It’s the first official day of teacher summer. We tried to luxuriate, but we’re both overachievers, so we went for a 3-mile run, did laundry, and cleaned our house. We did manage to eat some awesome salmon pastrami (at the lovely Blessings Cafe), drink beer at lunch, nap, and make this brandy cocktail. Brandy evokes mid-century luxury: it’s got a rich, caramel color, and a deep flavor that rewards long, slow sips. Here’s to a little luxury this summer. The recipe as written:
- 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
- 2 oz. Old Mr. Boston Five Star Brandy
- Dash bitters
Stir well with cracked ice and strain into 3 oz. cocktail glass.
Notes on prep: We’ve completely abandoned all efforts to crack ice and just served this over cubes. Chris shook the drink to mix. We ignored Mr. B’s stingy measurements and tripled the recipe. Our go-to brandy for cocktails is Paul Masson.
Liz’s Take: This is a take on a Manhattan, I think, and using brandy in place of the whiskey is interesting. But in a Manhattan, the ratio is roughly 2:1, whiskey: vermouth; in this it’s more like 4:1, brandy: vermouth. Brandy is a wine-based spirit. It’s got some of whiskey’s smooth sweetness, but there’s a fruity undernote that really dominates in this drink. The vermouth gets lost. I might try this again, but I’d mess with the ratios for sure.
Chris’s Take: Gentlemen, take note. Cognac is nonsense. It’s overpriced and over-marketed. Brandy is simpler than the folks at Hennessy would have you think. Paul Masson is coming out of the same region as good Kentucky Bourbon, and that shit won’t cost you more than twenty bucks in even the Corcoran-iest neighborhoods. There’s no reason you shouldn’t have a bottle in your liquor cabinet, because this is a date night cocktail. Simple to make, cheap, brandy forward, and sophisticated. It’ll taste more expensive and more complicated than it is.
- Prep: Easy
- Ingredient Accessibility: Easy
- Price: Cheapish, if you use cheap brandy, but it could be super spendy, if you’re into that sort of thing, but Chris says you shouldn’t be.
- Taste: Brandy-forward, spicy sweet with a hint of smokiness from the vermouth
Final Verdict: I think this one evoked a pretty solid “meh” from both of us. I liked the looks of it, but I’d rather drink a real Manhattan or a Brandy Sidecar. Don’t think we’d order this at a bar, unless the bartender had a great story about the brandy.