Doing a bit of catch-up … we’ve been having lots of traditional “comfort cocktails” recently, especially Manhattans, especially when Wes makes them, as his Manhattan-making skills are vast and sublime. We’ve still been trying “new” ones (even though they may be decades or even a century old) though, and here’s one that came to us from Dave Wondrich’s stupendous book Imbibe!.
I’d seen this one around before, but the version he includes is the best I’ve ever seen, and the one that inspired me to try it, and fall in love with it. The original proportion on the brandy and vermouth was equal parts, but I prefer Paul E. Lowe’s “fine suggestion” of changing it to 2 parts brandy to 1 part vermouth, as specified in his 1904 tome Drinks as They Are Mixed.
1-1/2 ounces Cognac.
3/4 ounce dry vermouth.
1/2 teaspoon gum syrup or simple syrup.
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters.
1 dash orange bitters (I used Regans’.)
Combine with cracked ice in a cocktail shaker, stir for at least 30 seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry — a good brandied one, or Luxardo cherry in syrup, not those neon red abominations from the supermarket, please.
This was the house cocktail at the Metropole Hotel, opened in New York a couple of years before the turn of the 19th Century to the 20th. The owners had previously owned another hotel called the Metropolitan, which had its own cocktail as well (for that one, “replace both bitters with 3 dashes of Angostura, cut the Cognac in half and add a barspoon of gum”). The Metropole Cocktail is to the Metropolitan, according to Dave, “as the one hotel was to the other: more or less the same ingredients, but stronger, spicier and definitely flashier, yet not without style.”
This one goes in the regular rotation. I’ve really been enjoying brandy-based cocktails this week, and I’ll feature another one tomorrow.