Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Your host is back! (The Vieux Carre Cocktail)

Well folks, it has been a little longer than expected, but your host is back to share more about liquor and unique sights.

The trip to South America was indeed interesting and well worth while, and the time since then has been filled with career research.

But now, it is time for a drink.

Your host recently went for cocktails at Alembic, a great bar located on Haight Street in San Francisco. On their menu was an usual twist to the Manhattan Cocktail, called the Vieux Carre.

This cocktail was originally developed by Walter Bergeron in New Orleans in 1937. He was the head bartender at the Monteleone Hotel. A boozy combination of cognac, rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, and 2 types of bitters, it is not a cocktail for session drinking.

Traditionally, this cocktail is served in a rocks glass over ice. The Alembic recipe calls for an "up" preparation, complete with a flamed orange peel. This difference in preparation makes a huge difference, as the flavors are deeper and more pronounced.

Also, it is important to use high quality ingredients in this cocktail. Use a 100 proof rye whiskey like Rittenhouse. As for cognac, a decent VSOP or older will add additional complexity. Using Carpano Antica sweet vermouth will ensure the drink does not become too sweet. A cheaper vermouth, as in the type in most well Manhattans, will destroy the drink and give it a syrupy flavor.


Vieux Carre Cocktail

1 oz Rye Whiskey (Use Rittenhouse 100 proof)
1 oz Cognac (Use a V.S.O.P. or older)
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Use Carpano Antica, or other higher end product)
1/2 oz Benedictine
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Dash of Peychaud's Bitters (A bitters native to New Orleans)

Stir above ingredients with cracked ice. Strain into cocktail glass. Twist and flame orange peel over top of the glass and drop into the drink. The orange oils will float on top providing pleasing aromatics. Shaking this cocktail may lead to excessive dilution. Drink cold.