Thursday, August 11, 2011

moulin rouge

2/3 Plymouth Gin (2 oz Knockabout)
2 dash Crème Yvette (3/8 oz, 3 barspoon (*))
1 dash Cointreau (1/8 oz, 1 barspoon (*))
2 dash Dry Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Prat)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
(*) Perhaps 1/4 oz each for the two liqueurs might work better.

Last Friday, when I opened up Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933, I decided to tackle one of the many recipes that was a base spirit plus a series of dashes by assigning specific volumes to those dashes. Previously, I had been avoiding these recipes since they were either vague as to proportions or appeared more like a jigger of spirit with only a small degree of flavor modifiers added. For a target, I selected the Moulin Rouge since the gin and Crème Yvette seemed appealing. In envisioning the proportions, I imagined the drink to be a gin-based Brooklyn, but I increased the ratio of Crème Yvette to Cointreau from the equal parts Maraschino to Amer Picon ratio in the Brooklyn. In retrospect, the equal parts (2:1/2:1/4:1/4) would have worked better especially as the drink got warmer.
While named after the French nightclub in the Pigalle quarter of Paris, the red hue imparted from the Crème Yvette and Angostura Bitters did not hurt the naming convention. The Moulin Rouge on CocktailDB has a similar color imparted from the combination of sloe gin, sweet vermouth, and Angostura Bitters (**); however, I could not see myself being drawn to that recipe in the same way. This Moulin Rouge began with a berry aroma from the Crème Yvette. Next, the Cointreau helped to give the sip a sweet orange flavor, and the swallow proffered a herbal and slightly bitter combination of gin, vermouth, and violet notes. The Moulin Rouge was delightful to drink when it was cold; however, it got a bit sharper as it warmed up which is why the 1/4 oz each Crème Yvette and Cointreau option might be preferable. Andrea commented that this was "not a sweet and insipid drink," and I wondered if it was the dash of Angostura that helped to keep the drink in line.

(**) There is also a Moulin Rouge in the Savoy Cocktail Book consisting of orange-flavored gin, apricot liqueur, lemon juice, and grenadine, and when Erik Ellestad made it, it did have a reddish hue as well.

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