Custom Cocktails from Damon Boelte and Dan Petroski
America is in a cocktail renaissance and that is a wonderful thing. Enjoying a well-crafted drink--especially one served in fine crystal and preferably shared in good company--is one of life's great pleasures. Cocktails are often a catalyst for creativity and good conversation, or imbibed to commemorate an important event or remembrance. At i Leoni we believe that drinking a cocktail is a ritual in which one should indulge as often as possible.
Father's Day is an appropriate occasion to mix a good drink and toast to the paternal bonds in our lives. As such, two favorite mixologists; Damon Boelte and Daniel Petroski, have each graciously shared a new cocktail with The Dish in honor of the holiday-- the two libations are both strong, memorable drinks befitting the fathers we will celebrate this coming Sunday. I hope that you take the time to mix and enjoy both of them, and if you should find yourself in need of the requisite accouterments for serving or sipping these excellent beverages, we have you covered.
Damon Boelte is the proprietor of Brooklyn's Grand Army bar and the co-host of The Speakeasy podcast on Heritage Radio Network. Described as, "exceptionally pleasant" in The New Yorker, Grand Army has garnered wide renown for its superb drinks and ambiance. Damon's "New Montgomery" is an ode to one of his favorite street in San Francisco. Like its creator, the New Montgomery is simultaneously modern and classic, substantial, and cool.
Damon writes, "The New Montgomery cocktail is named after the street in downtown San Francisco, a very special place for me because I stayed at the Palace Hotel, located at 2 New Montgomery St., on my very first trip to San Francisco about 10 years ago. It is a gorgeous old hotel, and home to the Pied Piper painting that spans the entire back bar at the aptly named Maxfield's Bar, named after the artist Maxfield Parrish. I usually order a Gibson when I get to visit the old place, and I always pop across the street to House of Shields, another very old bar where I like to catch up with their head bartender Shanti."
The build: first measure out all ingredients and pour into a mixing glass, then add ice cubes to fill the mixing glass just enough so the ice is sitting above the liquid level and the drink is fully submerged in ice. Stir with a cocktail spoon for about 30 seconds, then strain into a large rocks glass over one large cube of ice. Peel a swath of lemon about 1 inch wide by 3 inches long, express the oils from the peel over the cocktail and drop into the glass. (It is important to note that this should absolutely be stirred and not shaken.)
2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
.5 oz Benedictine
.25 oz Fernet Branca
Stir with ice in a mixing glass, strain over large ice cube in a double rocks glass, garnish with lemon twist.
Daniel Petroski is the winemaker at Larkmead Vineyards and the proprietor of Massican Winery. I became aware of Daniel through Larkmead wines gifted to me by my dear friends Brian and Erinn Maloney. His Larkmead cabernets are my favorites; spicy, dense, and rich with berry scents, they are elegant, accessible, and singular. Remarkable wines without even the slightest hint of the stale pretense that too often attends Napa cabernets. Dan's Massican Winery produces bright California whites inspired by Italian white wines, as well as highly sought after sweet and dry Vermouths that belong in your bar.
Unsurprisingly, Dan makes a mean cocktail too. During Napa County's shelter-in-place Dan embarked on an ambitious quarantine project which he featured on his Instagram---the aptly titled, "Quarantini". For seventy-nine consecutive posts (including a week's sabbatical in solidarity with the civil rights protests across America) Dan posted a different drink. I was consistently impressed by the quality and and inventiveness demonstrated in each evening's libation. Like his wines, Dan's cocktails are excellent and his recipes demonstrate the creativity and taste permeating his work.
Dan writes, "Early in the Quarantini I posted one of my favorite drinks, and 80-odd days later it remains one of my favorite drinks that I have come back to multiple times when drinking casually in the California Spring and Summer."
The Gin & It
The recipe is simple: Three parts Gin (I prefer No. 3 Gin, a favorite classic London style dry gin accentuating the juniper and the citrus.). One part Italian Sweet Vermouth, the It in the Gin & It (I produce my own Sweet Vermouth under the Massican wine label, the Vermouth is lighter in color and sugar and makes this cocktail brighter and fresher than it would be if you used a popular, classic Vermouth like Carpano Antica).
Place both ingredients in a cocktail shaker, fill with ice and stir for 20-30 seconds. Pour the drink into your favorite Martini glass and garnish with a lemon peel.
Regina Leoni is an attorney and writer who appreciates cooking, homekeeping, gardening, a good drink, and beautiful things. She loves Oscar Wilde, John Keats, and Keith Richards. You can sometimes find her at i Leoni, and she occasionally checks the email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Regina Leoni