Sunday, June 24, 2012

Classic Cocktail: the Rose Marie Cocktail

Sadly I couldn't find any information on the provenance of this drink that I pulled out of the Cocktail Database, but looking at the recipe it's a bit of an odd beast. Amazingly, all of the ingredients pull together beautifully.

Rose Marie Cocktail
1.25 oz gin
0.5 oz dry vermouth
0.25 oz armagnac (sub cognac)
0.25 oz Campari
0.25 oz cherry Heering

Combine all ingredients, stir with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

On the nose, this is the antithesis of a tiki drink - instead of the ingredients blending to form something new, each element is distinct and presents itself in turn. You can smell everything, but somehow they're still separate. The sip begins with cherry notes from the Heering and the orange sweetness of Campari. There's a brief lift of fruit from the brandy, then the Campari does its usual segue into darker, more bitter flavors as the drink moves across the tongue, being joined by the juniper of the gin and dry wine of the vermouth. For being a fairly minor constituent, the Campari almost steals the show, but at the same time it works well with the other ingredients, which layer on top of that base.

While I made this drink somewhat on a whim, it turned out to be pretty tasty. I'm slowly acclimatizing myself to more bitter-centric drinks and this is a fine example of what I would think of as a bittersweet cocktail. Both elements are present and in tension, but neither rides over the other.


  1. The Rose Marie, like most of the drinks in CocktailDB is from Stan Jones' opus - Jones' Complete Bar Guide. Where Stan got all those drinks, nobody seems to know.

    Trying it out this evening, I completely agree about all of the distinct flavors (except maybe the vermouth) just being layered and present, not melding at all.

    1. Thanks for the info, Sylvan. Glad to hear that I wasn't just imagining things with the nose.

  2. Just tried this one - the Campari really gives off a fiery-type bitterness here, not so much extreme as just a characterization. The armagnac's tricky and seems to be the glue that pulls everything together. Its wildness is a good match for the cherry Heering. Debating whether I should've used a softer or more citrusy gin than Tanqueray - though it does hold up to the Campari.