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Tag Archives: dry vermouth

Day 246, Cocktails 242 & 243

Notice how everyone is always eyeing a good cocktail, especially when its made at the Twilight Lounge?  I mean just look at it…Gumby is all over it, Pokey is charging in, Kevin Mack is trying to head Pokey off and Bernie Kosar is about to hoist himself up into the drink.  And Chief Wahoo?  Why do you think he’s grinning?

Tonight I had a few fresh oranges and a brand new juicer (thanks to Gwen and the girls) to try out.  By now, you regular readers know that I border on a fetish for orange and rye whiskey, so this should be no suprise to you.

  Whiskey Special

  • 1-1/2 oz rye whiskey
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz orange juice

Combine in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a chilled coupe.  Garnish with an orange peel and a dusting of ground nutmeg.

Hmmm….my official taste tester wasn’t too crazy about this, and I kinda’ agreed with her.  The flavor of the dry vermouth overwhelms the drink and the nutmeg just tastes gritty.  So what to do?  Well, that’s easy, try again!

  Whiskey Extra Special

  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • 1/8 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 1/2 oz orange juice
  • 1 dash orange bitters

Combine in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a chilled coupe.  Garnish with an orange peel.

Now that’s more like it!  The Luxardo stays in the background and allows the orange flavors and rye to blend and play together very nicely.  This turned into a nice, semi boozy cocktail that I could drink all night!  Alas, work calls tomorrow, so I’ll hold myself to one tonight.


Day 236, Cocktail 234

Last night Gwen hosted her Newcomer’s Christmas party.  While I had mixed up a batch of Sleigh Wrecks for her party we decided to have a pre-party cocktail down in the Twilight Lounge.  She was really in the mood for a martini, so I pulled Sally Berk’s “The Martini Book” of the shelf.  After a bit of thumbing I found the perfect martini type cocktail to get us started for the evening.  Note that in her book Ms. Berk refers to this as a Christmas Martini…which I will not do since there is only one cocktail called a martini in my world!                                               

  Christmas Cocktail

  • 3 oz Plymouth gin
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/8 oz peppermint schnapps

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to mix and chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a fresh cranberry.

This was a very nice take on the traditional martini with the peppermint schnapps providing just a hint of peppermint flavor to give it a holiday twist.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!  In the meantime, I’m signing off to go make Gwen another one!


Day 227, Cocktail 225

Wednesday night found me at Buca di Beppo for dinner with a few of the guys I work with.  I have to tell you that I was extremely disappointed to learn that the place is part of a chain.  I’d thought it was a charming, local Italian place.  Knowing that it’s not local takes away from the charm in a big way for me.  *Sigh*

Fortunately, the cocktails were still good.  I hadn’t had a Manhattan in a while and then realized that I have yet to post a Perfect Manhattan here.  Viola, my choice was made.

  Perfect Manhattan

  • 2 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • dash Agnosturo bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker and shake, shake, shake to combine.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

This and the straight manhattan have been favorites of mine for years.  The Perfect Manhattan is not quite as sweet since dry vermouth is substituted for 1/2 of the sweet vermouth.  The dry vermouth adds another very subtle flavor dimension and actually helps showcase the bourbon.  Do you have your own variation of a Manhattan?  If so, let me know so I can try it out!


Day 210, Cocktails 202 & 203

As I was writing my blog post last night I decided to enjoy a cocktail that would be the feature for today’s post.  Being adventurous, I hit CocktailDB and use the random drink feature.  It’s kinda’ like eating from a box of chocolates…you just never know what you might get.

What I got was a variant on the Rob Roy cocktail.  I’ll delve into that classic in tomorrow’s post.  This post is about the Dry Rob Roy.  The first one I tried was 1-3/4 oz scotch (I used Cutty Sark) and 3/4 oz of dry vermouth, garnished with an olive.  While I did manage to drink it all, boy, it wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences.  I couldn’t tell if it was the olive or just the mix of scotch and vermouth, but it had an odd, almost medicinal aftertaste.  I love scotch and like dry vermouth with my gin, but this baby just wasn’t working for me.

However, being the intrepid soul that I am, I decided I could make something of this cocktail.  So, I tried again using the same proportions of scotch and vermouth, added a dash of Agnosturo bitters and swapped a lemon twist for the olive.  And?  It really wasn’t any better.  Thus, for one of the few days of my quest I came up goose eggs with not one, but two cocktails that I just can’t recommend.  Live and learn!


Day 204, Cocktail 199

By last Monday I finally had the new floor down in the Twilight Lounge.  The quarter round trim is still left to do and I started on that by staining the pieces I had bought.  With that task out of the way that left me time for a cocktail while I watched the football game.

