Alberto Martinez & 1862 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Ashley Pini

The year Jerry Thomas released his first bartenders guide and a humble home in Malasana was built. 1862 is a landmark year for cocktails, and the namesake of one of Madrid’s finest cocktail bars, 1862 Dry Bar, the brainchild of Alberto Martinez.

Alberto Martinez began his bartending career a little differently to most. Having studied industrial engineering and then going on to work as an engineer for 12 years, the economic crisis in Spain led him to pack up his bags and instead travel the world. Finding himself in what he describes as “the middle of a big crisis,” he happily stumbled upon work in a small, cosy gin and vodka shop.

It was here that a love for bartending grew. The spirits shop differed from most by offering clients an experience, as well as tastings of the classics such as martinis and gimlets. It was through this work that Alberto discovered that he loved the hospitality, serving people a drink and really engaging with guests who walked through the shop doors. After two years, he was presented with the opportunity to rent a bigger place and in that space decided to open his first bar, 1862 Dry Bar.

“I never had a ‘special’ moment or a discovery,” Alberto said, of his newfound career; “it happened very gradually.”

Having selected the year 1862 as the inspiration behind his cocktail, Alberto explains his two reasons for doing so – both of which stem from the bar he both owns and works in – 1862 Dry Bar.  Named after the year it was built, this is the same year that the first Bartenders Guide by Jerry Thomas was published.

Being Spanish, Alberto is a huge fan of the classic sherry cobbler – both the drink and its history, which stems from the 19th Century during America’s cocktail boom. Wanting to create a modern twist on a classic drink from the year 1862, the sherry cobbler fits the bill perfectly.

“I worked with the punchy flavour of the original Sherry Cobbler and introduced Cherry Heering, as well as a range of other flavours that I felt paired really well with the spirit, including whisky and orange and came up with my own take on the classic cocktail,” he explained.

Classic cocktails have made a huge revival of late, “in particular classic cocktails with a twist,” said Alberto. Something that he finds very exciting. Relatively new to the industry, he has already noticed a shift in drinks trends. “Initially, a lot of clients were asking for Highballs (there was a huge gin & tonic craze in Spain), but that is continuously changing. Now it’s mostly cocktails that we serve”.

“Spanish people are becoming more interested in them. As well as this, we have a few regulars that come back to our bar time and time again for our speciality drinks”.

A cocktail trend he has noticed in particular of late is the surge in use of whisky (American, Scottish, Japanese and even Irish), a spirit he himself loves to experiment with.

The element of the bartending industry that is most important to Alberto and one that he loves the most is hospitality. “I think hospitality is something that can always be improved upon in the industry. For me, receiving people into my bar is what I love”, he said.

“Some come for a drink, some just love the place and others want to enjoy a moment, talk about life and enjoy some drinks,” he continued. Taking on the role of what they expect and delivering it is what excites and motivates Alberto the most.

“I believe that to better hospitality industry-wide, we must all study cocktails, create a great bar team and work alongside them to constantly improve and develop our work, which includes designing new menus, working alongside brands that are aligned with our values, meeting likeminded others in the industry and most importantly, hospitality, so that every patron that walks through our doors feels taken care of and enjoys their time in our bar.”

And finally, a Cheery Hearing memory for the ages; a tasting conducted by Leo Robitschek in Madrid. Alberto recalls…”That day I really learnt to appreciate more details of the liqueur, and I remember especially that day because I met Leo and Adele Robberstad, I even had the opportunity to have lunch with them. It was such a special time”.

Sherry & Cherry Cobbler

Ingredients:

1.5 oz Dry Sherry wine (Fino or Manzanilla, I used Fino Jarana Lustau)

0.75 oz Cherry Heering

0.5 oz Fresh pineapple juice

0.5 oz Peaty Scotch whiskey (I used Islay Mist)

2 Slices of orange

1 Barspoon of juice from Luxardo cherries

Method:

In a Boston shaker, muddle the orange then add all ingredients and shake well. Strain into a metal glass and fill with ice

Garnish:

Pineapple slices and berries

Glassware:

Julep Cup

Musings on Cocktails: The Bramble – Hoc scriptatum a Ereich Empey

 

http://cocktailmusings.blogspot.com/2010/10/bramble.html

The Bramble

Sunday, October 17, 2010
Hoc scriptatum a Ereich Empey

 

A great drink, the Bramble is essentially a gin sour with a float of crème de mûre.  Served over ice, it makes a refreshing summer sipper that appeals to those who prefer fruit based cocktails.

Although it looks like a sour, and it could be classified as a sour, the drink falls under a Fix.  The Gin Fix, listed by Jerry Thomas as a drink involving sugar, raspberry syrup, lemon juice and Holland gin, looks to be exactly a Bramble, except with a couple minor switches (Thomas 32).  In the Bramble, we see the use of crème de mûre, or a blackberry liqueur in place of the raspberry syrup, and now a days, we see the use of London Dry more often than the Holland gin.  But beyond those minor changes, the recipes are rather similar, including the use of shaved / crushed ice.

