It's the weekend, it's been a beautiful evening, and the sky is clear to enjoy the full moon. I've been dipping in and out of Kathleen Jamie's new collection 'Surfacing', and for the last little while have been amusing myself trying to find the perfect cocktail to go with it.
For me I think the perfect drink for this book might be a dry as a bone Manzanilla Sherry with its slight suggestion of salinity, or a peaty single malt with all the memories of time and place that they evoke in me. But I have vermouth to drink, and I don't have to get up early, so I've been looking at Sherry and vermouth cocktails.
The Adonis is a classic from the Savoy Cocktail Book which mixes 2 parts dry Sherry (Fino or Manzanilla) with red Vermouth, a dash of Angostura bitters and a strip of lemon peel stirred over ice and then strained into a coupe glass to drink.
It's a cocktail that mixes things that I like a lot on their own, but for some reason very dry Sherry doesn't work for me mixed with other things. I don't much care for The Adonis (I've tried making summer cups with Fino too, with equally little success) at the moment, though possibly with practice I could come to like it better.
Fortunately there's another option in the form of The Other Adonis (thanks to Jack Adair Bevan's A Spirited Guide to Vermouth again for this one) which uses Amontillado (still a dry Sherry, but nuttier and richer) and Lustau Blanco Spanish Vermouth, and orange bitters instead of Angostura.
I don't have any Lustau Blanco, so I've been improvising, but somewhere between these two recipes is a drink I do like. Amontillado or Oloroso, at least in my opinion, mix much better with other things (they both make an excellent base for a summer cup too). All versions are relatively low in alcohol (this is comparative, but at least I'm not concerned tomorrow will be a write off) and a reminder of the versatility of Sherry as well as vermouth.