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Bonal Gentiane-Quina


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#1 Katie Meadow

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 04:55 PM

I recently was served a Martinez consisting of Old Tom gin, Bonal-Gentiane, maraschino and bitters. I don't know what the proportions were, but I am guessing it might have been 1:1. It was on the sweet side, and listed on the menu as an Aperitif. It was very nice, and the herbal flavor of the bonal was distinct. I might be inclined to try 2:1 gin to bonal, since I'm not generally inclined toward really sweet drinks.

Any suggestions for using my new bottle of Bonal-Gentiane? I plan to try subbing it for the sweet vermouth in a rye Manhattan. We don't exactly have a well-stocked bar; there's gin, 2 kinds of rye, cointreau, orange and angostura bitters (and rhubarb bitters, which tastes more like cherry to me) and a few other things.

#2 KD1191

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 06:55 PM

My drinking companion this afternoon ordered a Boulevardier, or similar. Our bartender poured Weller 12, Bonal & Cynar and added small pinch of salt. I didn't get a chance to try it, but my friend appeared to be immeasurably pleased with the result.
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#3 eas

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 08:26 PM

For those unfamiliar with Bonal, it's a true Quinquina - quinine is the principal botanical and bittering agent. The base is Mistelle, a fortified unfermented grape must - think Pineau des Charentes or just brandy fortified grape juice. In the home region this is served with a squeze of lemon and on the rocks, maybe some soda. Given the mistelle base it's also nice for stretching out the wood on brown spirits. A simple demonstration is a 1:1 with rye and a dash or two of orange bitters.

#4 Tri2Cook

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 08:38 PM

I like to admire it from afar... because the LCBO doesn't carry it. :raz:
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#5 EvergreenDan

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 05:20 AM

... ordered a Boulevardier, or similar. Our bartender poured Weller 12, Bonal & Cynar and added small pinch of salt.

That sounds very, very good, although more "similar" than "Boulevardier." Might be name-worthy. Did it have one, perhaps?
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#6 KD1191

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 11:15 AM

... ordered a Boulevardier, or similar. Our bartender poured Weller 12, Bonal & Cynar and added small pinch of salt.

That sounds very, very good, although more "similar" than "Boulevardier." Might be name-worthy. Did it have one, perhaps?

Not that I know of...though I'll try to remember to inquire the next time I see him (Fred Sarkis of Sable Kitchen & Bar). He made essentially the same comment as Eric, about employing the Bonal to enhance the wood in the bourbon.
True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

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#7 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 06:55 PM

I recently was served a Martinez consisting of Old Tom gin, Bonal-Gentiane, maraschino and bitters. I don't know what the proportions were, but I am guessing it might have been 1:1. It was on the sweet side, and listed on the menu as an Aperitif. It was very nice, and the herbal flavor of the bonal was distinct. I might be inclined to try 2:1 gin to bonal, since I'm not generally inclined toward really sweet drinks.

I just tried the above Martinez variation with my recently acquired bottle of Bonal Gentiane-Quina and it's very good.
I used a 2:1 ratio and a lemon twist and it does not taste sweet.

#8 slkinsey

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 07:07 PM

I have enjoyed it 1:1 with Smith & Cross, stirred & strained.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#9 Katie Meadow

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 08:43 AM


I recently was served a Martinez consisting of Old Tom gin, Bonal-Gentiane, maraschino and bitters. I don't know what the proportions were, but I am guessing it might have been 1:1. It was on the sweet side, and listed on the menu as an Aperitif. It was very nice, and the herbal flavor of the bonal was distinct. I might be inclined to try 2:1 gin to bonal, since I'm not generally inclined toward really sweet drinks.

I just tried the above Martinez variation with my recently acquired bottle of Bonal Gentiane-Quina and it's very good.
I used a 2:1 ratio and a lemon twist and it does not taste sweet.


Sounds nice. What kind of bitters did you use?

Last night I tried a 1:1 rye and bonal with orange bitters over ice. Since it was a very warm evening it was pretty refreshing. I'd like to try 2:1 gin/bonal next. Don't have any maraschino...what should I add? I did try one drink using the Fee bros rhubarb bitters, since that really tastes more cherry, but it was not nearly as good as using orange bitters. I'm coming to the conclusion that the rhubarb bitters was a minor waste of money. It's about the same price as my favorite chocolate bar...

Gotta say, love this Bonal Gentiane-Quina.

#10 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 03:14 PM

Katie,

I considered using Fee Brothers Old Fashioned bitters, but decided to use tried and true Angostura bitters after smelling the cocktail. They went very well with the herbal flavor of the Bonal.

