Fork in the Road has hit the cocktail trail at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, from which regular dispatches will be posted this week.
The scourge of the extra dry martini has started to abate, what with the growing popularity of the 50/50 martini. And vermouth is starting to make a comeback as a key ingredient in cocktails. At Employees Only, Dushan Zaric makes a chai-infused vermouth, as well as a vermouth infused with herbes de Provence, and one infused with red bush tea, all of which are made fresh daily.
“We go through one bottle of vermouth per day,” says Zaric. But for home use, he recommends refrigerating it, as most people keep their bottles of vermouth for far too long. He adds, “Go small. Buy the 375ml bottles instead of the 750ml.”
The chai-infused vermouth mixes well with almost any brown liquor, according to Zaric. At Employees Only, it’s mixed with cognac, lemon juice, simple syrup, and pomegranate juice, and garnished with three dried rosebuds.
“It’s a celebration of beautiful women,” intimates Zaric. Oh? “A good cocktail is like a beautiful woman. It should be stunning to the eye, exhilarating to smell, and wonderful to taste.”
To make chai-infused vermouth at home, go to your favorite tea shop or Indian food shop for some good loose chai tea.
Employees Only’s Chai-infused Vermouth
6 oz Dolin Rouge
1 1/2 tbsp loose chai tea
2 pods of cardamon
3 dried cloves
1/4 cinnamon stick
From a 750ml bottle of sweet vermouth, pour out 6 ounces.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the vermouth, tea, cardamon, cinnamon, and cloves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cut the heat and let it cool.
Once it’s reached room temperature, drain it, and pour it back into the bottle of vermouth. Enjoy on ice or mixed in a cocktail.