Amber alert

IMG_9140 A classic martini is one of my favourite drinks. I like them simple and unfussed.

But that really doesn’t mean I don’t like to play with the concept a little.

It’s autumn and that’s the perfect time to add a bit of flavour – spices and all the warm softness you can get from them. They just make everything more interesting. Even martinis.

Cinnamon Switch

This spiced-up version started with Bombay Amber gin, which Dave brought back from the duty-free shop on one of his travels. It’s London Dry Gin that’s been infused with a hint of nutmeg and black cardamom, with a touch of bitter orange zest, and finished in French vermouth barrels.

Soon after,  we went to the restaurant Bomba here in the CBD and tasted a very interesting vermouth they import  – Casa Mariol’s Vermut Negro. It’s dark and herby with a hint of bitter citrus. I’ve read that the grapes are “macerated with up to 150 ingredients, including green walnuts, rosemary, thyme, orange peel, wormwood and cardamom”. It’s incredibly delicious, so we immediately went out and bought a bottle.

I let the cardamom seeds sit in the bottom of the glass, but you can always filter them out.
I let the cardamom seeds sit in the bottom of the glass, but you can always filter them out.

It didn’t take long for me to realise that those two ingredients were a potential match. All those citrusy, spicy flavours, all exotic and warm.

I made a classic dry martini, using the Amber gin with just a little of the black vermouth. And just because I wanted to amp up the spice flavour, in the cocktail shaker I also put half a teaspoon of cardamom seeds, a stick of cassia bark (or cinnamon stick) and a piece of mace (the dried outer skin of nutmeg). I let that sit for a little while, just to infuse a bit more.

After a few minutes, I added an ice cube or two just to cool things down and then filtered it all into a glass.

You can add either a half slice of orange, or a twist of the orange skin, and a half stick of cassia bark.

Verdict: warm and smooth and just a little exotic.



Corinna Hente


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