I’ve really enjoyed the few Porthole Cocktails I’ve made so far, and The Heart of Stone is no exception. If you’re looking for an approachable, easy to make recipe from The Aviary Cocktail Book, this would be a good choice. If you don’t have or don’t want to order the Porthole, you could make this in a tea pot or a pitcher with a strainer. The presentation won’t be nearly as nice, but the end result would be the same.
On the other hand, some of the spirits/liqueurs involved here aren’t likely to be found at your local hooch shop, so it will likely require some advanced planning and ordering spirits online. The good news is that most of the hard-to-find elixirs called for are worth having in your collection.
Dumante Verdenoce Pistachio Liqueur – this is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted. The essence of pistachio turned into a sweet liqueur. It’s similar to an amaretto, but with pistachios standing in for the almonds. Getcha summa this.
High West Silver Oat Whiskey – this is a white (unaged) whiskey, which they refer to as Silver. It is to what we commonly think of as whiskey what blanco tequila is to reposado tequila. I didn’t find this spirit to be delicious, and I certainly won’t be pouring a tall glass of it anytime soon, but it certainly plays a unique role in this cocktail.
Angels Envy Bourbon – this is an excellent bourbon, which has been finished in port barrels. It was actually one of the first bourbons I started drinking, and I always seem to have a bottle in my collection. I actually prefer the Angels Envy Rye, which is finished in rum casks, but, hey, I didn’t create this recipe. Writing this, I am slightly confused about the combination of the bourbon and the silver oat whiskey. To me it would seem like each would cancel out favorable qualities of the other, so, what’s the point? It may be worth experimenting with limiting the preparation to only one of the whiskeys.
In addition to these fine spirits the recipe calls for Fusion Verjus Blanc (it’s like non-alcoholic wine – eek!), Dow’s Fine White Port, simple syrup, and water. All of this is mixed together to create the cocktail base, which is then poured into the Porthole to swim around with the aromatics and flavorizers.
Inside the Porthole is a quarter of a sliced peach, flowering basil (between us girls, my basil wasn’t flowering – sshh), lemon peel, half of a fresno chili, pistachios, saffron, Rare Tea Cellar Forbidden Forest Lapsong Souchong tea (smokey!), and Rare Tea Cellar Georgia Peach Nectar Rooibos (peachy!).
My favorite part about these Porthole cocktails is experiencing them as they change over time. I always take a little taste before pouring into the Porthole, then a larger taste immediately after the steeping has begun, then I keep refilling my glass, and with each pour the color and the flavor intensify. It’s fun.