A bag of fresh oranges in the house I knew I wanted to find a cocktail last Monday that would use some of them.  I’ve become a fan of orange and rye whiskey flavors together so I hit the CocktailDB website and searched for rye and orange juice.  There were a number of interesting choices, but one in particular really piqued my interest.

  Queen’s Hotel

  • 1 oz rye whiskey
  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 2 dashes Agnosturo orange bitters
  • 1 bar spoon dry vermouth

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake to mix and chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist or orange peel.

This was a very nice blend of flavors, with the rye, orange juice and orange bitters providing a pleasing, orange flavored experience.  I used Jim Beam rye (and Bombay gin) for this and the Beam provided a nice, mellow flavor.  The gin and vermouth were detectable in the background and served to lighten up this drink.  Both Gwen and I really enjoyed it!


Day 188, Cocktails 185 & 186

Saturday night, in addition to being alright for a fight, was also the night for the Germantown pub crawl.  Gwen and I popped up to Ivee’s and followed my usual tradition of letting the pub crawl to me…meaning we stayed there and just enjoyed as wave after wave of crawlers stopped in at Ivee’s.  It was a fun night and we saw a few of our friends and made a couple of new ones to boot!  The jukebox was pumping out a great mix of Halloween themed songs, everything from Thriller to Rob Zombie to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.  I had my typical Freddy Krueger get up on and I wasn’t alone.  By my official count there were five Freddies by the end of the night.  I think I need a new costume next year!

Getting ready for the night entailed a cocktail at home.  I found this recipe on line (and honestly can’t remember where I got, otherwise I’d tell you) and decided to mix it up.  Based on my quick research, however, this is a cocktail that dates back to the Savoy Bar and the 1930’s.

  Satan’s Whiskers

  • 3/4 oz Bombay gin
  • 3/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 3/4 oz dry vermouth
  • 3/4 oz orange juice
  • 3 bar spoons triple sec
  • 1 bar spoon plus two dashes Agnosturo Orange bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake to mix and chill.  Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a flamed orange peel.

Wow, this has been my favorite cocktail of the week, by far.  I love what the orange bitters does, giving the drink a wonderful bite that is not too bitter and mellows out the sweetness of the juice and sweet vermouth wonderfully.  It adds a nice fall flavor to the orange flavors, if that makes any sense.  I hope it does.  I enjoyed this so much that I actually had a second one while making dinner!

After dinner and just before leaving I had to mix up a shooter for us that I’ve been waiting for a year to make.

  Brain Hemorrhage

  • 1 oz chilled peach schnapps
  • 1 bar spoon chilled Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1/2 bar spoon chilled grenadine

Pour the peach schnapps into a shot glass.  Float the Baileys on top of the schnapps.  Top with the grenadine.  The Baileys will end up looking like a coagulated mess in the midst of the schnapps while the grenadine will float to the bottom, dragging some of the Baileys with it.  It looks a lot like the name implies!

This is a nice, sweet shooter that is tasty – just right for the ladies!  Even Brett at Ivee’s agreed, after making a couple for me last night, that it was finally a good use for Baileys!



Day 164, Cocktail 162

One of my favorite movies is Pleasantville.  William H. Macy is the erstwhile George Parker, who arrives home with a hearty “Honey, I’m home!”  Of course, his on screen wife Betty Parker played by Joan Allen promtply greets him at the door, martini in hand.  George takes a swig and then sniffs and asks “Is that meatloaf I smell?” to which Betty says, “of course, it’s Tuesday.”

Well, its Tuesday, and yes, we had meatloaf for dinner.  So of course, a martini style cocktail was in order.  I found this cocktail in The Martini Book.

  Fare Thee Well

  • 2-1/4 oz Plymouth gin
  • 3/4 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/8 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/8 oz Cointreau

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.  Stir to combine and chill.  Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with unstuffed cocktail olives.

This was a very nice, light variant of the classic martini that I do so adore.  The vermouth flavors were very much present but did not overpower the gin, allowing it to still shine through.  The Cointreau added just a hint of orange, making this an interesting twist on my classic martini.  So fire up the oven, make yourself a meatloaf and mashed potatoes and enjoy a cocktail with your dinner!


Day 150, Cocktails 149, 150 & 151

Casablanca has always been one of my favorite movies.  Rick Blaine is the penultimate man’s man.  I just love it when Major Strasse asks him about his citizenship and he responds “I’m a drunkard.”  Such was life in simpler times, heh?

Of course, life wasn’t so simple for Rick.  Remember the scene when Ilsa is trying to get his help but makes it clear that she won’t leave Victor.  “We’ll always have Paris” is her line for Rick.  As if that is supposed to make him feel better!

