The Hakam Cocktail

Another entry from Harry Craddock’s 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book, the Hakam is rather similar to the Martinez, which in turn may or may not be the precursor of the Martini. The major difference between this drink and the Martinez is that this one uses sweet instead of dry vermouth, and lacks any maraschino. Hakam, by the way, means “wise man” in Hebrew, but the provenance of the name seems to be otherwise unknown.

The Recipe:

1/2 gin

1/2 sweet vermouth

1 dash orange bitters

2 dashes curaçao

Stir with ice until well-chilled, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Hakam Cocktail

As with any vermouth-heavy drink, your results are going to vary according to which vermouth you use. Here in New Mexico, I’ve got maybe three quality vermouths to work with, due to (apparently) limitations in distribution. My current sweet vermouth of choice is Carpano Antica, and it is marvelous in the Hakam – as it is in most things. Definitely try to avoid your basic vermouths – Noilly Prat, Martini, etc. They will not do this drink justice. The gin flavors largely get subsumed within the more-powerfully flavored vermouth, but the gin does ramp up the potency of the beverage. Meanwhile, the orange flavors play very nicely with both the sweet and bitter aspects of the Carpano. There are definitely some fairly strong bitter undertones to the Hakam, but not in any way unpleasant ones. I found this to be very refreshing, very tasty, and very drinkable. A strong four livers.


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