Posted by: Matt Browner Hamlin | December 16, 2008

Hoffman House Cocktail…Sort Of

Last night I had a hankering for a martini, which is rare because I’m really not a big fan of martinis. I have realized, though, that I like a martini with a very healthy amount of dry vermouth. I’ve also been reading Underhill Lounge quite religiously as Erik Flannestad rolls through the Savoy Cocktail book. The recently-posted Hoffman House Cocktail sounded pretty great, so I gave it a shot:

Hoffman House Cocktail

2 Dashes Orange Bitters. (2 dash Fee’s Orange Bitters)
1/3 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Noilly Pratt Dry Vermouth)
2/3 Gin (1 1/2 oz Martin Miller’s mouth Gin)

Stir and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel on top.

Now the Savoy recipe calls for Plymouth gin, which I have. But I recently got a bottle of Martin Miller’s and I wanted to try it in this drink (please hold all comparisons or comments about why that was a silly thing to do). I also didn’t have a fresh lemon on hand, so I used an olive instead.

I can’t say the olive and orange bitters was the best flavor compliment, even as I rinsed brine off the olive before plunking it into the cocktail. I would have been better served with a lemon twist or even an orange peel. I did a bit of poking around the Cocktail Database and found a couple recipes that were within range of the Hoffman House Cocktail. The Pom Pom Cocktail is basically the same drink, with no garnish. The Astoria has only one dash of orange bitters, but does include the olive. The Racquet Club has 1/4 oz more gin, one dash of bitters and an orange peel. There are also a couple variations with different ratios of gin and vermouth: the Maguerite has 7:3 gin to vermouth, while the Dewey Cocktail has equal parts gin and dry vermouth.

This whole exercise is a great example of how slight variations in recipe proportions produce different results (and many different names). Good times…


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