Thursday, November 12, 2009

amour cocktail

3/4 oz Sweet Sherry (Lustau's East India Solera)
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth (Dolin)
2 dash Angostura Bitters (1 dash Angostura + 1 dash Regan's Orange)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist. Can substitute the Angostura for orange bitters.
After watching Kinsey on DVD last night, Andrea was in the mood for a light cocktail. Therefore, I flipped through the wine section of our newer edition (1972) of Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide and found the Amour Cocktail. The drink is basically a sweeter version of the Bamboo, a drink which features a Fino sherry -- one of the driest sherry types and rather pale and nutty. The sweet sherry we used, East India Solera, was not as sweet as the Pedro Ximénez, the other end of the spectrum from Fino, but was a 50-50 mix of PX and a dry Oloroso. Overall, the Amour Cocktail had a vibrant orange nose and the orange notes carried over into the sip. The orange flavors co-mingled with the botanicals in the bitters and vermouth, and this was followed by the oxidized wine flavor of the sherry. The orange flavors from the bitters, twist oils, and peel notes in the vermouth worked quite well with the sherry. While the drink could function decently as an aperitif, it seemed like the Amour Cocktail might be better if served with a dessert pairing.

As an interesting side note, the 1934 edition of Boothby's World Drinks And How to Mix Them contains a very similar drink called the Armour:
• 3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
• 3/4 oz Sherry
• 2 dash Orange Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
I have no clue if the etymology of the drink name is distinct or whether it is a typo or misheard drink name. Given the oral history of drink names being like a game of Operator at times, it is possible that the Armour is an Amour Cocktail variant. I assume that the sherry to be used in the Armour is a drier one. And perhaps the sweet vermouth plus a dry, pale sherry is about equivalent to a dry vermouth plus a sweet, dark sherry in balance.

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