Friday, November 6, 2009


1/2 Rye Whiskey (1 1/2 oz Sazerac 6 Year)
1/4 Sweet Vermouth (3/4 oz Dolin)
1/4 White Curacao (3/4 oz Curacao of Curacao)
Juice of 1/2 Lime (~1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Earlier in the week, I realized that I had been neglecting the Anvil's 100 Drink list and my goal of goal of completing it by the end of 2009, so I scanned the 13 remaining drinks and picked out the Oriental for I was in the mood for some rye. I opened up the Savoy Cocktail Book and found the recipe which I scaled to 3 oz (plus 1/2 oz juice) pre-melt. Perhaps back in 1930, scaling to 2 oz might have been more proportional to the size of that era's limes, or would make for a slightly drier drink with today's limes. The Savoy gives a brief history of the drink, "In August, 1924, an American Engineer nearly died of fever in the Philippines, and only the extraordinary devotion of Dr. B-- saved his life. As an act of gratitude, the Engineer gave Dr. B-- the recipe of this cocktail." I have no clue how anecdotal that story is, but I was game for trying such a drink of thanksgiving.
On the nose, Andrea picked up a lot of the rye aromas whereas I focused more on the citrus. The spice of the rye and the bite of the lime were decently balanced by the sweetness of the curacao and vermouth, although the precise intended ratio of citrus to sweet is unknown due to the imprecise ratios in the recipe besides the variability in lime size. Our chosen ratio was in the medium range for our taste buds and was not overly sweet. Perhaps I needed a Dr. B, for while drinking the Oriental, I kept detecting phantom orgeat notes. Overall, the Oriental was a bit more intriguing than your average rye sour although not a superlative cocktail in my book. Perhaps it would be more enjoyable and refreshing on a warmer night reminiscent of the Philippines instead of a chilly November one.

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