Kina Lillet Clone

I made my first attempt at an aperitif wine the other day, aiming for Cocchi Americano or Kina Lillet.

I bought 2 1/2 bottles of reasonably priced Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine, brought it to 140 degrees and added 1 cup of sugar.  Stirred to dissolve.

Then I added the spice tinctures I’d previously made, starting with a touch, and tasting and adding.

I finally ended up with the following amounts, where I started to be able to perceive the earthy flavors of the Quinine and Gentian tinctures in the wine:

2 TBSP Seville Orange Tincture
2 TBSP Mexican Cinnamon Tincture
2 tsp. Gentian Tincture
2 tsp. Wormwood Tincture
3 tsp. Quinine Tincture
1/2 Cup Spanish Brandy

Cooled, poured it back into the bottles, rested for a day, and tried it.

My initial reaction is I got closer to Jean de Lillet than Cocchi Americano. Admittedly, it doesn’t have any Sauterne in the wine blend, so there is no botrytized character, as in the Jean de Lillet.

Challenges: It’s really hard to judge how something warm will taste chilled or in cocktails. I would have had to use much more of the spice tinctures to get close to Cocchi Americano.  It’s tempting to just mull the spices in the warm wine.  But that will make fining or filtering much more challenging.

The Wine was also a weird pick. Muscat Canelli or similar would be a typical choice for the wine base of a vermouth. But I was feeling completely uninspired by my choices of California Muscat. Loire whites are just some of my favorite wines.

A pretty good first try, I think. Everyone who has tried it has been quite complementary. Still, it isn’t what I was hoping for.

Bonus: At the grocery store on the way home they had Sorrento Lemons!  Picked up a couple and it was just the spur I needed to start a new batch of Swedish Punsch.  And yes, Rowley, this time I will make your Lemon Punsch Pie with the leftover sliced lemons.

Kup’s Indispensible Cocktail

Kup's Indispensible

Kup’s Indispensable Cocktail

1 Dash Absinthe. (1/3 tsp. Sirene Absinthe Verte)
1/8 Italian Vermouth. (1/4 oz Carpano Antica)
1/4 French Vermouth. (1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth)
5/8 Dry Gin. (1 1/4 oz Junipero Gin)

Shake (stir, please) well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel on top.

The other month a bartender asked me what I’d have. Spying a “Gin and It” on the menu, I said, “Jesus Christ, anything but the Gin and It.” At the time I was around the area of the intersection between the letters “G” and “H” and all I was making was Gin and Italian Vermouth cocktails. I went on to clarify, “It seems like every cocktail I’ve made for the last week is nothing but Gin, Italian Vermouth, and a dash of this or that.” I further went on to say it was interesting how different the cocktails could be, even though they were made with essentially the same two base ingredients. I think I must have been boring him a bit by this point, as he sort of mumbled something like, “Well, isn’t that the point of the whole exercise?”

I don’t know if that really is the point of the whole exercise, or if, indeed, the whole exercise actually has a “point,” but here we are at another Martini/Martinez variation pretty much within “Free Pour Error” of the Fourth Degree.

Kup’s Indispensable has less Absinthe, the balance of ingredients tipped towards Gin and Dry Vermouth, and an Orange Twist instead of lemon.

I have to admit, at this point in my life, I lean towards the richer flavor of the Savoy Fourth Degree Cocktail. Still, this cocktail is tasty and does have a really great name.

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.