This is actually an email I sent to someone besides Sean. While Sean's inbox is frequently subjected to flurries of cocktail emails I do occasionally email others. Martha okayed posting this months ago and since Sean showed me how to put stuff on the blog (after delicious Ramos Fizzes and Sazeracs) I thought I'd go ahead and post something. Not that everything will always be in the form of an email.
So I came up with a drink that I thought would be a nice beginning to the new journal you made for me. I wanted to call it the 'Strong Arm' thus nodding to your operation but, not surprisingly, that name was already taken (whiskey, cointreau, lemon juice). However, 'Bookbinder' is not. I think we were talking about that name a while ago when I was working on a couple of things. Hopefully this one does right by the drinking preferences of you and your ilk.
1 1/2 oz Jefferson's Rye
1 oz Campari
3/4 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Benedictine
Garnish - none
Stir with ice, strain into cocktail glass
I've been digging drinks pairing different potable bitters lately. The rye here is hearty enough to not get lost or overshadowed by them. Plus it has some nice peppery notes which really enhance the conversation struck up by the Cynar and Benedictine. Campari brightens things up a touch, contributes bitterness but doesn't dominate the way it sometimes can. I haven't tried subbing different amari for the Cynar which would make it something we can serve at the bar. I will, for kicks, but i doubt it will be an improvement*. Plus, I like how this one reads like a list of my favorite ingredients.
*I did actually mess around with different modifiers and came up with a variation that works fine using ingredients available in Maine. The 'Apprentice' subs Amaro Montenegro for the Cynar and replaces the Benedictine with 1/4 oz Cherry Heering. Less herbal than the original but still a tasty drink.