Orange bitters sound like an interesting idea as well.

I used a rather small amounf of maraschino liqueur (less than 1/4 oz) so you may be able to skip it. Another option might be to replace the maraschino with Cointreau and to use orange bitters.

#11 brinza

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 12:14 PM

I have enjoyed it 1:1 with Smith & Cross, stirred & strained.

Having just acquired a bottle of S&C, I'm definitely giving this a try.
Mike

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#12 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 08:39 PM

Bonal & Rye

Posted Image

Recipe here.

#13 cadmixes

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 08:47 AM

Now that this has been available for a while, does anyone have experiences they could share on preservation and shelf-life? Is it like a vermouth where it degrades after a couple weeks? Are people refrigerating it, using a vacu-vin, etc. etc.?

I'd love to mess with this product but am always hesitant to keep large bottles of perishable, wine-based things around because it's really hard to go through them fast enough.

#14 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 09:29 AM

Now that this has been available for a while, does anyone have experiences they could share on preservation and shelf-life? Is it like a vermouth where it degrades after a couple weeks? Are people refrigerating it, using a vacu-vin, etc. etc.?

I'd love to mess with this product but am always hesitant to keep large bottles of perishable, wine-based things around because it's really hard to go through them fast enough.


While I think bars are to be commended for every effort to turn over their aromatized wine inventory, home enthusiasts should not shy away from investing in them just because they can't use up the whole bottle in a couple of weeks. If you have the fridge space to spare, there's nothing to fear. While the experience of drinking out of a 3 month old bottle of vermouth isn't quite the same as that of drinking from a fresh one, I wouldn't say that it ruins very many cocktails. Developing a taste for the stuff on it's own with a twist of lemon or orange can also help a lot with turnover and is one of my favored beverages while I'm cooking.

Vermouthy things aren't as durable as hard liquor, of course, but they certainly aren't as fragile as table wines by a long shot. Don't let your slow turnover discourage you from trying stuff, but do keep it in the fridge.
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#15 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 09:51 AM

I've had the same bottle for a while now. I do keep it in the fridge. It's still very good although I don't have a new bottle to compare against.

#16 EvergreenDan

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 12:49 PM

And vacu-vin. Sugar hides a lot. Dry vermouth goes off way, way faster than sweet vermouth. I keep about 8-10 bottles open, some for quite a while. They don't seem to go off in the evacuated and in the fridge.

I agree completely with Andy. I do try to limit things somewhat, so I might finish my Bonal before opening a Cocchi Americano, for example.

My wife and I something have "a little something" after our evening cocktail -- often a Duplex of Punt e Mes and dry vermouth or similar. This uses up the aromatized wines.
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#17 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 01:07 PM

And vacu-vin. Sugar hides a lot. Dry vermouth goes off way, way faster than sweet vermouth. I keep about 8-10 bottles open, some for quite a while. They don't seem to go off in the evacuated and in the fridge.

I agree completely with Andy. I do try to limit things somewhat, so I might finish my Bonal before opening a Cocchi Americano, for example.

My wife and I something have "a little something" after our evening cocktail -- often a Duplex of Punt e Mes and dry vermouth or similar. This uses up the aromatized wines.


Oxidized dry vermouth has a charm all its own, at least for this guy.
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#18 cadmixes

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 08:28 PM

Thanks guys, you all have me feeling a bit better about this. Dry vermouth is definitely the worst and seems to go off instantly. Sweet vermouth less so, and I've found Punt e Mes to be remarkably sturdy. Maybe my next trip to the store will result in me bringing a bottle of this home.

#19 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 06:18 AM

Thanks guys, you all have me feeling a bit better about this. Dry vermouth is definitely the worst and seems to go off instantly. Sweet vermouth less so, and I've found Punt e Mes to be remarkably sturdy. Maybe my next trip to the store will result in me bringing a bottle of this home.


I find that the more premium sweet vermouths like Cocchi and Carpano are more durable than Cinzano or Martini & Rossi, if that helps.
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#20 brinza

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 12:38 PM

I find that the more premium sweet vermouths like Cocchi and Carpano are more durable than Cinzano or Martini & Rossi, if that helps.

I wouldn't know how long Cinzano keeps--in my house it doesn't stay around long enough! If Cocchi were easier for me to get, I'd probably go through that just as quickly.

As far as Bonal, I've also found that it lasts for quite a while. I wouldn't worry about trying to use it up in a hurry.

Edited by brinza, 03 February 2012 - 12:39 PM.

