Tag Archive: Sweet Vermouth


Corpse Reviver

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It’s time for another holly jolly Christmas.  At least, it’s time that decorations full of bright colors throw themselves up all over the house.  In honor of this festive time of year, this is the first of my “12 Cocktails of Christmas”.  These may or may not be themed, but it is very likely you’ll notice some seasonal accoutrements in the pictures.

Today’s drink comes by way of the Brandy aisle.  I always thought of Brandy as my grandparents drink (or maybe that was Sherry, I digress), but I have a fascination with Spanish Brandy in particular, and I just ordered a new bottle of the stuff from New Jersey of all places.  This stuff is awesome.  The regular old E&J or whatever else the grocery store stocks pales in comparison.  The Spanish stuff is so rich and full of flavor.  It has more in common with Port than that grocery store Brandy.  So tonight I found an interesting use – the Corpse Reviver.

  • 1 ounce Spanish Brandy
  • 1 ounce Applejack
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth

Combine in a shaker over ice and serve into a chilled martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • A very smooth cocktail.  Surprisingly there is not a lot of complexity in the taste.
  • Nothing really stands out in the flavor, almost like a thin port… in a good way.
  • Drink has a pleasing sweetness, not overpowering, and surprisingly does not drink boozy.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 9/10
  • Strength: 7/10
  • Sweetness: 6/10
  • Corpses apparently have impeccably good taste – this is a delicious cocktail.

Bolero

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Keeping with the Bacardi and Calvados theme, here is another cocktail mixing them together.  Apparently there are two drinks called the “Bolero”, this is the first one I’ve tried – perhaps I will follow up with the second soon.

  • 3 ounces Bacardi
  • 1.5 ounces Calvados
  • 1 tsp sweet vermouth

Shake everything over ice and serve in a martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • For such a boozy drink, I was surprised how smooth the flavors are.  I was expecting to feel the healthy portion of Bacardi on my throat!
  • There is a hint of apple, but no sweetness to the drink.
  • Not for the faint of heart, but not so strong that you can’t enjoy the flavor.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 7/10
  • Strength: 9/10
  • Sweetness: 3/10
  • When you want the power of a martini, a little softness and no sweet.

Park Avenue Cocktail

This year for Christmas my wife treated me to a new cocktail book to expand my horizons and allow me to keep expanding my experiment in mixology that is DaveDrinks.  This book is a great one full of classic cocktails, and is appropriately named “Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails” by Ted Haigh.  It’s a fascinating book, with many interesting tidbits, although unsurprisingly, many of the drinks contain a difficult to acquire ingredient not found in the modern bar.  There are exceptions of course, and tonight I tried the Park Avenue Cocktail.

According the Haigh, “This drink is synonymous with wealth, power, and luxury in New York City”.  That’s high praise for a cocktail, so let’s see how I feel after a sample…

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 0.75 ounces pineapple juice
  • 0.75 ounces sweet vermouth
  • 2 teaspoons orange curacao

Shake it all over ice and serve it up in a martini glass, simple enough.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • It starts dry, has a just perceptively sweet middle and ends dry again.  You should enjoy your gin before sampling this wealthy beverage.
  • I’m not sure how the drink earned it’s powerful moniker, as to me it tastes of a softened dry martini.
  • Don’t be confused with its three luxurious sweet sounding ingredients, there is only a hint of the sweet pineapple flavor.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 6/10
  • Strength: 5/10
  • Sweetness: 4/10
  • I tried to be witty and note its wealthy, powerful and luxurious qualities, but honestly, I didn’t think these were the best descriptors as I tasted.  On the whole, and ok classic cocktail, very middle of the road.

Sorry for the lack of a picture – just wasn’t feeling photographic tonight!

 

Orange Blossom

It’s summer time – the summer solstice no less.  Or was that yesterday?  The weather is beautiful in San Diego, besides the ‘May Grey’ that has turned into ‘June Gloom’.  It’s about to get hectic though, with family visitors, the 4th of July and a trip to the homeland to watch the Olympics… In some ways I am looking forward to August so that I can take a break, until then…

Speaking of England – we have all been so focused on QE2’s Jubilee, but today is the 101st anniversary of King George the V’s accesnsion to the throne, QE2’s successors successors successor.  It took 3 monarchs (George V, Edward VIII, George VI) to reign for 41 years, but she’s been going for 60!  I guess if you want it done right, get a woman to do it.

On to the drink.  Browsing the archives tonight and came across something a little different – this one is absolutely in the classic martini category, but it comes with the pleasing flavor of orange – let’s try the Orange Blossom.

  • 2 ounces of gin (Bombay Sapphire)
  • 4 teaspoons of Cointreau
  • 4 teaspoons of sweet vermouth

Shake over ice and serve in a chilled martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • First sip and this cocktail is surprisingly dry – the gin really pushes through the sweetness of the Cointreau.
  • After several sips I would describe this as a classic dry martini, but with a hint of orange sweetness in the finish.
  • This is a ‘different’ cocktail from a bygone era (maybe George V’s), and while it probably wouldn’t be served in the gaslamp, it is worth a try.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 7/10
  • Sweetness: 4/10
  • Strength: 7/10
  • A classic drink with a subtle twist.

