You know how certain things just make you feel comfortable and enhance your sense of well being? A comfy cashmere sweater. A fuzzy puppy. A warm feather comforter on a cool autumn evening. A $200 Nordstrom gift card. A confident bartender who really knows his way around a bottle of gin. Okay, maybe that last one speaks more to me and my needs, but hey, this is my blog, so there ya have it!
Every time I walk into Portland's Ten-01 and see their master mixologist Kelly Swenson behind the bar, I know things are going to get cozy and my personal well being is about to get a lift. We stopped by for some happy hour nibbles and libations yesterday when I took the afternoon off from the wine shack to celebrate w's birthday weekend. There's a sort if illicit thrill that goes with having cocktails out at 3:30 in the afternoon, and I can think of no better place than Ten-01. Besides Kelly's mad skills behind the bar, they have way above average cheap bites (those are their crispy Thai ribs at right) from 3-6. We ordered a couple of drinks...a Paloma for w (that put my attempt to shame and I'm stealing his version) and Kelly's Martini 1812 (pictured above) for me. I asked Kelly about the name and he said that is the year it was invented. Now Kelly forgotten more about making drinks than I'll ever know, so it sounded good. But I did further Googling this morning and found what I think may be the real reference to 1812, which is the year Alessandro Martini, who founded the Martini and Rossi vermouth company, was born. Whatever the reason for the name, this was an outstanding, exquisitely balanced cocktail. A three-to-one mix of gin and Carpano vermouth, with a drizzle of Maraschino liqueur and a dash of orange bitters and an amarena cherry for garnish, this also had a lovely golden tint that made it perfectly matched to the cool fall afternoon outside. So a toast to Alessandro and Kelly, two people who continue to enhance my world!
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From Kelly Swenson of Ten-01
Three parts gin
One part Carpano Antica vermouth
1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur
Dash orange bitters
Preserved amarena cherry for garnish
Fill cocktail mixer half full of ice. Add gin, vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and bitters. Stir to combine and chill. Drop cherry into martini glass and strain cocktail into it. Enjoy!