A man in my local spirits shop told me the other day that the amount of vermouth in martinis has decreased over the years to such an extent that some people now just wave the bottle in the vague direction of the cocktail glass.
After all, as I’ve mentioned many times before, tastes change with time – including cocktails. Recently invented cocktails seem to use fruit juices more as ingredients than their predecessors (possibly as much due to improved refrigeration than taste).
Conversely, the old cocktail recipes, such as the 1930’s Savoy Cocktail Book, feature ingredients no one really considers any more, such as absinthe and maraschino.
Maraschino is funny stuff – it’s an Italian bittersweet cherry licqueur, that’s not nearly as sweet (or as red) as cherry brandy and is faintly oily.
It also comes in a wonderfully kitsch straw covered bottle.
Having bought the bottle, all I needed was a 1930’s cocktail that included it. A quick scan through the Savoy Cocktail Book produced the Imperial.
(My selection has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Star Wars: The Old Republic is taking up a lot of my time at the moment. No association at all. Honest.)
1/2 msr gin
1/2 msr dry vermouth
Dash Angostura Bitters
Mix ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass and serve with an olive.
(Be careful measuring out the maraschino – I ended up with a bit more than a dash…)
This is quite complex – it’s refreshing and quite bitter, but not overwhelmingly so – it’s probably something that needs to be tried a couple of times to be perfected.