Eastside Road, Healdsburg, April 17, 2009—
OUR SECOND FISH DINNER from Monterey Fish: sole "dabs," local again of course, breaded and fried, with some Meyer lemon to squeeze over, and broccoli again, because it's good for me. Green salad, too.
Sauvignon blanc, "Viñas Chilenas", Chile, 2008
THE REAL NEWS, though, was tonight's invention of a new drink. Necessity is the mother of invention. It's Friday; I'm hot and tired from mowing, and though I had the good sense to fill the ice trays and put Martini glasses in the freezer this morning, I hadn't realized that we were out of Vermouth. Out of Vermouth.
Lindsey said she'd settle for a Corenwijn on the rocks, to cut it, so I gave her a couple of jiggers of Corenwijn, moderately shaken fifty-six times with ice cubes, then poured into her cold Martini glass and garnished with the regulation olives.
This made me think: what on earth am I going to have? I'd thought of a Fernetini, a drink I like sometimes, a regular Martini made with Fernet Branca substituting for the Vermouth — but I wasn't in the mood. There was that Corenwijn at hand, and there equally at hand the ice-cold bottle of "ordinary" American gin, Amsterdam brand (lightly flavored with citrus; made by Gallo). Why not try equal parts of both, shaken? I did. It was delicious.
Corenwijn is Dutch gin, made by the old Dutch house Bols, lightly aged in oak, just under 80 proof, smooth and delicious. I used to use it for Martinis, always with Boissière Vermouth (white, of course), always three to one, as I always make all my Martinis, even my Fernetinis. (Lindsey's drink is the exception, which is why I refer to it as a Notini: she likes equal parts gin and Vermouth, believe it or not.) I don't use Corenwijn for Martinis any more; it seems too shy for that; it wants to be drunk neat, either very cold or even at cool room temperature. It's delicious with a raw herring.