May 3rd, 2008

amber cocktail

mmm, zingy!

Or Zingy, as the case may be.

The monkey and I are both fond of Fernet Branca with ginger ale. (Yeah, yeah, he's a bartender, we live in the Bay Area, and we drink Fernet. We're 3° off from normal most of the time; we get to be conformist every now and then.)

One of the most common ways of drinking it around here is a shot of Fernet with a ginger ale chaser. Rather than drink it that way, we prefer ginger ale with a Fernet float, a beverage I dubbed the El Perro.*

Why El Perro? Well, the name's in Spanish because the only place that loves Fernet more than San Francisco is Argentina, where Fernet con coca is not only the national drink, it's the name of a pop song that spent weeks at the top of the charts.

¿Y porqué «el perro»? If you drink it without stirring, each sip starts with Fernet and ends with ginger. It's an auto-chaser. *rimshot* Thank you, I'll be here all week.

Anyway, it's been a challenge to find a ginger ale that stands up to the Fernet and balances out its rather assertive flavors, much less find one that's easily available in markets near us. Bundaberg is pretty good, but only available (that we've found) at the Jack London BevMo. Blenheim sounds interesting ("The 'hot' variety is handy for giving yourself a tracheotomy") but I've never seen it around here.

Serendipitously, the latest issue of Imbibe has a recipe for homemade ginger syrup. Right now, there's a stock pot simmering away on the stove containing a pound of ginger (roughly chopped, then whirred in the food processor until finely minced), two cups of sugar, and six cups of water. It smells great. The back of my nostrils tingles every time I inhale deeply.

Zingy indeed.

*I grew up in a state that has "The La Brea Tar Pits", and where most people don't even blink at a construction like "drive south on the El Camino". I plead diminished capacity in the realm of multi-lingual phrases. Je suis una loca Californian.
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