Porteño

| Leave a comment

One day I’ve red a little story about a cocktail made by Murray Stenson, bartender at Zig Zag Café, Seattle, USA. That article has been written by well-known mixology expert Gary Regan for his San Francisco Chronicle column. It was very warm-hearted text among other things.

I was intrigued with such complex ingredients combination – whiskey and equal parts of cherry brandy, lime and Fernet Branca.

That cocktail is called Porteño. As far as I know it means Argentinean who lives in Buenos Aires. Another interesting fact is that Argentineans are mad about Fernet. While all world drinks Coca-Cola with rum, they drink Fernando – Coca-Cola mixed with Fernet.

I was forced to adapt slightly the recipe because Falernum is unavailable in Russia, and my homemade Falernum isn’t ready yet.

I’ve used simple syrup instead as it’s recommended in the article.

Gary Regan writes about the cocktail as follows.

Porteño

  • 25 ml bourbon,
  • 15 ml  Fernet Branca,
  • 15 ml cherry brandy,
  • 15 ml fresh lime juice,
  • 15 ml Falernum or simple syrup.

Fill a cocktail shaker two-thirds full of ice and add the all of the ingredients. Shake for approximately 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Porteño

There was bitter herbal nose with touch of mint and milfoil. Spicy bitter aroma with herbs, mainly chamomile, and cherry.

Mellow enveloping palate with dry aftertaste: slightly tart and sour citrus, velvet bitterness brought by botanicals, a touch of oak.

This Porteño version has very complex but quite delightful flavour. Fernet Branca here is the obvious leader. It’s everywhere, it reigns.

Bourbon (Jim Beam Black used) was only base spirit here. Cherry brandy is in the background, lime and sugar complete sweet and sour balance.

Definitely it was perfect drink for Fernet lover.

Another variation I made was adding small quantity of cherry infusion.

I was a bit disappointed with my L’Heritier-Guyot Le Cherry Brandy which was too weak to compete with Fernet Branca powerful flavour. So I’ve decided to add more cherry aroma to my Porteño. Homemade cherry infusion helped me, and here is my adaptation.

Porteño (cherry-infused)

  • 25 ml Jim Beam Black,
  • 15 ml  Fernet Branca,
  • 10 ml L’Heritier-Guyot Le Cherry Brandy,
  • 5 мл homemade cherry infusion (recipe below),
  • 15 ml fresh lime juice,
  • 15 ml simple syrup.

Fill a cocktail shaker two-thirds full of ice and add the all of the ingredients. Shake for approximately 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

This time in palate I had true cherry flavour carefully supported by lime and sugar. On the swallow I felt a little tartness, warm bitter chamomile and milfoil notes, delicate dry oak.

It was milder version with Fernet well-balanced by united flavour of cherry and bourbon. Also I could spot there wonderful smooth passage from initial sweet taste through tartness to dry and bitter aftertaste where rich Fernet Branca flavours were fully revealed.

Porteño

The second (very slight) variation I made was adding a dash (or two) of my homemade spice bitters based on Hess House Bitters recipe.

I felt that cherry and botanicals combination can be richer in taste. It appears as a touch of spices was the missing link. Angostura bitters looks like too sharp one for this case so I’ve used my fresh spice bitters from the second batch.

Porteño (spiced)

  • 25 ml Jim Beam Black Label,
  • 15 ml  Fernet Branca,
  • 10 ml L’Heritier-Guyot Le Cherry Brandy,
  • 5 ml homemade cherry infusion (recipe below),
  • 15 ml fresh lime juice,
  • 15 ml simple syrup,
  • 2 dash homemade aromatic bitters.

Fill a cocktail shaker two-thirds full of ice and add the all of the ingredients. Shake for approximately 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

As expected, my bitters adds complex cloves, cinnamon and cardamom flavour somewhere between light almond-like cherry aftertaste and smooth wood dryness.

Overall impression was that this time my Porteño became warmer and deeper. Obviously, I’ve found that missing link in the hint of spices.

About cherry infusion I’ve used.

That’s very simple thing. Ripe sour cherries from Central Russia were gathered in the three-liter jar. Then added vodka. After ten days in warm dark place maceration was stopped, and infused vodka was saved to another bottle. Fresh vodka added to continue maceration.

After twenty days maceration stopped again, and infused vodka added to infusion saved from the first step.

The third step is similar except longer maceration period – 30 days.

The result is approximately one and a half liter of natural cherry infused vodka.

You can comment this post

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *