Friday, March 4, 2011

fancy sour

1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Vya)
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)
1 dash Aromatic Bitters (Peychaud's)

Shake with ice and strain into a small cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

On Tuesday evening, Andrea was game to try a pair of vermouth cocktails that I had found. The drinks were very different: one with citrus, one straight spirits; one sweet, one dry vermouth; one aperitif, one dessert cocktail. The former of those pairs was the Fancy Sour that Derek Brown wrote about in the Atlantic. Katie Nelson, a bartender at the Columbia Room in Washington, D.C., introduced the drink to Derek and apparently prefers the the recipe when made with Carpano Antica vermouth. While I am not sure where she found the recipe, it appears on CocktailDB which leads me to believe that it arrived there from Stan Jones' Complete Bar Guide. The concept of Fancy Cocktails that were improved with the use of Maraschino liqueur in place of sugar as a sweetener were rather popular in the latter half of the 19th century (see this post about Fancy and Improved Cocktails). Indeed, Jerry Thomas provided the recipe for a Fancy Vermouth Cocktail as follows:
Fancy Vermouth Cocktail
• 1 wineglass Vermouth (2 oz)
• 2 dash Maraschino
• 2 dash Angostura Bitters
• 1 quarter slice of lemon
Stir the vermouth, liqueur, and bitters with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon slice.
Combine this recipe with a traditional Sour, and the Fancy (Vermouth) Sour falls into place.
The Fancy Sour greeted the nose with orange notes from the twist and bitters and grape notes from the Vya vermouth. Like many Sours, the sip which was lemony and somewhat tart. The swallow though was the Maraschino coupled with the vermouth's and bitters' botanicals; surprisingly, the aftertaste was a lemon note and not the nutty cherry of the liqueur as I first guessed. Overall, the Fancy Sour made for a great aperitif as expected. Between the lemon's acid and the lightness and slight bitterness of the vermouth, this drink was perfect in preparing the body for the meal to come.

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