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On the Bar: In Cold Blood, a rye drink with a pinch of salt

In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood | Combine 1 ounce rye, 1 ounce sweet vermouth, and 1 ounce Cynar (or 1/2 ounce Cynar 70) in a chilled double-rocks glass with ice (one large cube if possible). Stir to chill. Twist lemon peel over surface of drink and drop it in. Sprinkle with quality salt such as Maldon. (Amanda Ray, Yakima Herald-Republic)

I own a lot of cocktail books, but there are a select few I automatically reach for when I’m looking for new recipes.

Lately, Andrew and Briana Volk’s “Northern Hospitality” is at the top of that short list. There aren’t even THAT many recipes in the thing — a bunch of them are for food (food that doesn’t have a single bit of alcohol in it) — and still it seems every time I approach my home bar without a specific drink in mind, I find a good one in that book.

You’ll recall that I’ve already written about two “Northern Hospitality” drinks, the Green Eyes and the White Noise. This week, we’re adding a third, a fantastic rye drink called In Cold Blood.

Like the other two, it’s a reasonably easy drink to make. And like the others, it is somehow both esoteric and unpretentious. In fact, at first glance it’s almost exactly a boulevardier. The difference, aside from specifying rye over bourbon, is as simple as swapping out Campari for Cynar, another bittersweet Italian amaro.

Then you get to the garnishes and things get weird. There’s a lemon twist, which fine, sure, OK, a lemon twist; that’s standard enough. But for this drink, there’s a trick: You leave a little meat on the lemon peel, cutting it thick enough that it gives you a few drops of lemon juice when you pinch it over the glass.

I’ve never seen that in a recipe before. (I’m not the most worldly guy, sure, but still.)

Also, you throw in a pinch of salt. SALT! There are plenty of drinks that include salt, but none I’m aware of that include salt and sweet vermouth. It’s a wild idea. But somehow it really works. It’s the sort of counterintuitive (to my simple brain, anyway) combination that makes for some of my favorite contemporary drinks. It’s also something cool and different and, yes, weird that will impress your cool and different and, yes, weird friends. So, long story short, you might want to think about buying a copy of this book.

In Cold Blood

1 ounce rye

1 ounce sweet vermouth

1 ounce Cynar (or 1/2 ounce Cynar 70)

Lemon peel garnish

Salt

Combine liquid ingredients in a chilled double-rocks glass with ice (one large cube if possible). Stir to chill. Twist lemon peel over surface of drink and drop it in. Sprinkle with quality salt such as Maldon.

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