Bloodhound

Been off track for the last nine days.  No stories with this entry, just a recipe, some thoughts and a rating.  Maybe it’s indicative of the quality of the cocktail.  Let’s get to it.

  • 3 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1 ounce dry vermouth
  • 3 fresh strawberries

Place everything above into a blender and blend until smooth, pour into a cocktail shaker over ice, shake, strain and serve in a chilled martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • First sip is a tough one – as it always is when lots of dry vermouth is involved.
  • After a couple of sips, this is essentially a dry gin martini with a hint – a very subtle hint – of strawberry.
  • Altogether a bit of a let down.  Sounds better than it looks.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 3/10
  • Strength: 8/10
  • Sweetness: 2/10
  • Not my favorite drink, don’t make this expecting a fun fruity cocktail!

Homeskillet

California is awesome.  After a conference meeting today in Orange County I got to ride down the coast in the wife’s convertible with the top down on a beautiful spring day.  This is why I live here and why I never want to leave.  A perfect sunny 7o degrees – ahhhh.

On another note, today is V-E Day in both America and England.  One of the holidays that both countries can get behind – unlike the 4th of July, where England quite unfairly celebrates the relief of the burden of the United States on its economy.  For the uninformed. V-E Day is Victory in Europe Day, which occurred on May 8, 1945.

After those two unrelated facts, on to the drink of the day.  One of my recipe books has a section for “What to drink if you are tired of…”, and this one comes from that very section.  Not that I could ever tire of them, but this is a drink for when you;ve had one too many Manhattans (not all in one evening).

  • 3 ounces Canadian whisky (Crown Royal)
  • 1 ounce of sweet vermouth
  • 0.5 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes of bitters
  • maraschino cherry for garnish

Shake over ice and serve into a chilled martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • I am really impressed – an unassuming name but it has great flavor.
  • The nutty maraschino flavor comes through, but is never overpowering.
  • The vermouth, bitters and Crown Royal balance together in the background to complete the flavor.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 10/10 (whoa – what’s going on here?!?!)
  • Strength: 6/10 (but stronger than it tastes)
  • Sweetness: 6/10
  • I didn’t expect this, but I would drink this one anytime.  Well, if all the Makers and Coke runs dry.

Derby

What a day.  What a week.  We closed 2 models today at work – 3 down and 3 to go on what is turning out to be a great investment.  On the flip side there is trouble in paradise on the sale of the adjacent land, this is definitely going to be my priority next week to right that ship!  Now it’s Friday, and there is nothing to be done except relax, mix a cocktail and enjoy a steak dinner with my lovely wife.  Can’t beat that.

In the spirit of the crazy week running around – tonight’s drink is the Derby, a follow-up to the Churchill Downs of last week.  I could also say that this was in honor of tomorrows Kentucky Derby, but I’d be lying – I didn’t even remember it was running.  A whiskey drink to enjoy as we haven’t done one of those in a while.  Don’t worry though, there is a bourbon alternative I’ll try next.

  • 1.5 ounces blended whiskey
  • 0.5 ounce of sweet vermouth
  • 0.5 ounce of Cointreau
  • 0.5 ounce of fresh lime juice
  • mint sprig for garnish

Shake vigorously over ice, strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with the mint.  Enjoy.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Exacta box the Cointreau and the lime juice for a winner, they are clearly the dominate runners.
  • The whiskey comes in third to show – add that one to your Trifecta
  • The also rans were the vermouth and the mint sprig… better luck next time.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 7/10
  • Strength: 7/10
  • Sweetness: 5/10
  • I was expecting more whiskey, but overall, this one helped ease me into the weekend just fine.

(Makers) Manhattan

With Kathryn away another day, I will raise another glass in honor of her temporary home – this time the Manhattan.  I have ordered them at bars many times, and I really enjoy them, but I had never made one for myself, so here goes.  I even have a ready supply of maraschino cherries to garnish with!

  • 3 ounces bourbon (Makers Mark)
  • 1.5 ounces of sweet vermouth
  • 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • maraschino cherry to garnish

Fill a shaker with ice, pour in the liquor, give it a stir and strain into a martini glass, garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • First sip, and I think that this has always been true, it’s a little dry and not as good as I remember.  Maybe I got this recipe wrong?
  • Second sip and back comes the drink that I remember.  A delicious bourbony treat.
  • It’s a great combination of dry and sweet, There’s the sweet start as you sip and the dry finish as you swallow – yum!

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 9/10
  • Strength: 8/10
  • Sweetness: 3/10
  • Almost got off to a rocky start, but perseverance is the key, make yourself one!  Thanks Kathryn for giving me the Manhattan inspiration.