Mike

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#21 eas

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 04:17 PM

At home we go through a fair amount of Bonal in two simple drinks my wife loves:

1:1 Bonal and fresh cider

1:1:1 Bonal, fresh cider, and Genever

Both are stirred over ice, strained.

Regarding preservation, the Bonal will last longer than most vermouth b/c the base is all mistell (brandy fortified grape juice, aka unfermented grape must) instead of wine. That said, as a natural product with a grape base it will turn in time.

#22 MikeInSacto

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 08:17 PM

Along the lines of the rye-and-Bonal, it makes a great sub for Punt e Mes in a Red Hook.

#23 bostonapothecary

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 11:20 AM

Regarding preservation, the Bonal will last longer than most vermouth b/c the base is all mistell (brandy fortified grape juice, aka unfermented grape must) instead of wine. That said, as a natural product with a grape base it will turn in time.


is the mistell & brandy fully oxidized in a barrel like a pinot des charentes?

what varietals do they use to make it?
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#24 Frederic

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 10:23 AM

Some from Boston:

Snap Point
1 1/2 oz Ransom Old Tom Gin
1 1/2 oz Bonal
1 barspoon Yellow Chartreuse
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.
More info: http://cocktailvirgi...snap-point.html

No. 65
2 oz Sazerac 6 Year Rye
3/4 oz Bonal
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1 dash Fee Brothers' Orange Bitters
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a Luxardo Maraschino Cherry.
More info: http://cocktailvirgi...0/12/no-65.html

One of my favorite swaps with sweet vermouth is in the Hanky Panky (1.5 oz gin, 1.5 oz Bonal, barspoon Fernet Branca, stir with ice, strain into cocktail or rocks glass, orange twist).

#25 tanstaafl2

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 03:06 PM

Was just looking for some Bonal today and almost missed it as I was looking for the key on the label.

Apparently it was time for a refresh by the marketing department...

Bonal.JPG
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#26 eas

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 09:12 PM

Marketing Department - ha! There's nothing corporate with this one. For those not following the thread, in disclosure I speak as representative for the importer into the USA. This is/was the 1890's label that was to be replaced by the key in the golden age (20's - 30's) for Quinquina. The blossom label in the picture was for us to be a special edition, but now we'll keep it sometimes available along with the key label. Same juice inside both.

#27 brinza

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 02:14 PM

I do have to say I like that label, though.
Mike

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#28 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 09:13 PM

Tonight I made the Gilliland from Anfora for my husband. It is like a simplified version of the Bonal and Rye without the Cointreau or Angostura bitters.

2 oz Rittenhouse rye
1 oz Bonal
2 dashes orange bitters (I used Regan and Angostura orange bitters)
brandied cherry

Posted Image

It was not bad but we decided that we liked the Bonal & Rye better (a little more balanced/less intense).

#29 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:05 AM

(from the "Cocktails I'm supposed to like, but don't" thread) 

 

My favorite Boulevardier variant (and better than the original in my opinion) is this one from Kindred Cocktails:

Boulevardier Riff (Fred Sarkis)
by Fred Sarkis, Sable Kitchen & Bar, Chicago, IL
1 1/2 oz Bourbon, WL Weller
3/4 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Bonal Gentiane Quina
1 pn Salt (small amount)
2 ds Orange bitters

Stir, strain, straight up, cocktail glass

It moves pretty far away from the original but damn it's good.

 

That looks good (no Campari though, so not really a Boulevardier per se). I am always on the lookout for good cocktails using Bonal and may try this one tonight. The bourbon + bonal combo reminds me of the Mountain Man, but I digress...

 

It is indeed excellent and surprisingly crisp for a brown, bitter and stirred cocktail. I forgot the salt and did not add it until the end.

 

8599512208_0d88254865_z.jpg
 


Edited by FrogPrincesse, 29 March 2013 - 09:06 AM.


#30 campus five

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 01:32 PM

I don't think I ever put this up here, but on my last visit to Seattle in May 2012, we visited Murray at Canon.
He made us a flight of manhattans. All three were 2:1 rye to vermouth, 2 dashes ango, lemon peel. I can't remember what rye, but the vermouths were carpano antica, dolin rouge, and bonal. Without knowing what was what, I picked the bonal one as the clear favorite. And Antica (or Cocchi di Torino) is generally my favorite in everything.

Gonna have to try the rye/cynar/bonal combo next.
I've also dug the "rope burn" which is 1:1:1 smith&cross/aperol/bonal - grapefruit peel. delicious.