Cocktail Racqueteering

This delicious cocktail, dating from 1893, was contributed to a recent article by David Wondrich.

This drink demonstrates how one small, simple addition can completely transform a cocktail. Remove the teaspoon of crème de cacao and it’s an old-school 2:1 Martini (which I frequently enjoy with orange bitters, as was the old method). Put it back in, though, and hat hint of sweetness, that subtle whisper of chocolate — an amount so small that it might take you a moment to realize what you’re tasting — and the perfect flavor combination of chocolate and orange … yum!

Use this old idea to fuel your own experimentation. What can you do to your favorite classic cocktails by the addition of just a barspoon of a liqueur or amaro? For instance, a Daiquiri made with Scarlet Ibis rum and with the addition of one barspoon of Averna is now one of my favorite cocktails, thanks to my friend John Coltharp, currently bartending at Copa d’Oro and The Tasting Kitchen. I have no idea what he calls it (I’ll have to ask him), but I’ve been calling it the Sicilian Daiquiri.

Now … it’s love-love, and it’s your serve.


2 ounces Plymouth Gin
1 ounce Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
1 teaspoon white crème de cacao (Marie Brizard, preferably)
2 dashes orange bitters

Stir with cracked ice for at least half a minute, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a thin slice of lemon peel, twisted over the top and dropped into the drink.

The Racquet Cocktail is a cousin of both the Martini and the Twentieth Century Cocktail (swap the vermouth for Lillet, add lemon juice and up the cacao a bit, roughly). If you haven’t tried the latter, please do so.

Speaking of Wondrich, he will soon regale us with another magnificent tome called Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl. (Pre-order at this link or, preferably, pick it up on its publication date of November 2 at your nearest independent bookseller.) You can now also harass follow him on Twitter and that monstrously big social network that’s having the movie made about it this year, not to mention his own shiny new website, The North Gowanus Institute for Cranial Distempers.


One Response to “Cocktail Racqueteering”

  1. Cocktail Crush said:

    Oct 07, 10 at 9:40 am

    Nice find, really interesting to see the addition of the creme de cacao given its from 1893. Looking forward to giving it a try at the weekend!