Casino Cocktail

We’re still having fun playing with our new bottle of Angosura Orange Bitters (yay!), and this next one popped into my head as another excellent way to try them out.

This one’s an oldie, so much so that the original recipe calls for Old Tom gin, a sweetened gin that hasn’t been on the market for decades (until … soon; more on that later!). I first had this one several years ago at The Petrossian Bar in the Bellagio, my favorite place to drink in Las Vegas. Our bartender Michael, one of those great old-school bartenders who’s been behind the stick for 30 years and really knows his stuff, turned us on to this one, which hews to the classic recipe but adds one little touch that Michael taught me — a little trickle of brandied cherry juice for color and a little sweetness in your very last sip. In its original form it’s a very dry drink, so this little variation is like a goodbye kiss.

No picture, unfortunately, because I was a lazy bastard last night.

Here’s the original recipe as it appears in the Savoy Cocktail Book from 1930. It’s drier still, and quite lovely.

Casino Cocktail
(as mixed by Harry Craddock in the 1920s)

2 ounces Old Tom gin.
2 dashes maraschino.
2 dashes lemon juice
2 dashes orange bitters.

Stir with cracked ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a brandied cherry.

Here’s the modernized version.

The Casino Cocktail
(Petrossian Bar version, Las Vegas)

2 ounces Plymouth gin (or use Hayman’s Old Tom if available).
1/4 ounce Maraschino liqueur.
1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice.
2 dashes orange bitters.
1 barspoon liquor from jar of brandied cherries.
Brandied cherries.

Combine with ice in a cocktail shaker and shake for 10-12 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Spear a brandied cherry or three on a cocktail pick, then take a barspoonful or so of the brandy from the jar and carefully drizzle it down the side of the glass, so that you get a little red layer at the bottom.

Mighty nice, very refreshing, and one that I might use as a second-tier cocktail for converting vodka drinkers into gin drinkers, especially now that we can make this with Old Tom again.