One of the first entries in my favorite drink books under the Gin category is the Alfonso Special Cocktail.  As it is right there up front, I often pass it by for a cocktail that sounds a little less boozy and a little more friendly.  Just reading the ingredients makes me think that this just wouldn’t taste good.  That said, this drink has the added benefits of (1) requires no mixers – it’s all liqueur and (2) your guests are almost guaranteed to never have experienced it before.

A unique quest for me is to find the next “long island”, that is, find a cocktail that sounds like it would be okay at best when you find out what’s in it, but takes on a personality of its own when you take your first sip.  Oh, and also taste good.  Tonight I may have found one of those combinations.  For good measure, we’ll make this a Drink of the Month!

  • 3 ounces Grand Marnier
  • 1.5 ounces gin
  • 1.5 ounces dry vermouth
  • 0.5 ounces sweet vermouth
  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, and all the ingredients, shake vigorously until chilled and strain into a cold martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • I forgot to bury the lead – this drink is surprisingly good.  I was expecting a dry cocktail with an acquired taste, but the Grand Marnier actually sweetens the drink up immensely.
  • There is a lot of complicated flavors in here competing for your attention.  The gin and vermouth help you appreciate the complication of the Grand Marnier without being bowled over by its sweetness.
  • The aftertaste starts with a hit of the dry vermouth and gin, but quickly changes to the a thick orange brandy finish.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 9/10
  • Strength: 6/10 – the taste belies the content
  • Sweetness: 8/10
  • When you are running short of mixers and all you have is a well stocked bar – try this one on for something different and you will not be disappointed.
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