Ant-Man Drinks – Thief’s Thirst Ensemble and Cooler

Ant-Man transformation

Marvel wraps up Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by introducing the Ant-Man (well, men. (Spoilered. Sorry). Well known in the comics, less known in the mainstream media until now, the movie follows the second generation Ant-Man, a cat burglar by the name of Scott Lang. We do our drink-making thing after the jump.

Thief’s Thirst Ensemble

Ingredients

  •  1 scsp (2 dashes, ¼ tsp, or 1.25mL) orange petite bitters
  •  1 Jigger (2 oz) total Japanese malt whiskey (Nikka 12 yr used here) + traditional vermouth (Dolin Rouge used here) (recommended ratio 2:1, or 1.33oz/40mL brandy + .66oz/20mL vermouth)

Procedure

  1. Set out a 2.5 oz shot tumbler
  2. Add bitters, whiskey, and vermouth in that order so ingredients self-mix
  3. Serve

Thief’s Thirst Cooler

Ingredients

  • 1 scsp (2 dashes, ¼ tsp, or 1.25mL) orange petite bitters
  •  1 Jigger (2 oz) total Japanese malt whiskey (Nikka 12 yr used here) + traditional vermouth (Dolin Rouge used here) (recommended ratio 2:1, or 1.33oz/40mL brandy + .66oz/20mL vermouth)
  • 6 oz (3/4 cup) soda water

Procedure

  1. Set out a 13.5 oz cooler tumbler
  2. Add 5 1-oz cubes service ice
  3. Add bitters, whiskey, and vermouth in that order so ingredients self-mix
  4. Add soda water, with properly sized ice and glass it should come to 3/8″ from rim without needing to measure
  5. Serve with straw

ant-man-nerd-bar (3)

Who is Scott Lang?

Scott Lang: Thief with a Heart of Gold. Also a guy who literally talks to insects. And rides them like ponies. And surfs them like surfboards. How does he do this? Why, he’s Ant-Man! His biggest (pun intended) deal is the size-shifting power of his suit, he maintains the same power from his full-size self even when shrunk to matchbox size. We figured it would be fun to take the same jigger of liquor, and show it as a full-sized long drink, and as a tiny concentrated ensemble shot.

What would he drink?

Given his breaking-and-entering background, Scott surely appreciates obtaining and enjoying the finer things in life. Expensive brandy, fine cigars, that sort of thing. So we went with a cocktail, something that would let fine liquor shine but take out the burn with a touch of sweetness and an even lighter addition of aromatic bitterness (orange bitters, more precisely). Starting with the best malt whiskey we happen to have on hand, this is the time to be luxe, use the things on your top shelf. They’re meant to be enjoyed, anyway, not just collecting dust. If I had a $150 bottle of Scotch, I’d use that. (But I don’t. Hint Hint).
Sweeten it with traditional sweet vermouth, the brown stuff labeled red, or Italian, or sweet. As a recap, vermouth is sweet white wine (from muscat grapes), fortified by brandy infused(macerated) with wormwood and other botanicals. The dry/French vermouth is then bottled as-is, but the older more traditional vermouth further sweetened against the bitterness from the wormwood by burning sugar to caramel and mixing that in (hence the brown color). The newest type, blanc/bianco/white vermouth adds sugar, but doesn’t caramelize it first leaving that pale transparent look. Again in this case, use as nice a brand as you have access to, or the drinks will sink to the quality of the lowest ingredient. Vermouth in particular is a good case of getting what you pay for, most people who haven’t enjoyed vermouth have tried $3 a bottle vermouth, and it shows.

That guy in the middle, right there. (Left, dry vermouth; Right, bianco vermouth)

That guy in the middle, right there. (Left, dry vermouth; Right, bianco vermouth)

What is it like?

If this were served as a cocktail, diluted slightly and served up, it would likely be recognized as a “Martini/Manhattan variant”. If we’re really going to play the whole historical game, the cocktail version of these drinks is the Highland cocktail, or the Express Cocktail, first published in 1914 by Straub. Orange bitters, malt whiskey (they used Scotch, but our Japanese peated malt is stylistically very close), and traditional vermouth. Alternatively, it’s like Harvard cocktail, published by 1935 in Taylor’s, as another cocktail distinct from the Martini not just by the choice of spirit (Cognac brandy), but also by a small accent of soda water.
Before Prohibition, drink books were filled with punches/cocktails/etc that were only different by an ingredient or a garnish, and had entirely different names. E.g., The oldest published recipes for the Martini (distinct from the Martinez recipes featuring liqueur as well) use orange bitters, tom gin, traditional vermouth, lemon peel garnish. Changing the vermouth to a mix of both traditional and dry (what people today might call “perfect”) and remaining otherwise the same was called the Sunshine Cocktail, or the Sir Jasper. Changing the Martini’s garnish to an olive yielded the Olivet cocktail instead, and so on, and so forth.

How does it taste?

Between both of the drinks, it’s easy to tell they come from the same flavors, but the two have very different experiences. As the ensemble is an undiluted shot, it’s really intense and warm going down. The front tastes of whiskey barrel, followed by the smooth sensation of the caramel from the vermouth and an aftertaste of smoke and orange. The cooler on the other hand, is mostly water and carbonation, which actually accentuates the orange and vermouth tastes a bit more and relegates the whiskey to a earthy, biscuity background role more equal to the other ingredients. More like a really fancy-ass soda…not a fancy … nevermind.

Ant-Man approves!

Ant-Man approves!

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