Looking at the history of the Gin Fix, we see, like with any other cocktail, changes to the recipe.  Evolution is a common occurrence with any historical phenomenon, since objects do not exist in culturally enclosed synchronic systems.  For instance, Kappeler in his 1895 classic, Modern American Drinks, writes: “one small spoonful fine sugar, one squirt of seltzer, half a pony pineapple syrup, one jigger gin in a long thing glass” (Kappeler 57).  This looks quite different than the recipe set out a little less than ten years earlier by Jerry Thomas in his 1887 Bartenders Guide.  And the Fix, later, according to Frank Meier at the Ritz Bar in Paris: “juice of one half Lemon, a teaspoon of Sugar, a dash of Curacao, one glass of Brandy [… for] the gin, rum or either whiskey fix the same as brandy fix, except us liquor chosen” (Meier 57).  And that recipe, which uses the Curacao instead of the syrup, makes me start thinking about the Crusta more than a Fix.  Meier’s book was published in 1936, a little more than forty years later.  Even Craddock, who was published slightly earlier than Meier, listed the Gin Fix as a drink that includes sugar, lemon, water and gin (Craddock 205).  There is no syrup, no sweetener, other than the tablespoonful of sugar.  Such minute changes can possibly be attributed to cultural differences, but most likely, it is a change in the way the cocktail was conceived of over time: it is the same thing with how we view movements towards sweeter drinks.

Created by Dick Bradsell in 1984, the Bramble has skyrocketed in the UK, becoming one of the common recurring drinks on a bartender’s short list (Cecchini).  It is extremely easy to imbibe, offering little resistance in the form of bitter or astringent flavors that turn a lot of people off from classic or more complex drinks; as such it can serve as an excellent gateway cocktail in order to introduce others to the art of a fine drink.  And plus, you get that nice layering effect, a bit of spectacle, as the crème slowly winds through the crushed ice to the bottom of the glass, giving the drink a sensation of being alive, or the liqueur wandering through a true bramble.

Yet, perhaps the reason this drink is not well known is the obscurity of crème de mûre.  Good quality blackberry liqueur is not something found in every bar; as such, this drink really shouldn’t be made unless you have decent ingredients (much like any other cocktail for that matter).  A great crème de mûre to use however, should you be shopping for one, is Briottet.  Distributed in the states by Preiss Imports (who distribute a ton of fine liqueurs including Maurin Quina), Edmond Briottet is a French liqueur company based out of Dijon, France, a region best known for its’ crème de cassis, or blackcurrant liqueur.  All their products are fresh, vibrant and delicious: they are great to sip on alone.  But like all crèmes, the rich thick body and the strong flavor works best in a cocktail.

If Briotett is not available, I would also recommend Leopold Bros. Their liqueurs are some of the most fruit driven I have ever tasted, and feel less syrupy than others; in this drink, I can picture their Blackberry liqueur working extremely well.  At some level, the fresh vibrant flavors of their other liqueurs, such as their Cherry one, makes me question why I keep going to Cherry Heering.  But then I remember, that the flavor of Cherry Heering is a time honored classic, and contributes specifically to remaking the drink in a traditional fashion.  Anyhow, if you can’t acquire crème de mûre, go ahead and use a Dijon based crème de cassis, which supplies the same rich, dark ripe berry notes to this drink.

The recipe that Bradsell created calls for specifically Plymouth Gin.  I’m all for Plymouth, and it works wonderfully in this drink: the coriander and other botanicals present in Plymouth make for a nice change of pace from the fruit notes.  However, this drink is extremely good with Bols Genever, given the slight earth-like notes that help bring out the fruit flavors ever more clearly; plus, Bols has juniper on the forefront, more so than the Plymouth, which gives a better balance than the coriander in a drink that exhibits the taste of ripe forest berries.  Personally I would go with using Bols, but you can’t go wrong with either; some people might not particularly want the Genevieve flavor, but to be honest, this helps provide a bit of a throwback to its’ origins in the Gin Fix.  Plus, Bols historical nature lends the cocktail a sense of classic authenticity.

According to George Sinclair, a bartender who worked with Bradsell, Dick’s recipe does not call for blackberries as a garnish, but rather, raspberries and a lemon slice.  The blackberries though seem more fitting, just because of the liqueur going into this drink; however, either one is acceptable.  I believe that the use of blackberries as a garnish is the more common choice now a days.

The worst thing about this drink?  The amount of ice left in the glass, if the cocktail is consumed quickly.  According to Bradsell, “the only complaints we used to get about them were from British customers with a dislike for glasses filled with ice” (Sinclair).

The Bramble:

2 ounces Bols Genever or Plymouth gin
1 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce crème de mûre

Combine the gin, lemon juice and syrup in a shaker tin with ice; shake and strain into a chilled rocks glass filled with crushed ice.  Drizzle the crème de mûre over the ice, garnishing with some blackberries.

—–

Cecchini, Toby.  2010.  “Case Study: The Bramble.”  The New York Times.  Originally published June 16, 2010.  http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/16/case-study-the-bramble/ (accessed October 17, 2010).

Craddock, Henry.  1999.  The Savoy Cocktail Book.  Originally published 1930.  London: Pavilion Books.

Kappeler, George J.  1895.  Modern American Drinks: How to Mix and Serve All Kinds of Cups and Drinks.  Reprint of original.  New York: Saalfield Publishing Co.

Meier, Frank.  1934.  The Artistry of Mixing Drinks.  Reprint of original.  Paris: Fryam Press.

Sinclair, George.  2007.  “Bramble Cocktail.”  Published on Scribd.  Originally published April 23, 2007.  http://www.scribd.com/doc/36120/Bramble-Cocktail (accessed October 17, 2010).

Thomas, Jerry.  1887.  Bartender’s Guide.  Reprint of original.  New York: Dick and Fitzgerald.

Wondrich, David. 2007. Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to “Professor” Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar. New York: Penguin Group

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