Bonal and Rye-@cocktailchron #Dalva Bartender Todd Smith

Bonal and Rye:

2 ounces rye whiskey (Old Overholt)
1 ounce Bonal Gentiane-Quina
1/2 ounce Cointreau (Patron Citronge)
2 dashes orange bitters (homemade)
1 dash Angostura bitters
Orange twist, for garnish

This cocktail came our way from Paul Clarke's recent article covering the availability of new aperitifs and the creative  new cocktails that have resulted. The nose is predominantly rye and warm spice notes. The sip brings a caramel sweetness as the Bonal and orange liqueur tame the angular spicy notes of the rye. It has a smooth syrupy finish similar to The Kina Cocktail, that gains it's smoothness from the sweet vermouth,which relative to the Bonal, is quite different with the added gentian bitterness not usually present in vermouth as they most often use cinchona (a milder bittering agent). On the subject of bitters, experiment with your bitters levels as they can widely effect the outcome of the cocktail. With this drink I've found it doesn't hurt to be a bit heavy handed with the orange bitters but keep the angostura at a dash as it will quickly overpower the nuances of the Bonal.

Alice's Key- 1 part gin, 1 part Aperol, 1 part Bonal

Alice's Key:

1 part gin (Small's)
1 part Aperol
1 part Bonal Gentiane-Quina

Stir with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass.

The drink begins with a cardamom and candied grapefruit nose. The sip is smooth and on the sweet side. There is a welcome, slightly bitter finish from the cinchona in the Bonal that peeks out before the cardamom finish takes over. The Aperol adds a light fruitiness that mixes nicely with the Small's gin and is not quite as aggressive as Campari in this Negroni-style, equal-parts cocktail. However, Small's has been challenging to mix with due to its overwhelming cardamom finish. This characteristic was noted in a solid review at the Drink Spirits blog. It is not an easily swappable gin when following traditional cocktail recipes and its dominance needs to be considered in the creation of new gin cocktails. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but as noted earlier, challenging when mixing. It should also be noted that in addition to the cardamom, Small's also holds more nuanced notes of lemon rind, juniper, and star anise. In future iterations, lemon juice may be added to cut through the sweetness for a crisper finish.