The Sally Rose Cocktail

I’ve got a ton of wedding-related cocktails to share today. First, an original by Wesly.

Last month we were asked by our dear friend Fiona Hoskins (co-namesake of the Hoskins Cocktail) in Shropshire in the U.K. to come up with an original cocktail for her niece’s wedding. Wes has had good luck so far with wedding cocktails, and took the lead on this one. The parameters Fiona sent over regarding the bride and family’s quaffing preference is that the drink be based on either vodka or white rum, and on the sweet side. Well! As we despise vodka cocktails and sweet cocktails, we began with latching on to the rum!

The trick was, how to make it so that it’d be sweet enough to please the bride’s palate but not so sweet that its creators would spit it out? (Its creators would actually prefer to come up with something that they’d enjoy drinking themselves.)

Wes’ idea was to use Plymouth Sloe Gin as one of the sweet elements, since it’s quintessentially English but also has a really great tartness that helps give the cocktail balance. The other sweet liqueur is St. Germain, an elderflower liqueur which all you cocktailians know well (and we also knew that the English are fond of their elderflower cordials) and that’s not as sweet as most other liqueurs. He initially added some lime juice for balance but that was too much going on — once he took it out completely it became a not-really-there cocktail idea to a drink he’d order again. (There was quite enough tartness in the Sloe Gin.) There’s also a dash of Angsotura bitters for spice, and two drops of vanilla extract for complexity and a gorgeous bouquet.

It’s a Wesly original, pretty much all the way — my job on this one was to be the taster and sounding board. Here’s Himself with a few comments, from his email to Fiona:

This drink bears some resemblance to a drink called the Millionaire Cocktail. The Millionaire also starts with rum and sloe gin, but adds apricot flavored brandy. A variation also adds lime juice. This seems quite busy to me. Ours of course uses the St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, which we think is simply a fantastic product that adds something unique and beautiful when used properly. We also started out with some lime juice, for brightness and because the St. Germain is rather sweet, and I was afraid it would dominate. However, the sloe gin (which I was intent on including, because I love the flavor profile, and it’s so very very English!) brings quite enough tartness on its own. In fact, I wasn’t really crazy about any of our experiments until I finally left out the lime. You could play with the balance between St. Germain and sloe gin, if you want to make the drink more or less sweet, but I like the balance that results from the equal amounts. The vanilla adds not just flavor but a wonderful aroma. The final drink is flowery rather than fruity (appropriate, I think, for a drink called “Rose”), definitely sweet but also with some tartness running through it from the lovely sloe berries.

We used Old New Orleans Crystal rum, because we had an open bottle begging to be finished off, but you should by all means use your favorite good quality rum that’s readily and reasonably available. (Chuck recommends Cruzan Estate Light Rum, and recommends against Bacardi.) Plymouth sloe gin is the only quality product available here, and I’m sure you should have no trouble finding it there. Be sure to use an eyedropper for adding the vanilla – it’s easy to go overboard. (We used single-strength extract, so you’ll need to adjust appropriately if yours is double.) If you’re making just a few drinks, you can add the vanilla as you mix, but this I think would be too much trouble for mixing at an event. You will make your bartender happy if you “doctor” your rum with vanilla ahead of time, 25 drops of (single-strength) vanilla extract per 750ml bottle. This in our opinion is far preferable to buying “pre-fab” vanilla infused rum, as there are only a few readily available, and not always of very good quality. This way you can still use your favorite rum but get that vanilla bouquet.

We got lovely notes back from the bride and her mom, both of whom loved the drink (yay!). Wes named it after the bride, and we look forward to meeting them when we visit in September.

The Sally Rose Cocktail

2 ounces (60 ml) white rum.
1/2 ounce (15 ml) Plymouth Sloe Gin.
1/2 ounce (15 ml) St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur.
2 dashes Angostura bitters.
2 drops vanilla extract.

Stir over ice in a cocktail shaker, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and serve.

It’s a gorgeous color too — I’d consider garnishing with a rose petal. (No pictures, alas … we had WAY too much to do this week!)

Now, for some in honor of Marleigh and Dan’s wedding today … no time for an original here either, unfortunately, but CocktailDB yields a few interesting-looking wedding-named cocktails:

The Royal Wedding Cocktail

1-1/2 ounces gin.
3/4 ounce Swedish Punsch.
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice.
2 dashes Grand Marnier.

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass, then add 3 dashes grenadine after the cocktail is poured, so that it sinks to the bottom of the glass.


The Wedding March Cocktail

1-1/2 ounces light rum.
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice.
1 egg white.
1 teaspoon simple syrup.
1-2 dashes Angostura bitters.

Shake the ingredients dry (without ice) for at least a half a minute to froth up the egg white. Add ice and shake for at least one full minute. Strain into a large cocktail coupe, and dash the bitters on top, swirling the drops with a toothpick. (For a gorgeous presentation, load a Misto mister bottle with Angostura and do a couple of sprays onto the top of the egg froth.


The Wedding Night Cocktail

1-3/4 ounces light rum.
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice.
1/4 ounce grade B maple syrup.

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. (Optional – invert amounts of maple syrup and lime for a sweeter drink)

Congratulations again, y’all!


2 Responses to “The Sally Rose Cocktail”

  1. Sally & Chris Rose said:

    Jul 18, 12 at 8:12 am

    We will be enjoying a few this evening on our 3rd wedding anniversary, thank you this cocktail has been & will continued to by made by us to share with family & friends x

  2. Wesly said:

    Jul 18, 12 at 12:25 pm

    How lovely to hear from you! We’re so glad that you’re doing well, and very pleased that you still enjoy the cocktail, which in all honesty I think is quite lovely. 🙂

    Your wedding-day cocktail menu and photo are still tucked inside our bar, so we can remember your special day when we ourselves make a Sally Rose. Oh, and perhaps show off to our friends just a bit.

    Thank you for saying hello! Oh, and also…

    Happy Anniversary!