Basically, a Martini with attitude
A classic Martini is made with dry gin and dry vermouth. So is The Atty Cocktail.
But the Atty adds a kiss of absinthe and crème de violette – just enough to give its flavor a hint of anise and violet, and its hue a tinge of blue.
The Atty is perfect for sipping before dinner on a warm summer’s night. But really, we’d welcome it anytime. Because suave is always in style.
Recipe: The Atty Cocktail
The Atty Cocktail dates back at least to 1930 (more history in the Notes).
Its combination of ingredients — gin, dry vermouth, absinthe, and crème de violette — is unusual in cocktails. That’s probably because, used injudiciously, their flavors can clash.
But they work in this drink. The Atty calls for only small amounts of absinthe and crème de violette (just a splash of each), so everything is in balance. But if the quantities we suggest for these ingredients are still too much for your taste, simply reduce them until the drink seems “right” to you.
This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and serves one.
- 2 ounces dry gin
- 1 ounce dry vermouth
- ½ teaspoon absinthe (you may prefer a bit less – say, ¼ teaspoon)
- ½ teaspoon crème de violette (reduce this to ¼ teaspoon if you reduce the amount of absinthe)
- lemon twist for garnish (optional)
- Combine all ingredients (except garnish) in a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir briskly until well chilled (about 30 seconds).
- Strain into a cocktail glass (preferably one that’s been chilled). Add a lemon twist for garnish, if you wish, and serve.
- We stir rather than shake this drink because the ingredients are clear. Shaking can introduce small oxygen bubbles, which make a drink cloudy. Cloudiness isn’t a problem if some of the ingredients are opaque (think citrus juice), and so we generally shake those drinks.
- Having said that: Go ahead and shake this drink if you prefer – it’ll taste just as good.
- Crème de violette is a blue-hued liqueur that has a faint violet taste. Most good liquor stores should carry it (and if they don’t, you can ask them to order it).
- You can also use crème de violette in The Blue Moon Cocktail and The Yale Cocktail.
- Absinthe is an anise-flavored spirit. For years, the sale of absinthe was illegal in the US and much of Europe because one of its ingredients was thought to be addictive and psychoactive. It’s back on the market now, though it can be expensive.
- As a substitute for outlaw absinthe, people developed “pastis” – anise-flavored liqueurs (such as Pernod). If you don’t have real absinthe on hand, you can use pastis in this drink.
- Any good dry vermouth and dry gin will work in this drink. Anything with a “name” label should be fine.
- Our recipe calls for a 2:1 ratio of gin to dry vermouth. The original recipe had a ratio of 3:1. That’s good, but we think more vermouth works better in this drink (the opposite is true when it comes to a classic Martini).
- As is the case with so many cocktails, the origins of the Atty are obscure. But a recipe for the Atty Cocktail first appeared in print in the 1930 edition of Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book.
- There was an earlier drink called The Attention that also contains gin, dry vermouth, absinthe, and crème de violette. The Attention appeared in Hugo Ensslin’s 1917 Recipes for Mixed Drinks.
- The Attention calls for equal quantities of the gin, vermouth, absinthe, and crème de violette. That’s way unbalanced, so the drink is not very good (to our humble taste buds, at least).
- Attention . . . Atty. Similar names, no? And the ingredients are identical, though used in different proportions. So Craddock may have been inspired by Ensslin. Ya think?
- Programming Note: Now that Memorial Day has come and gone, summer is officially here in our part of the world. So it’s time to start our annual Summer Sippin’ and Snarfin’ Series. What’s that? Well, during most of the year we publish one cocktail recipe a month (usually the first post of the month). But when summer arrives, we tend to up our drinks quotient – because hot weather is thirsty weather, right? So expect to see more cocktail recipes than usual through Labor Day, along with summer-appropriate food dishes. We may even post some back-to-back cocktails. Because, well, thirst.
“So Summer Sippin’ and Snarfin’ is finally here,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “My favorite time of the year!”
“We have lots of good drinks ahead of us,” I said. “But it will take long hours of research to choose the best ones for the blog. Work, work, work!”
“Fortunately, we have a thirst for knowledge,” said Mrs K R.
“And we’re dedicated to real-world, hands-on testing,” I said. “Only the best for our readers.”
“We’re selfless, really,” said Mrs K R. “Just hope we don’t find ourselves staggering . . . under the workload, I mean.”
That’s a risk we’ll have to take.
You may also enjoy reading about:
The Martini Cocktail
The Blue Moon Cocktail
The Yale Cocktail
The Aviation Cocktail
The Corpse Reviver Cocktail
The Bee's Knees Cocktail
Or check out the index for more