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Belly & Trumpet's Matt Perry Shakes Up a Maltese Falcon

[Photos: Garrett Hall/EDFW]

When it comes to ordering off a cocktail menu, it's often tempting to stick with the tried-and-true — after all, it's hard to go wrong with an Old Fashioned or a Moscow Mule. But given the number of incredibly talented bartenders calling Dallas home these days, it's also wise to throw caution to the wind every once in a while and order something less than familiar. After spotting the Fernet Branca-spiked Maltese Falcon on the menu at Belly & Trumpet on McKinney Avenue, we had just one question for barman Matt Perry: "What the hell is zabaglione?"

Maltese Falcon: New Amsterdam gin, Zabov zabaglione, lemon, lime, simple syrup, Fernet Branca float

So Matt, what the hell is zabaglione?
Zabov zabaglione is a cream- and egg-based Italian liqueur with turmeric added for color. It's kind of a cool spirit, very sweet and very rich. Different cultures have different versions of this — rompope is the Mexican version, the Dutch have one also [called advocaat], with a bit different flavor profiles but essentially the same thing. It's very seasonally appropriate, an eggnog sort of liqueur.

How'd you come up with this drink?
This drink really came on a whim; I was working on drinks for Pakpao and this just kind of came about, so I decided to put it on the menu here at Belly & Trumpet. It is a pretty little drink, it's got that medicinal and herbal punch from the Fernet to round out the sweetness from the Zabov. Even though you don't taste the gin that much it definitely breaks down the sweetness and thickness of the Zabov. And naturally, the gin and Fernet are kind of friendly.

Tell us how you make the Maltese Falcon.
A shot of Zabov. Some citrus added to contrast that pure, sweet, pastry-like cordialness of the Zabov. I add lemon and lime both, then just a touch of simple syrup. Then gin, just to really round it out. Shake with ice, and once all that dilution is there it slims it [the texture] down pretty good. Pour over ice and then it gets a bit of a layered effect — a bit of grenadine that gets pushed down to the bottom, and then of course the Fernet topper. Then just a little garnish to accent that citrus.

Would you stir it up or drink it as is?
I wouldn't stir it initially, I'd pull from the middle and then incorporate it as you get toward the bottom of the drink. Definitely don't just pull the grenadine from the bottom either — unless you just really love grenadine. It works really well when you get down to the last two sips and you get that rush of Fernet along with the grenadine.

Find Matt Perry shaking it up behind the bar at Belly & Trumpet, 3407 McKinney Avenue.