Part of what makes this Mr. Boston’s blog series so much fun for me is the history of the drink. I’ve come across so many unexpected nuggets of knowledge I’m beginning to feel like a walking drink encyclopedia… and I like it 🙂
Unfortunately the Blenton Cocktail had no insights to share. Was the drink named for a person? A place? Who knows? I got nothing, zilch, nada!
The closest I came up with is that Blenton is a surname.
Ancestory.com found one family registered with the name Blenton in 1880. By 1920 the U.S. census reported the one family had grown to 6. The family appears to have originated in Scotland. A census report around 1858 from the southern region of the country.
Google uncovered a few recipes for the Blenton Cocktail but no history was given. Blanton and benton were suggested by the search engine to imply I didn’t know how to spell… Oh well!
Aside from not having any known background and being absent in all the older cocktail books I have looked through; the Blenton appeared in Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book five years prior to my Mr. Boston’s copy. Those who have tried the Savoy recipe report that the cocktail Ryan and I crafted from Mr. Boston’s book is identical both in quantity and ingredients. The only variance I saw was Savoy appears to have called for Angostura Bitters and Leo Cotton failed to specify.
The Blenton is a fairly standard martini recipe: 1/3 French Vermouth, 2/3 Gin and a dash of Bitters. Nothing fancy. In fact, the recipe is identical to Mr. Boston’s “dry” version Martini Cocktail with one tiny difference, the garnish!
A cherry is said to accessorize the Blenton while an olive is the Martini’s signature look. Excited by the discovery I searched for blenton cherry. Wouldn’t you know it, the benton cherry tree appeared. Perhaps the drink name was a typo???
I don’t know, maybe I’m just trying to add some flair where none exists. It just seems strange to have a drink name with no meaning!
Our newest batch of home brewed Gin is almost gone so we mixed our Blenton Cocktail with Tru Organic Gin. Tru is a sweeter compound Gin than our No.6 and I thought that it would work nicely with the cherry garnish.
Paired with the Dolin’s Dry Vermouth and Angostura, the Blenton yielded a lovely warm orange colored drink. Ryan’s first impression of the cocktail was that I may have been heavy handed with the dash of Bitters I put into the mix. After reminding him that the Tru Gin is heavily flavored, he agreed that was probably what stood out.
All and all, we both enjoyed the Blenton Cocktail. It isn’t the dry Martini I’ve come to know and love plus, I don’t think an olive would meld with the blend. However, the cherry added a nice touch of sweetness.
Being the curious sort, I mixed up a second Blenton with Angostura Orange Bitters to compare the two drinks. While increased citrus was good, the Vermouth took the lead and the color wasn’t as brillant. I didn’t care for my second attempt as much so Ryan graciously gave me the first round while he took the second.
After enjoying our cocktails while catching up old episodes of Shameless, a drink idea popped into my head and I quickly ran to the kitchen to bring it to life. I decided to name my masterpiece the Elizabeth Taylor because of the actresses famous violet eyes.
I really enjoyed my creation but Ryan is on the fence. He hasn’t embraced the floral nuances of the Creme de Violette 🙂 If you’d like to try my latest concoction, here’s a quick link to the recipe. I’d love to hear what you think of it!