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Cover: Shaken and stirred

Recipes with Vermouth

31Jul 12

The Bronx cocktail, a daring drink from the Big Apple

The Bronx CocktailThroughout history, the names of many drinks have been associated to places. This is due to the fact that some cocktails are named after the town they are first concocted in. On other occasions, the mix earns its name after the region where the main ingredient in it is grown or distilled. The drink I want to tell you about today has a powerful name, and is one of the 5 cocktails named after one of
New York City´s five boroughs: The Bronx Cocktail.

The Bronx cocktail is basically a perfect martini with orange juice added. In 1934, it was ranked third in “The World´s 10 most famous cocktails”, which made it a very popular rival to both the Martini and the Manhattan. And although it does not have the glamour of any of the latter, it is certainly a drink with a great story behind it.

According to the official historian of the Waldorf- Astoria Hotel, the inventor of the cocktail was Johnnie Solon, a pre-Prohibition bartender at the hotel in the late 1890s. One evening, the head waiter of the Empire Room, the main dining room in the original Waldorf, dared Solon to concoct a new drink. He claimed even the regulars thought he couldn´t come up with something new. So Solon got down to business.

He prepared the cocktail, and in his own words: “I didn´t taste it myself, but I poured it into a cocktail glass and handed it to the head waiter, because he was actually a pretty good judge.” The waiter tasted it, and then chugged it all. He loved it, and asked Solon to mix another to pass around. The cocktail became an instant classic.

After-dinner drinks can be taken with dessert as well. I recommend this dark chocolate and orange mousse dessert to pair with the Bronx. As they both have a sweet orange taste, I think the flavour would be fantastic!

The Bronx cocktail, a daring drink from the Big Apple
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 1
 

The Bronx cocktail is basically a Perfect martini with orange juice added
Ingredients
  • 3cl Gin
  • 1,5cl Sweet Red Vermouth
  • 1cl Dry Vermouth
  • 1,5cl Orange Juice

Instructions
  1. Pour all ingredients into the cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Pour it all into a chilled glass.

 

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21Jun 12

The martini, a glamourous escape from reality

MartiniA couple of weeks ago, I was in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on a business trip. The company I was consulting for put me up at the Faena Hotel in a very fancy part of town, Puerto Madero. It’s actually a bit like the Lower East side of Manhattan, but with a Latin touch. On the Friday after my arrival, I wandered into the hotel’s bar, the Faena Cabaret, for a drink. The whole place looked like it was a set for the new James Bond saga, so I decided to order a cocktail fit for the occasion: a martini.

Even if the Martini became a worldwide classic with James Bond’s immortal phrase “shaken not stirred”, many other famous and powerful people have favoured this rather simple mix over the last hundred years. Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway and Truman Capote, amongst others, have added to the lore of this cocktail which is linked to status, fame and glory. There is something about just ordering it which transports one to a better place, where dreams and real life collide, if only for a while.

The exact origin of the martini is unclear. One theory suggests it comes from a cocktail called a Martinez, which was first served at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco in 1862. According to the myth, people used to gather in this bar before taking the evening ferry to the nearby town of Martinez. Another story claims it is named after a famous bartender who first concocted the drink at the Knickerbockers Hotel in New York City, in 1913.

A martini is made by mixing gin and dry vermouth, which is a fortified white wine, infused, distilled or macerated with herbs, spices, caramel and other ingredients. A quality martini should taste very clean and dry, go down smooth, and have some light herbal flavors (from the gin) and a little bit of tang (from the olives and vermouth).

Needed:

  • 3cl gin
  • 1.5cl dry vermouth
  • A couple of olives or lemon twist

How it’s made:
1.Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice.
2.Shake or stir for half a minute.
3.Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
4.Garnish with an olive or lemon twist.

Time: 3 minutes
Makes: 1 cocktail

Note: As you probably know, this is the classic martini, but there are an endless number of varieties. One such example is this Green Cowboy Martini. Not quite the original, but an interesting twist!

