Life changing might be a bit of an overstatement, but this cocktail definitely changed the way I look at Benedictine and dry vermouth. As I began sipping my first Chrysanthemum and taking notes, as I always do, I wrote this down. “Four sips in and this drink is already one of my favorites.” At the end of the week, having increased that number of sips quite dramatically, my sentiment remains. This drink is good, really good in fact.
As you bring the drink to your mouth you’re first going to notice the fresh citrus aroma that the orange twist offers. On that note, the twist is absolutely essential. Without it you’ll lose a layer of complexity that I think this drink deserves. I say that because the other two main ingredients are deeply complex unto themselves. I offered some thoughts on benedictine earlier in the week and I discussed dry vermouth a while back. Although, having said that, I don’t think I really appreciated either of them until I took my first, and subsequent, sips of this drink. Their complexity is deep and hugely pleasing.
While on it’s own I find Benedictine to be a little too sweet, when tempered with the vermouth the sweetness is perfect. Similarly, I wouldn’t usually drink a glass of dry vermouth on its own. Though, mixed in this cocktail the vermouth offers its complexity and funkiness in a way that I find very pleasing. While I doubt I need to mention this to anyone reading this blog, I will anyway. Please go with a good dry vermouth. No sense in ruining good Benedictine with crappy vermouth. Finally, on top of these base flavors you’re adding a hint of citrus from the orange zest. Which, again, is very much essential to the final flavor profile. Same goes for absinthe. While you’re only adding a small amount the flavor melds well with the others to increase the complexity even further. Keep the amount of absinthe small, too. Somewhere between 3 dashes and 1/8 oz depending on your preference. I go with 1/8 oz.
This drink is definitely one to mix up for yourself. And, to compound that, I’d ask that if you’ve never much like dry vermouth that you give this mix a try. I think you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised with your new found respect.