Bich's Special/The Great Secret- 2 oz gin, 1 oz Cocchi Americano, dash Ango bitters @localwineco @hendricksgin

Bich's Special:

1 Dash Angostura bitters
1 oz Kina Lillet (Cocchi Americano)
2 oz. dry gin (Small's)

Stir with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze orange zest over cocktail.

Both of these cocktails appear in The Savoy Cocktail Book, though I was not able to find any information as to why they have different names, yet are comprised of the same ingredients using the same preparation techniques. While both recipes call for dry gin, we opted to use "alternative" gins in our recipes. If you are a stickler for authentic replication, Plymouth or Beefeater are both excellent and readily available options.

The acquisition of Cocchi Americano as our stand in Kina Lillet has led to a search for classic Kina Lillet cocktails to try in their "original" format (Vesper coming soon...). This one had a citrus nose from the gin, very clean, with forward notes of pine, juniper, and cardamom. The finish was a spice frenzy with the bitterness of the cinchona and warm-spice from the angostura which went well with the cardamom-heavy finish of Small's gin.


 The Great Secret:

1 Dash Angostura bitters
1 oz Kina Lillet (Cocchi Americano)
2 oz. dry gin (Hendrick's)

Stir with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze orange zest over cocktail.

Hendrick's seemed a worthy candidate for a mysterious cocktail given its own curious nature. The nose is complex citrus from the zest and the Cocchi, each having their own distinct, yet similar oranges notes, and a touch of rose petals. The sip is very smooth and light with a dry, slightly bitter finish. Angostura and Cocchi Americano make for a good pairing and the combination  leaves a cinnamon warmth on the tongue.

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.

Kina Cocktail- 1.5 oz dry gin, .75 oz Cocchi Americano, .75 oz Punt E Mes

Kina Cocktail:

1.5 oz. dry gin (Small's)
3/4 oz. Kina Lillet (Cocchi Americano)
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth (Punt E Mes)

Stir with ice. Strain.

After a great night of cocktails with Eric Seed at Teardrop Lounge I was inspired to pick up a couple bottles from his mind-boggling portfolio, Cocchi Americano and Bonal Gentiane Quina (In PDX Pearl Specialty carries both). I started with the Kina cocktail from The Savoy Cocktail Book to experiment with. Cocchi Americano is considered the most accurate representation of Kina Lillet (no longer in production under the traditional formula).

The nose is strong juniper, mild citrus, with additional herbal notes reminiscent of chartreuse. The sweetness of the Punt E Mes tones back the initial spicy bitterness of the gentian and cinchona, which follow on the swallow enlivening the palate as a good aperitif should.The cinchona slowly builds upon sip mixed with ceylon, star anise, and followed with a strong gentian dryness and extreme cardamom finish of the Small's Gin from Ransom, a Portland local favorite.

Small's Gin

Tasting Notes on Small's Gin:

Nose: Cardamom is the dominant note, unlike any other gin we've sampled. There are also hints of black pepper, faint juniper berries, and lemon

Taste: Cardamom forward sip, angelica, coriander, caraway, juniper

Finish: Long cardamom (sensing a theme here?), star anise, angelica, very mild and smooth

Very unique and different gin. Great for cardamom lovers. 

Cocktails with Small's Gin