18. Rose cocktail

17 Aug

. . . Charles carried out his usual morning practice. First he was shaved under the Regina Hotel, because it was one of the few places in Paris in which they would at least try to give one an American a hot towel; then to the florist opposite the Grand, where he grumbled about having to pay two francs for a carnation; then, not out of viciousness, but from a pure lightness of heart, to the bar of his hotel for a Rose cocktail.

— Grant Richards, Caviare (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1912), pp. 76-7.

There are several versions of the Rose cocktail (not to be confused with the Jack Rose). Craddock lists four: one “English” and three “French”  styles, the English involving apricot brandy and the French kirsch and/or cherry brandy. This is a recipe adapted from Robert Vermeire, who appends the following historical note: “Sidney Knight, the famous bar-tender of the Hotel Cecil in London, introduced this cocktail in London at the Alhambra Theatre many years ago” (Cocktails: How to Mix Them [London: Herbert Jenkins, 1922], pp. 42-3). The distinctive ingredient in this take on the drink is Dubonnet, a sweet fortified wine originally developed as a way to get the French Foreign Legion in North Africa to down the antimalarial prophylactic quinine (in much the same way that the British in India discovered that adding gin to their bitter medicinal tonic water made it more palatable). It’s a rather old-fashioned apperitif these days, but was very popular during the Cocktail Age. Because Dubonnet is French in origin, and Queen Elizabeth II drinks gin and Dubonnet before lunch every day, I like to think this particular mixture is a synthesis of the Savoy’s “English” and “French” styles.

3 dashes of Grenadine

1/4 gill of Dry Gin (which I rounded up to 1 ½ oz.)

1/8 gill of French Vermouth (rounded up to ¾ oz.)

1/8 gill of Dubonnet

Twist a lemon peel over the top of the drink and add a cherry for garnish.


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