It is a summer's evening with the sun setting. The air is warm, a gentle breeze blowing and you are in the garden. You start to see a few fireflies glowing in the distance.
There's a scent being carried in the air- a mix of earth, melon, green, sweetness and hay.
It's comforting, familiar, and nostalgic.
In the distance, you can hear a lawn mower. You breathe in deeply, the scent of fresh cut grass filling your lungs. Is there a scent more reminiscent of summertime?
Scent is one of our most powerful memories, and for me the smell of fresh cut grass immediately transports me back to my childhood in suburban America and the scene described above (only with the addition of a baseball field and the smack of bats hitting balls).
Fresh cut grass is one of those incredibly complex scents, that is difficult to describe without using the word 'grass'.
But it's always reminded me of melon & sweetness & dirt. I've had it in my mind to create a drink that reminded of this wonderful aroma and I think I've just about done it.
This really is a wet martini at the heart. Two parts vodka, one part vermouth. None of that dry martini (i.e. cold vodka in a glass), this is good and wet.
Żubrówka Bison Grass Vodka- way more special than you might realize. Flavoured with the hard to find Bison Grass, which is hand picked by one of only 20 families in the Bialowieza Forest in Poland. It is dried over several days, before being made into a tincture to flavour the vodka. The Bison Grass contains coumarin, the same compound that gives tonka bean it's unique taste- slightly sweet vanilla, nuttiness, with a hint of hay.
Cocchi Americano- OK, this isn't technically a vermouth but it does that same job. Created around 1891 in the Piedmont region of Italy, it is similar to vermouth as it is an aromatised and fortified wine. It uses gentian as the bittering agent instead of wormwood which is used in vermouth. Cocchi (pronounced like Hokey Cokey) has a lovely honeyed flavour with loads of stone fruit, citrus, and a hint of herbs in the background.
That's all well and good. Lovely martini right there, but it doesn't remind me of cut grass yet.
Finally, a touch of Bigallet Thym, a bold liqueur scented of thyme. Ever noticed how thyme has a bit of a 'dirt' smell? This brings that bit of earth to the martini that keeps it from becoming too fruity, and really hammers home the cut grass aroma.
We can have way too many of these in one sitting, so we like to think back to Dorothy Parker when imbibing.
“I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I'm under the table,
after four I'm under my host.”
STYLE: Wet Martini
FLAVOUR: Intense, fresh, heady, slightly fruity & a touch bitter
ALLERGENS: Sulphites (Cocchi Americano)
Cut Grass Martini [JLL]
Żubrówka Bison Grass Vodka
Pop the bag in the freezer ½ hour, pour into a chilled cocktail glass, no garnish necessary
Don't do this drink a disservice. See above and don't stray from that.
the nicest cocktail glass you own