So, the esteemable Paul Clarke has handed over the reins of Mixology Monday to the indefatigable cocktail sleuth Fred Yarm. Excellent! The first go round, after a sizable hiatus, is equal proportions. (Update: read about all the drinks here in the wrap up post)
"[S]imple drinks where only one jigger is needed," says Fred.
So let's get down to it!
In keeping with Fred's comment about purists I will not make a drink with bitters, even though one or two did make my short list. "Garnish doesn't count", eh? I like that.
I thought about the Spievak Zombie but abandoned that idea. Recently I posted a 6 equal parts drink, the Ivy, but I won't retread that. Some recipes for the Lone Tree are equal and some are not but regardless there's those bitters...
So, what to do? What to do?
I flipped through my library and compiled a list. Some promising, some comical. Finally (actually first, but after considering all the other options more like "back to" and therefore "finally") I decided on the Perfect Cocktail.
Three ingredients. Three quarters of an ounce of each. No bitters. No dashes of any kind. A garnish which "doesn't count." (Remember the movie Monster Squad? No? Never mind...)
I think we all know what perfect means in cocktail parlance. Just in case though I'll refresh you: Both sweet and dry vermouths are used. The result is a drink not "dry" and not "sweet" but "perfect." Outside of Manhattans and Martinis you don't see the term much. In my experience it is much more associated with a Manhattan than a Martini.
Anyway, here is the Perfect Cocktail. My choice for the perfect cocktail to toast the rebirth of Mixology Monday.
0.75 oz gin
0.75 oz dry vermouth
0.75 oz sweet vermouth
Shake, (Yes!shake!) strain, orange twist.
Curiously this drink, unlike the Lone Tree recipes I found in my library, is to be shaken. Using my usual reverse hard-shake cobbler method this results in a cloudy drink in which tiny ice chips float. Lovely. The garnish adds some nice orange elements. The orange along with the bitterness and herbs of the vermouth makes me want to try various Amer Picon cocktails. However one substitution or another will be necessary in this locality.
At first I thought this was anything but the "perfect" cocktail but as it warmed and became transparent I enjoyed it more and more. This is actually an excellent pre-prandial cocktail. Yay!
The similarity of this drink to the Lone Tree did get me thinking about cocktails whose very minor variations warrant a different name. (I'm sure someone has blogged about this before). Is this really a Lone Tree with an orange twist in place of orange bitters? Is it a Cooperstown that's shaken, in the vein of the Campobello to the Negroni? Maybe it's more like the Trinity to the Bloodhound. At any rate this drinks and it's cousins will likely become a staple of my home bar. Speaking of cousins, I think I'll go have a Bradford while I watch some fifth season episodes of The Dukes Of Hazzard.