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Katie Meadow

Bonal Gentiane-Quina

75 posts in this topic

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.

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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.


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.

DeVoto, The Hour

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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.

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


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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... 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?


Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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... 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.

DeVoto, The Hour

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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.

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


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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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.

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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.

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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

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

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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.

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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.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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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.


Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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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.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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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.

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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.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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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 (log)

Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

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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.

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

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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?


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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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://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/2011/01/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://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/2010/12/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).

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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


If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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