Last week I highlighted that most iconic and classic of American cocktails, the Manhattan. As an aside in that post I mentioned that all five of New York City’s boroughs (Staten Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Bronx) have cocktails named after them. Everyone knows about the Manhattan but I don’t think many know about the other four. I tested this by visiting some local bars and asking for a Staten Island and a Queens, only to have blank stares in return. So consider this a public service message and just another example of my commitment to education and life-long learning!
The Bronx cocktail, like most older cocktails has multiple origin stories. One of which insists that the cocktail was created in Philadelphia! Though it seems that either a Joseph S. Sormani or a Johnnie Solan is responsible for the cocktail. The cocktail itself seems to be a riff on the Perfect Martini, adding orange juice to the drink.
1 oz. Gin
1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
1/3 oz. dry vermouth
1/2 oz. orange juice
Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, shake well. Strain in chilled cocktail or martini glass. Garnish with orange peel.
Before I drank this cocktail I had some worries because it puts me in a unique position. This, I think, is the one of the few cocktails I know solely through my own work. I’ve never had a Bronx made by anyone else. I only have my own efforts to compare with each other. What if I made the cocktail wrong? I worried I might be doing this cocktail a disservice.
It turns out my worries were for naught. The Bronx is delicious. It tastes a lot like a smooth Perfect Martini laced throughout with the citrusy tang of orange juice, which is especially strong at the finish. I only wish I were drinking it in a classier establishment than my apartment…
After last week’s cocktail, the Jack Rose, a couple of friends recommended other drinks they enjoy that have grenadine in them. The one that I found most intriguing was the Scofflaw: a combination of Rye whiskey, lemon juice, grenadine, and dry vermouth. The Scofflaw’s name come from the era of Prohibition here in the United States. The actual word “scofflaw” came into being through a contest to create a word to describe “a lawless drinker of illegally made or illegally obtained liquor.” This drink was created in Paris during Prohibition and named “Scofflaw” to honor those in the United States who continued to drink. Or so the story goes…
2 oz. rye whiskey
1 oz. dry vermouth
1 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. grenadine
2 dashes orange bitters
Add all ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
The Scofflaw is a delicious cocktail that seems to have a perfect balance between sweet and sour and it has a lovely, rich red color. I like to imagine drinking this cocktail in some quiet out of the way speakeasy with jazz music playing in the background. Prohibition may be dead but its drinks live on, eh?
Lucian Gaudin was a fencer, at least that is what this wikipedia page says, I like to think the reason a drink is named after him was because he won gold in fencing a couple times at the Olympics and at the time the French were super into fencing. Who knows though?
This cocktail is another request by D, who seems to find all sorts great cocktail recipes without even looking. I didn’t have any Campari on hand but a quick trip to the store rectified that. After sampling the Campari before making the cocktail I was a little worried, because it was really bitter. And, no, I didn’t notice that Campari is a bitter. Nor did I notice the giant calligraphic ‘bitter’ printed on the label. I am a moron. My fears were unnecessary.
The Lucien Gaudin
1 oz Gin
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Cointreau (or triple sec)
1/2 oz dry vermouth
Mix all ingredients with ice. Pause, then mix again. Strain and pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist if you so desire.
This cocktail is a beautiful soft, pink color. I commented to D after making it that it looked like Kool-aid a little. It does not taste anything like Kool-aid or any other sugardrink you might be familiar with. The Campari and Cointreau are a perfect pair with the gin and vermouth adding little hints and subtle variations to the flavor. This is a surprisingly strong drink though. Definitely a drink to sip, and slowly enjoy before dinner.
As promised this week’s cocktail is the classic Martini. Being a classic one this martini is made using gin. Vodka martinis are good but they’re not a real martini. On top of that gin martinis taste a better than vodka ones. Yes, I said that. Wanna fight about it? Anyway let’s get to it!
There are numerous ways to serving a Martini, too many to go into here. You can splash in a little olive brine (Dirty Martini), you can replace the gin with vodka (Vodka Martini), you can use both gin, vodka, and a little Kina Lillet (Vesper Martini), and a thousand other variations that aren’t really martinis just cocktail served in a martini glass (appletini’s cherrytini’s, etc., etc.) You can even serve it over ice in an old fashioned glass. I went with an older recipe for the drink, common in the mid 20th century, that calls for more vermouth than is now used.
3 oz. Gin
1 oz. dry vermouth
lemon peel or olive (garnish)
Pour all ingredients into mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well. Strain in chilled martini cocktail glass. Squeeze oil from lemon peel onto the drink. Add garnish.
I didn’t know how to squeeze oil from a lemon peel. What I did instead was to pour the gin and vermouth through a sieve full of lemon zest. It seemed to impart a little of the lemony freshness into the drink. I’m not going to surprise anyone when I say this is a great cocktail. Simple, delicious, refreshing. All of that while imparting a sense of class and sophistication. Or that could just be me…