Feeling that I’ve been relying too heavily on the Savoy Cocktail Book, essential though it is, I turned to a little spiral-bound volume from 1952 I picked up a few years ago called A Guide to Pink Elephants. There were several promising-sounding drinks, but when I inevitably cross-referenced them with the Savoy, they were in there too, often in more nuanced or intricate forms. So, come to think of it, there’s nothing wrong with using the Savoy so much. But, in order to mix things up and not get bogged down with endless brandy cocktails, I decided to start jumping around randomly. Which brings us to the Peto Cocktail. I’m just glad it wasn’t called the Pedo Cocktail.
The juice of 1/4 of an orange
1/4 French (dry) vermouth
1/4 Italian (sweet) vermouth
1/2 Plymouth Gin
2 dashes Maraschino liqueur
Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Plymouth gin isn’t called for all that often, but I guess often enough as I finished off my bottle with this drink. It also gave me an excuse to use my fancy new dry vermouth, as well as a bottle of Carpano Antica sweet vermouth that I just purchased. On top of that, it let me use one of my oranges before it rotted. Ingredient-wise, this was a winner.
I used Cara Cara oranges, which give a somewhat darker juice than other oranges (although not as dark as blood oranges), resulting in the rich color. The Peto is a very complex beverage. It comes on quite sweet and almost perfume-y. As it works its way to the back of the mouth, you get a good hit of the Maraschino – small in quantity but big in flavor. This made it taste a little bit like pineapple to me, but that’s probably just because I often drink Mary Pickfords, which feature both Maraschino and pineapple juice. After you swallow, you’re left with a lingering bitterness – but not in a bad way. More in the “Hey, that’s a serious cocktail there” sort of way. I expect the high-quality vermouth goes a long way toward making the Peto quite tasty – if made using Martini & Rossi or something of that ilk, this would be one that would make me think, “hmm, too much vermouth.” So let me reiterate – get good vermouth! Four livers.