Bruce's Blog

a handful of dimes and a jukebox

“The important thing is the rhythm. Always have rhythm in your shaking. Now, a Manhattan you shake to a fox-trot time. A Bronx to two step time. A dry martini you always shake to waltz time.” — Nick Charles, from ‘The Thin Man’

So I got this idea that it would be fun to learn more about the fine art of mixed drinks. My wife and I are known in my family for our rather good Gin and Tonics. I was taught by my friend Nickey, who is British, so I claim they are British style G&Ts. But it occurred to me that I might branch out a bit. So some months back I instituted a Cocktail of the Week, usually on Sunday afternoon. But it depends on the news cycle. On some days, I’m not sure if we’ll make it till Sunday, so I make them on Saturday instead.

My wife bought me some neat little bartending gadgets and my friend Natalie from The Village Idiot gives me some professional pointers. I had no idea, for example, that Vermouth varied so much in quality. The stuff in the $4 bottle is drinkable, but something like a Carpano Antica elevates everything to another level. And bitters! There are gobs and gobs of these things. Bitters are all about adding subtle flavorings or odors, like adding spice to food.

brandy cocktail

So today’s CotW (I’m not sure how that should be pronounced. Suggestions are welcome.) is a Brandy Cocktail. Apparently there are about as many recipes that claim to the the *real* brandy cocktail recipes as there are galaxies in the sky. And that’s a lot. So the one I made today was my own creation based on two other recipes, partly for my own personal taste and partly based on what I had around. My Brandy Cocktail recipe follows.


1 1/2 parts brandy (decent stuff, please)

1 part dry vermouth (ok, I used my $4 stuff because I haven’t invested in the good stuff yet)

1 part cointreau

2 dashes angostura bitters

orange zest

1 cocktail cherry for garnish

Swirl the bitters around in the glass and then stir the brandy, vermouth and cointreau in a mixing thingy with 5 or 6 ice cubes. Twist the zest over the drink and drop in for a garnish along with the cherry.

I thought it a very pleasant way to end the day.


Categories: Alcohol, Cooking

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