1 1/2 oz old tom gin (we use ransom)
1 oz amaro nonino
1/2 oz lillet blanc
2 dashes orange bitters
stir over ice and strain into a chilled martini shell. orange zest garnish.
the result of a bartender challenge from some regulars tonight. the gentleman in question wanted something with amaro nonino, maybe gin-based, he wasn’t sure. nonino has a strong nuttiness in addition to the expected bitter notes, and is sweet but not too sweet. it’s one of my favorites to sip on, though i haven’t used it in many cocktails. i thought it might play nicely with the malty notes of the old tom, and it did, but that old tom is some powerful stuff, and the cocktail needed some softening; hence the lillet, which i’ve always found very useful for that sort of thing (since before st. germain was cool). the couple dashes of orange bitters gives it a hint of acid without actually adding any acidity; same with the orange zest garnish.
the end result is a strong, floral cocktail, with some bitter notes playing with the vegetal characteristics of the gin, held just barely in check by the lillet and the orange, so that while it threatens to overwhelm the drinker’s palate, it never quite does. seemed to work pretty well for the folks i made them for. after the first one went out, i ended up making three or four more.