Another from the Savoy Cocktail Book, the Imperial is a sort of Martini (does that even mean anything anymore?) variation or indeed even a variation on the Martinez, using dry instead of sweet vermouth. I can’t find much history on this one, but it does appear in Hugo Ensslin’s 1917 cocktail compendium as well, so it’s definitely a pre-Prohibition drink – which is not surprising given its relative simplicity.
1/2 French (dry) vermouth (Contratto)
1 dash maraschino liqueur
1 dash Angostura bitters.
Stir well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an olive.
It’s a pretty tasty little drink, and another good example of how a touch of maraschino can really bring a cocktail to life. The olive is a tad incongruous, and doesn’t get along too well with the rest of the drink; perhaps a brandied cherry would be better, or a twist of lemon or orange. But regardless, this is worth making. It’s not transcendent or anything, but there are worse ways to try to get through that open bottle of vermouth (you’ve got 4-6 weeks, by the way, if you keep in the refrigerator. You do keep it in the refrigerator, right???). Four livers.