The Algonquin Cocktail

The Algonquin Cocktail:

1.5 oz rye (Michter's)
.75 oz dry vermouth (Vya)
.75 oz pineapple juice
opt. dash pineapple gum syrup (Small Hand Foods)

Shake over ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass.

This is an excellent classic cocktail from Ted Haigh named for the New York hotel the Algonquin Round Table. Rye and pineapple go particularly well together, the sweet pineapple mediating the spiciness of the rye, and the Vya lends additional botanical notes. The pineapple we were using was unfortunately a little on the bland side, and lacking some necessary sweetness. Luckily, we had Small Hand Foods amazing pineapple gum syrup to save the day and a dash gave the cocktail the sweetness and pleasant mouthfeel (the pineapple syrup is a historically accurate gomme syrup) for a true prohibition style cocktail. 

The Perfect Cocktail - 1 oz. @HendricksGin, 1 oz. sweet vermouth, 1 oz. dry vermouth

1 oz. Gin* (Hendricks's)
1 oz. French Vermouth (Dolin)
1 oz. Italian Vermouth (Punt E Mes)

Stir with ice. Strain.

*The recipe called for dry gin, but Hendrick's was calling me.

I was making macaroons and flipping through the Savoy Cocktail Book looking for something in a French theme and noticed that French and Italian was the designation for dry and sweet vermouth respectively. This led to further investigation where I learned that vermouths were often referred to in this way as most French vermouths were white and Italian, red. If you did not already know this and if you have been reading this blog and others, you may have noticed that this is not a steadfast rule as there are red French vermouths (Dolin) and white Italian vermouths (Martini and Rossi). However, this guideline is helpful in recreating some of the older vintage cocktails.
While delicious, rich, complex, drinkable, simple, and sublime, I instantly wanted to tinker with this drink (and already had by not sticking with a dry gin) so I'm not sure that I would consider it perfect, but I am conflicted about disagreeing with Mr. Craddock, though sometimes a name is just a name. I think Punt E Mes and Hendrick's go particularly well together and mix with the fruity Dolin for a full-bodied sip. I was craving some bitterness as the drink is on the sweet side. In the next iteration I added Torani Amer and homemade orange bitters.

Perfect Cocktail #2
1 oz. Gin* (Hendricks's)
.75 oz. French Vermouth (Dolin)
.75 oz. Italian Vermouth (Punt E Mes)
.5 oz. Amer Picon (Torani Amer)
1 dash homemade orange bitters

This was a good drink, though quite a different character of drink, with the bitter orange of the Amer and the gentian of the bitters. It also was not quite the flavor I was seeking. A very similar cocktail also worth trying is the Income Tax Cocktail, essentially the Perfect cocktail with orange juice and Angostura bitters.
I eventually settled on

Eye of the Beholder:
1 oz. Gin* (Hendricks's)
.75 oz. French Vermouth (Dolin)
.75 oz. Italian Vermouth (Punt E Mes)
.5 oz. Cynar

This was the drink I was looking for. Sweet, bitter, complex, almost a syrupy velvety richness without being cloying. Perfect? I will leave perfection as an endless pursuit.

Breuckelen- 1 1/2 oz. @BolsGenever, 1/2. oz dry vermouth, 1/4 oz. maraschino, 1/4 oz. amer picon


1 1/2 oz. Bols Genever
1/2 oz. dry vermouth (Dolin)
1/4 oz. Maraschino (Luxardo)
1/4 oz. Amer Picon (Torani Amer)
Dash orange bitters (homemade

This cocktail gets it's name from The Village of Breuckelen in the Netherlands and later, the namesake for, the first "official" municipality in what became New York State, owned by the Dutch (Dutch West India Company) before losing ownership during the British conquest of New Netherlands. "Over time, the name evolved from Breuckelen, to Brockland, to Brocklin, to Brookline, to Brookland and eventually, to Brooklyn"

The drinks nose was mead/citrus from the genever and the bitter orange notes of the Amer. Sip warm like a whiskey and smoothed by the vermouth while retaining spicyness. Swallow funky maraschino tempered again by vermouth. Bitters adds complexity and mingles well with the botanicals of the genever.

Applegrass- 1 1/4 oz. Bison Grass Vodka, 3/4 oz. dry Vermouth, 3/4 oz. Apple Brandy


1 1/4 oz. Zubrowka (Bak's Bison Grass Vodka)
3/4 oz. Apple Brandy (Clear Creek)
3/4 oz. Dry vermouth (Dolin)

I have been eyeing the zubrowka at the local liquor store, intrigued after reading about it at cocktailnerd, and as I like to keep things interesting using Arielle as a test subject for most drinks, combined with her fondness of vodka (despite my encouragement to drink gin against her doctors medical advice [juniper allergy]) it seemed to be a good candidate for some new drinks.

The nose on the zubrowka is quite interesting, more vanilla/almond rather than grassy like I expected. This cocktail was quite good and surprising as the combination of tastes reminiscent of apple pie, brought ghost warm spice notes like cinnamon to the palate. Zubrowka originated in Poland, with the most popular drink being the tatanka, a 2-1 (though recipe varies) mix of apple juice and Zubrowka. It is also know as the "Frisky Bison", and is often described as liquid apple strudel. Sounding a bit sweet for my taste, I found the Applegrass accomplished the strudel flavor combination without the need for juice, making for a great introduction to zubrowka.

If you want to go one step further look here for recipes to make your own zubrowka.