So just where is this all going?  Why, the Parisian cocktail, of course.  Another selection from the Ultimate Bar Book that caught my eye, although I’ve modified this a bit from the original recipe.  That original recipe called for 1 oz each of gin, dry vermouth and creme de cassis.  Hmm, that was just too much creme de cassis for me.  And just what is creme de cassis?  It is a very sweet, blackcurrant flavored liqueur.  The bottle I have is Maison Du Bouchett and is 35 proof.  It is, I must confess, almost as old as dirt as well, which may have given it an aged flavor.  Either way, it’s a very strong liqueur to be used in such quantities.  I did make the original version and it was overwhelming blackcurrant flavored, to the point that as soon as I had the room in the glass I added some more gin.  Tonight’s effort cut down on the creme de cassis and added more gin.  Still strongly flavored by the creme de cassis it was more balanced and I could actually detect both the gin and dry vermouth.

  Parisian Cocktail

  • 1-1/2 oz Plymouth gin
  • 1 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz creme de cassis

Combine the ingredients with ice in a mixing glass.  Stir to combine and chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Now the more that I sipped on this, the more that the flavor of the cassis started to dominate.  I thought I had this one knocked initially, but after a while I wasn’t so sure.  So, back to the bar and I went and worked up this version.

  Ilsa and Rick

  • 1-3/4 oz Plymouth gin
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/4 oz creme de cassis
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine the ingredients with ice in a mixing glass.  Stir to combine and chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with an orange twist.

This is it.  I really liked this one, with the cassis now playing a supporting role with the bitters and vermouth, allowing the gin to come out and play.  To my taste buds this is what I want from a cocktail.  Slightly boozy (hey, it is an adult beverage), flavorful and complex.  Try it and let me know what you think!


Day 149, Cocktail 145

While I still have a few cocktails to report on from my travels last week I wanted to the days count current.  Thus, today is the 149th day of my quixotic quest.

After cutting the grass and other assorted outdoor chores that ended only with darkness, I went down to the Twilight Lounge, turned on the football game and started to thumb through the Ultimate Bar Book for a cocktail for this evening.  I was in the gin section and stumbled upon the Pall Mall.  Interesting name for a cocktail.  It is even perhaps a double entendre when you consider that Kurt Vonnegut,  a Pall Mall smoker, said that they “were a classy way to die”.  Did he mean the drink or the smokes?

Either way, this was a pretty interesting blend of ingredients.  However, the final taste is predictable (those of you who followed my meanderings through the world of peppermint schnapps will immediately know why).

Pall Mall

  • 1-1/2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/8 oz clear creme de menthe
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to combine and chill.  Pour into a chilled cocktail glass.

And…you bet, it tastes like mouthwash.  Just way too much creme de menthe and it overpowers everything else in the glass.  I can almost get a hint of dry vermouth, but barely.

If you like mint, give this a whirl.  Otherwise I suggest lighting a Pall Mall, menthol, of course.


Day 141, Cocktail 141

OK, I don’t really have a bridge for sale, so will you settle for a cocktail?

Tonight’s effort is the Brooklyn, cousin to the Manhattan.  This is a classic cocktail, and as with most classics the details of its origins are murky.  Also, as with most classic cocktails, the ingredients used today are different in both proportion and specific ingredients.  What I can tell you about the Brooklyn is that it was that borough’s answer to the Manhattan, although by local accounts from the 1930’s the Manhattan was the preferred the cocktail at the time, even in Brooklyn.

The recipe I used tonight is from the CocktailDB.  I think this particular version is representative of the Brooklyn as it was mixed and served in the 1930’s. 


  • 1-1/2 oz rye
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/4 oz Amer Picon
  • 1/4 oz maraschino liqueur

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass with 4-5 ice cubes.  Stir to chill and mix.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

I used Jim Beam rye and Luxardo maraschino.  I also used Agnosturo bitters as the Amer Picon is not readily available (anywhere, not just at the Twilight Lounge!).  The quantity of bitters is indicative of the way cocktails were made around the Prohibition era.  You won’t find too many modern bartenders using that much bitters in a drink.  The drink itself is heavy on the bitters flavor, virtually drowning out the rye and leaving just the faintest hint of maraschino.  I can imangine sitting in a gritty bar in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge sipping one of these.  Ready to find out what life tasted like 80 years ago?  Then try this out!

A side note as well tonight.  I’ll be heading to St. Louis tomorrow for business.  While I’m sure I’ll one or two opportunities for cocktails I may be silent for a few days.