I initially thought of taking this theme too far, and no matter what a person liked to drink, I would recommend a Sazerac. Or perhaps a Rum Sazerac if some one asked for a Captain and Coke. I guess that I have watched Bartender's Choice: Not Sweet too many times (and have seen it happen in real life) to know that that will not fly.
Instead, I took a simple classic like the Marconi Wireless and recommended something more complex -- Josey Packard's WiFi. However, if they are already drinking Marconi Wirelesses, they are already part way there. Indeed, the WiFi might also be a good stepping stone away from the Cosmopolitan as it stays within the fruity sphere without offering up too strong of a spirit choice, although everything might seem rather flavorful compared to vodka. As a selling point, this drink has apples and honey with a little spice, and with the Peychaud's Bitters, it comes across almost as pretty as a Cosmo and might even do the trick for a Sour Apple Martini person.
Josey invented her homage to the Marconi Wireless for the 2009 James Beard Awards. I had already written about Patricia Richards' drink, Sinatra Smash, that was served at that event. Josey's drink is as follows:
WiFiWe were running out of Laird's Bonded so we split the drink with an equal part of Calvados. The Calvados certainly added more apple and less barrel notes and made for a softer drink. To satisfy the vodka drinker, Laird's Applejack might be a decent substitution as well for it offers up a lot of grain neutral spirit dilution to the mix (their applejack is only 35% apple product). The only other substitution we made was using Cocchi Americano instead of Lillet Blanc.
• 1 3/4 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
• 1 oz Lillet Blanc
• 1/4 oz Drambuie
• 1/8 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)
• 2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Thanks to Charles for picking this month's theme and to Paul Clarke for being the Grand Poobah each and every month!