Whew, that’s a mouthful. This one, of course, comes from the Savoy Cocktail Book once again, and one must assume, although Craddock takes no pains to mention it, that this was a drink invented at the bar there, perhaps by Craddock himself. It’s more or less a variation on the Martini – gin and vermouth. Simple stuff.
2/3 Plymouth gin
1/3 French (dry) vermouth
2 dashes Dubonnet
Shake with ice; strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze a twist of orange peel on top.
Plymouth gin is, to reiterate, a slightly sweetened gin, although not so’s you’d really notice. It’s got a distinct flavor although it is only subtly different from a good London Dry. Worth having a bottle around, although you could use any quality gin in this drink without causing undue suffering.
This is a remarkably well-balanced cocktail. It’s strong, being mostly gin, and that gives it a good bite, but the bite is tempered by the sweetness of the vermouth (and once again, your results are going to vary enormously based on the quality of the vermouth you use). I didn’t really notice the Dubonnet, but it must be doing something, so don’t skimp. The orange peel is essential here, and indeed this cocktail serves as an ideal example to demonstrate exactly how much a little thing like a twist can add to a drink’s overall quality. Without it, this would be a good way to take the edge of some gin and get it into your system. With the twist, the orange flavor becomes the glue that ties the whole thing together, and you’re left, after the more alcoholic notes subside, feeling like you just had a nice sip of fresh-squeezed orange juice.
It’s really a remarkable drink – so simple, so balanced, so nuanced. So good. Five livers. Make this one for your next gathering and you’ll seem like a bartending magician.