Bald Head – Recipe below from David Embury’s ‘The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks’
1part French Vermouth
1part Italian Vermouth
4 parts Gin
1 or 2 dashes Absinthe to each drink
Stir with large cubes of ice. Twist lemon peel over the drink. Decorate with a stuffed olive. Note that the Bald Head is nothing but a Medium Martini with a dash of absinthe.
I Love Absinthe, its one of my favourite ingredients of all time, when I was very young the closest corner store to home sold aniseed wheels, which were the cheapest biggest candy they had, a simple desire for more saw me develop a love for aniseed flavours, which has translated into a love for fennel, pastis, Ricard, briefly at university sambuca and absinthe.
Like most people I always wanted to try absinthe before it became available both because it was banned, and curiosity. One clever evening myself and one of the bartenders I was working with at the time made our way through a bottle of the stuff after work, mixed with tequila, as shots. I very cleverly cycled home afterwards, hit a parked newspaper delivery van, somersaulted over my handlebars landed in the back of the van and woke to someone yelling ‘he’s dead!’, it was merely a broken collarbone, which forced me to stop bartending for 3 months. A mistake I’ll never make again.
It took making a Sazerac for the first time a while later to really understand the best way of using it, as the tiniest dash, and all of a sudden drinks were transformed. It adds the lightest fresh lift just at the end of the cocktail, which cleaning the palate, readying it for another sip.
The Absinthe does slightly more than that in this drink, it dulls the sweetness of the vermouth’s giving the gin even more leverage and lifts the finish. I have a lot of Medium Martini variants to work my way through, this may be a favourite for a while. And yes, criminally I didn’t use an olive, I dislike them in drinks which in this case is slightly more of a crime as I suspect that its this which gives the cocktail its name