Welcome back dear reader! Now, in the next step of getting caught-up on posting, here's a recipe whose initial testing dates back to 2012 or 2013 (and whose quality merits a weekday post while we're still in the month of Taurus). Those with sparkling memories might remember a promise about a White Bull recipe made in 2013 from the Bucentaure recipe - take a few moments and catch up, we're working the thematicness here. The White Bull itself is closer than you think, but this recipe is an offshoot from Bucentaure development (back when I didn't know a thing about structure and was just throwing things in a glass hoping it would taste good) that was just too darn good to let slip away.
As I mention at the end of the Bucentaure post, "I started with a taste-image combo of Fernet Branca and violet liqueur to match the season, though I had tried neither, and it all grew from there." Literally, one day the idea hit me and that night I had picked up my first bottles of Fernet Branca and Rothman & Winter Crème de Violette, entranced at the idea of loamy/minty earth* --or perhaps by its symbolic counterpart, the zodiac's Earth-sign bull-- covered over by tiny violets and enjoying the sun-heated ground, crisp breeze, and very fresh grass of this time of year.
*many thanks to all the internet Fernet reviewers out there - I actually wasn't very surprised/shocked by the time I finally tried Fernet!
You might be wrinkling your nose right about now - Fernet and violette are not natural partners as I quickly came to realize. (hence frantic searching for a newfangled revival of Crème Yvette just getting rolled out in state stores at the time) However, HOWEVER... When moderated by the lightness of lemon (and a gradient of aged spirits, wine and bitters)? Hmm...
I forget the exact circumstance of the limonata here: either I tried veering Bucentaure in a less-heavy/Sour direction (so I could work in an egg white) or I mixed in some leftover soda when exasperated by the heaviness of the recipe. Either way, the sour and added dilution lift the drink just-so. And the addition of very-recent find, black mission fig bitters, is a perfect bridge, making up for lost dark dried fruit notes from Bucentaure's armagnac when switching to a more standard brandy (and losing some of the wild tang that might interfere with violette's integration). You might try the fig bitters in place of the plum bitters in Bucentaure as well, to fab results.
So anyway, as if I haven't already given you enough, here's a whole lotta Bull.
Bull with a Barrette
2 tsp Fernet Branca
10 drops Brooklyn Hemispherical black mission fig bitters
10 drops Xocolotl Molé bitters
2 oz San Pellegrino limonata
1 oz Smith & Cross naval rum
1 oz tawny port (Sandeman)
1 oz brandy (Masson VSOP)
1/4 oz crème de violette, divided
Mint & fresh violets for garnish
Build in a rocks or highball glass on ice, giving small stirs after the limonata and first half (1 bsp) of the violette. Drizzle the remaining violette (1 bsp) over top for aromatics and garnish with mint & violets.
Let the drink rest a few minutes, let it dilute properly: the melody arises in the dilution.
Heavy for a long drink but it melds luxuriously. Mint and faint citrus lift the nose, followed by earthy aged grape and bitter herbs. Violet mellows and balances. You could almost say this is a very boozy version of Miss May.
The violette enunciates the port first (undergirded by brandy) and underneath that is a subtle rum funk. And finally underneath all that you get Fernet's chocolatey herbs. All this is evidenced by limonata's pectiny savory oh-so-sippable edge. Despite the name and my grander cocktail plans, this taste fits the perfect flavor idea of a bull in my mouth.
This isn't a fierce bull that's going to become infuriated at the drop of a red waiving cloth. This is a bull that's perfectly happy to lie in a flowery meadow and be kissed on the ear by butterflies. Bucentaure was the Id, and here we have the Ego. Stay tuned for Super Ego!