I just came across this photograph of an Ascot taken in the fall of 2007, right after my first spirits press junket (Beefeater, see pen) and I was awash in the punchy afterglow of the discovery that drinking could be not merely euphoric and occasionally destructive but also aesthetically invigorating and, in the right hands, actually transcendent. The alchemy that a really good cocktail creates was new to me, and when I first started writing about spirits I found myself sitting at various bars around the world doing what can reasonably be called research. These experiences of watching and listening to skilled bartenders as they made and explained drinks changed me, and I daresay the seed for Embury was planted in that halcyon fall, when St. Germain was miraculous and new (see notes in photo) and I first grasped what kind of instant transformations a gifted bartender (or an excellent recipe, followed closely in one's home) could effect. It was a revelation that seemed worth sharing during that November cocktail hour when I took this photo. It still does.
2. oz Beefeater gin.
3/4 oz Punt e Mes vermouth
1.5 oz Aperol Aperitivo
Stir and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.