I had enjoyed in the Some Moth. Let’s try that again.

Huh, actually, the Nicoise Olive is quite tasty in the Spring. The savory brininess working well with the funk of the genevieve and complexity of the Bonal. About all I’d say is even a scant half ounce is a little much Benedictine for me. I think my ideal for this would be about 3/4 oz Junipero, 3/4 oz Genevieve, 3/4 oz Bonal, 1/4 oz Benedictine. Your Mileage May Vary.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

6 thoughts on “Spring Cocktail

  1. Have you tried the Gentiane from the Chartreuse line? Sounds comparable to Bonal…

    Did you shake (as called for) or stir (as I would imagine more appropriate)?

      • Haven’t seen it for sale stateside, but I left a message for the export director at Chartreuse to see about (future?) availability.

        • I suspect it is probably a neutral spirits based infusion, possibly redistilled. My guess would be similar to Suze, though there are some traditional Gentian Eau-de-Vie and Schnapps made in the alps.

  2. Finally got to try Bonal at the Violet Hour last night. It’s much closer to a sweet vermouth like Punt e Mes than the Gentiane (which I’d compare more to a bianco). I was expecting them to be quite similar, but they are very different. The bitterness is much more restrained in the Bonal, for one.

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