You can just imagine our late zio, Aldo Sersale, featuring in a James Bond movie. He would have played the down-to-earth dolce vita aristocrat who provides a seaside refuge for the British special agent and his latest ladyfriend in between car chases and encounters with evil despots. Knowing Bond’s drinking habits, uncle Aldo would of course have arranged for the couple to be served martinis – shaken but not stirred – on their romantic sunset cruise in his Riva speedboat.
But Aldo would have wanted the cocktail to channel the spirit of a place he had loved ever since he was a boy. Otherwise, why come all this way? If Bond is going to order a martini in Positano, it should be one that speaks of a place where the sea meets the mountains, one alive with the scent of fragrant coastal maquis and the woodsmoke of shepherds’ huts on the Path of the Gods.
This is just what we have aimed to do in the Mediterranean Martini, one of the Signature Cocktails created by our expert bar staff for Aldo’s Cocktail Bar & Seafood Grill, Le Sirenuse’s homage to zio Aldo and the simple yet exquisite good things in life he treasured. With the 25th James Bond movie No Time to Die still riding high at the global box office, we offer the Mediterranean Martini to all our friends around the world, in the convivial spirito of zio Aldo. Let’s raise a glass (but just the one) to the season just passed, and look forward with hope and expectation to next spring, summer and fall in Positano.
- 50cl Gin Onde
- 3cl smoked French Dry Noilly Prat Vermouth
- Three pitted green olives, smoked
You will need two pieces of equipment before you start: a cocktail shaker, and a gadget known as a smoking gun, which directs the smoke from burning woodchips towards your chosen receptacle or ingredient. At Aldo’s, we also use a perfume atomizer to spray the vermouth onto the gin (an old-fashioned glass scent dispenser would do just as well, but make sure it’s well washed!).
The two liquid ingredients have been chosen for their range of botanicals. Gin Onde is a small-batch Italian gin made by Giovanni Campari of G. C. Spirits, which evokes the sensory world of the rugged Ligurian coastline around the five remote villages known as Le Cinque Terre, where the essences that go into the spirit are picked by hand. Not just on land: alongside thyme, juniper, helichrysum, santolina and other herbs and berries, there’s some seaweed in the mix, which gives the gin an unmistakable salty note. As for Noilly Prat, this historic French vermouth, whose origins go back to 1813, is macerated (after extensive oak aging) in a mixture of fruit, herbs, flowers and spices that includes bitter orange peel, coriander, yellow gentian, cloves and nutmeg.
First, smoke the vermouth by pouring it into a decanter or bottle with a stopper, filling it up with woodsmoke from your smoking gun, sealing it with the stopper or cork, shaking a little and leaving to rest. The same technique can be used for the olives: place them in a glass container, add smoke and seal. Alternatively – to avoid the smoke dispersing – place the olives on a flat surface, blow some woodsmoke into an upturned glass or container, and place this over the olives. The idea is just to give the olives and vermouth a smoky tinge rather than have them reek of the smokehouse, so experiment with timing. A few minutes should do the trick.
Place some ice in your cocktail shaker, add the gin, shake vigorously but briefly, and pour into your chosen glass – our head barman, Roberto Pane, recommends a Nick & Nora glass. Spray some smoked vermouth on top from the atomizer (Roberto sprays seven times), and add the smoked green olives, skewered on a toothpick. Then get out of those jeans and into black tie or a cocktail dress (or both), and sip languidly. Very soon, we guarantee that you will hear those gentle Mediterranean waves lapping on the beach.
Photos © Roberto Salomone
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