Sunday, November 4, 2012

Classic Cocktails: Satan's Whiskers

This drink comes from the Savoy Cocktail Book circa 1930, by way of Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails. There are two versions of the drink - straight, when made with Grand Marnier, and curled, when made with curaçao. Either way, it will be delicious.

Satan's Whiskers
0.5 oz gin
0.5 oz sweet vermouth
0.5 oz dry vermouth
0.5 oz orange juice
2 tsp orange liqueur
1 tsp orange bitters

Combine all ingredients, shake with ice for six seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The nose is relatively muted, revealing flashes of orange bitters, grape from the wines, and a hint of baking spices. The sip opens with orange sweetness, which carries through almost to the back. It is joined by various bitter notes, from the vermouths, gin, and bitters, which form a harmonious whole. The finish is pleasant and not overwhelmingly bitter, rather making the drink more-ish.

Oh man, I am shocked by just how good this drink is. On paper, it looks like a huge bitter fest, but the orange juice and liqueur conspire to keep everything in balance. So much so that it feels almost tropical. I would actually be really happy sipping this drink of a warm, sandy beach. The fruit just meshes so well with the bitter components. The drink actually improves a bit as it warms up, with the nose becoming more expansive and the palate gaining a bit more definition. Overall, I'll call this one a winner.

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