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12Jun 12

Manhattan

ManhattanDon’t let brown spirits scare you – the Manhattan is one of the finest and oldest cocktails. It was the first cocktail to use vermouth as a modifier. Since it is strong and simple, this tipple could be considered a drinking man’s cocktail, or the “king of cocktails“.

A popular myth suggests that the drink originated in the Manhattan Club in New York City in the early 1870s for a banquet. The success of the banquet made the drink fashionable, later prompting several people to request the drink by referring to the name of the club where it originated -“the Manhattan cocktail”.

However, there are prior references to several similar cocktail recipes called “Manhattans” and served in the Manhattan area. By one account, it was invented in the 1860s by a bartender at a bar on Broadway near Houston Street.

Although the exact beginning is unknown, one thing we do know for sure is that this tipple comes from New York City. Another famous drink in NYC is the Cosmopolitan, made popular by Sarah Jessica Parker. For a slight twist on that posh drink, try this blood orange cosmopolitan.

Traditional views insist that a Manhattan should be made with rye whiskey, and that’s how I like it. However, nowadays, it is more common to make it with with Canadian whisky or bourbon, both of which may contain no rye at all. Bourbon is good, but in my opinion, not as good as rye in this drink.

Remember to stir rather than shake. Why? In the first place, it makes the drink cold. Also, stirring with ice dilutes the drink, which adds volume and an important dimension to the final flavour. When you shake, you introduce tiny air bubbles into the drink, which gives the cocktail a cloudy look. You can shake if you want, but then your drink won’t be as esthetically pleasing.

Needed:

  • 4.5cl rye whisky
  • 1.5cl sweet vermouth
  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Maraschino cherry and a lemon slice for garnishing

How it’s done:

1. Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes.
2. Stir well.
3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
4. Garnish with a cherry and a lemon slice.

Time: less than 2 minutes
Makes: 1 cocktail

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10May 12

Negroni

NegroniIf I were able to choose where I came from, without thinking twice, I would pick Florence, Italy. Ever since I spent a couple of months in the city a few years ago, I fell in love with the architecture and the passionate way Italians speak and gesture with their hands in order to communicate. Also, one of my favourite drinks was invented in Florence: The Negroni.

Very typically Italian, where everything is extravagant and over-the-top, the Negroni has not one or two, but three main ingredients: Gin, Campari and Sweet Red Vermouth. Campari is the one that really struck my attention because I had not seen it in a great many drinks before the Negroni. Campari is an alcoholic apéritif obtained from the infusion of herbs and fruit in alcohol and water. It is described as a bitter.

So where does the name of the drink come from? In the 1920’s, Florentine aristocracy used to meet at the Café Casoni, in a beautiful Renaissance building downtown Florence. The trendy drink for aristocrats at the time was the American cocktail, mixed with equal parts of Campari and Sweet Red Vermouth. History has it that Count Negroni grew bored of the drink and, one evening, asked his favourite bartender, Fosco Scarelli, to add gin into his American cocktail to see what would happen. The result is that almost 100 years later, Negroni is one of Italy’s favourite drinks. When asked about the drink, a friend from Florence boasted that he had more Negroni than blood in his system.

Whatever the season, whether served as a summer negroni or winter cocktail, this beverage is usually offered as an appetizer, as Campari is meant to awaken your taste buds and get you ready for a meal. Also, you’ll want to drink it slowly because it is a rather strong mix. As a cocktail, it is an acquired taste, and once you get used to it, the Negroni grows on you, just as everything Italian has been growing on me ever since I went to Florence for the first time.

Needed:

  • 3cl Gin
  • 3cl Campari
  • 3cl Sweet Red Vermouth
  • Ice cubes
  • Orange slice

How to make a Negroni:

  1. Pour all ingredients directly into an old fashioned glass filled with ice.
  2. Stir gently.
  3. Garnish with half an orange slice and a stirrer.

Time: about 1 minute
Makes: 1 cocktail

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