Thursday, June 17, 2010


1/4 Grapefruit Juice (3/4 oz)
1/4 Maraschino (3/4 oz Luxardo)
1/4 Sweet Vermouth (3/4 oz Carpano Antica)
1/4 Dry Gin (3/4 oz Bombay Dry)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a hazelnut.

On Wednesday last week, I was flipping through my newly acquired 1962 edition of Ted Saucier's Bottom's Up and spotted the D.J. This quirky drink was invented at the Detroit Athletic Club where the better known cocktail, the Last Word, was also born. The D.J. was "named in honor of a former well known citizen of Detroit, D.J. Campau, who was a representative of Detroit's oldest families, a member of the Democratic National Committee, and all that sort of thing. And he was quite a guy." I was able to find New York Times articles about Campau from 1892 to 1908 which suggests that this drink dates from the pre-Prohibition era (although it could have been Prohibition era along with the Last Word). Not one to turn down trying a four equal parts recipe (not to mention having a stash of hazelnuts ready to go), I set to work on making a pair of these drinks.
The color of the D.J. matched its garnish rather well, and the drink started with a light Maraschino aroma. Grapefruit and sweet vermouth pleasantly began the sip which was followed by a big bolus of Maraschino. This Maraschino wave was mitigated to some degree by the cleansing nature of gin on the swallow. For the first few sips, the drink seemed rather bizarre; however, after a few more sip, both Andrea and I got more into this drink as we acclimated to the flavors. The DJ might be less odd of a drink if a less funky Maraschino such as Stock brand was used instead of Luxardo, or the volume was split with a simple syrup to lighten the flavor a bit. Perhaps the D.J. pre-dated the Last Word by a few years and the Detroit Athletic Club bartenders were able to fix up the recipe by swapping lime and green Chartreuse for grapefruit and sweet vermouth to create the better balanced and more successful Last Word.

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