pictured here: scrambled eggs + duck sausage, lettuce + radicchio + onion shoots + lamb-fat sautéed walnuts, as-yet-unnamed breakfast cocktail (fernet branca + orange juice + twist of lemon)
‘mokay, this was undeniably a delicious 2pm breakfast (school’s out, y’all), but i need to offer an explanation by way of defense re: the walnuts sautéed in lamb fat. there is no reason for them, and i would completely forgive you for receiving this as the barest and most vulgar of ostentation (i would say similarly unnecessary, but less infuriating than the lamb curry + mushroom + cheddar wrap that i had at some moronic pub in Ottawa i never told you about), but hear me out. i was thinking of just toasting the walnuts for the salad, because that’s the mood i was in, but then i was like “nah, let’s grease ’em up a bit” and so with what to sauté them? well, i already had a little jar of lamb fat that wasn’t going to eat itself, so i thought Hey Why Not Whatever, and did it. i don’t know that i could really tell how lamby or not it ended up tasting, but it was sufficiently delicious. live a little.
(it was actually a mixture of lamb and duck fat, that i had leftover from a dinner where i cooked lamb burgers in duck fat. so sue me.)
in the upper left hand corner you will notice what i would like to say is a very versatile cocktail of my own construction, but given my uncertainty about the flexibility/identity of the cocktail (what ingredients are essential? what expendable?), to do so would be perhaps premature. what you see before you, in its unattractive brownish-orange splendor (how can i redeem this description? burnt orange? desiccated orange?), is but fernet branca and orange juice, a combination that even up to the first moment i poured it down my gullet struck me as a little sketchy, given the mentholy, medicinal undertaste of fernet, the oranginess of orange, and the notoriously poor match made of mint and citrus (toothpaste and OJ being perhaps the archetype). but it turns out to be strikingly moreish. and not only moreish, but in fact precedented. there is apparently an existing cocktail called the Yodel that is fernet, orange juice, and soda water, which sounds not too bad at all.
where mine diverges from the Yodel is in the lack of soda water and the overall flippancy of its construction. i don’t know that i’ve ever made a point of being consistent about my proportions, and they vary widely according to my mood. sometimes as little as a splash of fernet is all that is required to liven up a glass of orange juice, although i will accept that the 1:1 ratio suggested for the Yodel might create a situation that needs to be mitigated by soda water. interestingly, interestingly, the people at Underhill didn’t find the soda helped much (“kind of like drinking orange juice after brushing your teeth”), so i don’t know whether it just wasn’t to their tastes, or whether i am right in believing the 1:1 to be pushing it. you’re welcome to find out for yourself.
in any case, it makes one hell of a breakfast libation, and has less of the overt “hangover cure” feel of straight fernet before 11am.
in other fernet-related news, in turns out, something to my chagrin, that our Gibrone is not so much a mutated Negroni as it is a burlier variation on the unfortunately named Hanky Panky. this cocktail dates back to the early 20th century and is the creation of Savoy Hotel bartender Ada Coleman, comprised of gin & sweet vermouth, with a splash of fernet. the Gibrone, in contrast, features fernet more prominently, and as much on the strength of this variation in basic proportions as on my refusal to refer to the drink as the Hanky Panky, Gibrone it will stay.
let’s just say it’s a regional variation.