Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Tip Top Cocktail

Tip Top Cocktail

This light, low-alcohol classic tastes like summer

When the temperature soars, our appetites wilt. We’re just not in the mood for heavy food or drink.

Tip Top Cocktail to the rescue! This drink doesn’t contain much booze per serving—less alcohol than you’d find in a glass of wine, in fact. And its crisp, refreshing flavor revives our appetites. So it’s an excellent pre-dinner drink.

All around, this cocktail is—wait for it—tip top.



Tip Top Cocktail

Recipe: The Tip Top Cocktail

We learned about this cocktail from reading Robert Hess. He, in turn, found a recipe for it in the 1931 Old Waldorf Bar Days by Albert Crockett Stevens. What was the history of the drink before that? No one knows. Its origins are lost.

This drink traditionally is served "up" (chilled and without ice) in a cocktail glass, but we like it better over ice in a rocks glass (and in hot weather, we need all the ice we can get).

This recipe takes about 5 minutes to make and serves one.

Ingredients
  • 2 ounces dry vermouth (see Notes)
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon Bénédictine (you may want a touch more; see Notes)
  • 1 to 2 dashes Angostura Bitters (we prefer 2)
  • lemon twist for garnish (optional)
Procedure
  1. Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a mixing glass half-filled with ice. Stir briskly until the contents are well chilled—about 30 seconds.
  2. Drain into an ice-filled rocks glass or a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist, if desired, and serve.
Tip Top Cocktail

Notes
  • You can use any brand of dry (French) vermouth that you like. But if you have an open bottle of vermouth that you’ve been storing in a cupboard at room temperature, we suggest you buy a new bottle before making this drink.
  • Why? Because vermouth (both dry and sweet) can degrade quickly once it’s opened. Although vermouth is fortified wine, its alcohol level is relatively low (about 18%). So, once opened, it will begin to oxidize. When stored at room temperature, its quality will drop considerably after a month or so. We always store vermouth in the refrigerator once we’ve opened it. It still oxidizes, but refrigeration slows down the process.
  • Bénédictine is an aromatic herbal liqueur that’s on the sweet side. Based on the name, you might assume it’s produced by Benedictine monks. In fact, it was invented in 1863 by Alexandre Le Grand, a French wine merchant and industrialist. Le Grand did, however, boost sales by claiming that monks at a Benedictine Abbey in Normandy had developed the beverage.
  • How much Bénédictine to use in this drink? Just enough for a hint of its flavor, without making the drink too sweet. We generally use a bit less than 1 teaspoon, although anything from ½ teaspoon to 1½ teaspoons is fairly pleasing. The amount you prefer may depend on how sweet you like your drinks.
  • You can drink Bénédictine by itself as an after-dinner drink (we suggest pouring it over ice). 
  • Or mix Bénédictine half-and-half with cognac or brandy. In that case, you have a drink called the B&B. This is such a popular concoction that you can buy it premixed (just look in your liquor store for a bottle labeled B&B). 
  • Angostura bitters give this drink most of its color, and their taste blends well with vermouth. Don’t skip them.
Tip Top Cocktail

Top Notch

“Nice,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “I’m not a huge fan of Bénédictine, but this cocktail tips the scale in its favor.”

“This drink takes me back to the days before we really drank cocktails,” I said. “Remember how we’d sometimes order dry vermouth on the rocks before dinner at restaurants?”

“That’s a top-drawer drink,” said Mrs K R. “But this is better.”

“Can’t believe we hadn’t yet learned the joys of mixology,” I said. “Guess we didn’t want to get tipsy.”

“We were trying to claw our way to the top,” said Mrs K R.

“Yup, so a top dog like myself had to stay sharp as a spear tip,” I said.

“Um, right,” said Mrs K R. “That was back when you were a bit less thin on top. Guess the mange hadn’t set in yet.”

Ouch. Mrs K R knows how to put the cherry on top.

You may also enjoy reading about:
Alaska Cocktail
Bijou Cocktail
Bamboo Cocktail
Sherry Cobbler Cocktail
Brainstorm Cocktail
Brandy Smash Cocktail
Or check out the index for more

62 comments:

  1. You confused me with your alcohol content remark -- the drink contains more alcohol _per ounce_ than wine, but it's less than 3 oz for one serving as you specify it. And a typical glass of wine these days is maybe 7 oz. So what you say is right on a technicality, I'd say. Funny how the history of some of these drinks is just a blank!

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Mae, good point -- it's less alcohol per serving. And a very tasty serving it is! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  2. It doesn't take much alcohol to make me tipsy so it sounds like this cocktail is perfect for me :). And it sounds so lovely for summer!

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    1. Hi Kelsie, this is such a nice, refreshing drink. Much less booze in a glass than in a regular cocktail. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Now this is my kind of drink but I have to buy a new bottle of vermouth because my bottle has been open for ever. Prost!

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    1. Hi Gerlinde, this is a good drink -- you'll like. But you won't like it with a bottle of vermouth that's been open forever, so do buy a fresh one. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  4. It looks stunning and so perfect for summer parties :-)

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    1. Hi Angie, it's a good drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. It looks so pretty! Sounds tasty too.

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    1. Hi Pam, it is really tasty. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. Wow, it it taste as stunning as the pics are! I want one every night for summer! I thought it looked like a pale Apérol Spritz at first. Love the tough of Bénédictine too. Cheers!

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    1. Hi Evelyne, it's an excellent drink. Fun to look at, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. I still marvel over your cocktail photos. And this sounds deee---licious.

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    1. Hi Lea Ann, it IS delish. :-) And thanks for that very kind comment.

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  8. Sometimes I'll just pour a little chilled vermouth in a glass with a twist of lemon rind; therefore, this little cocktail is quite appealing and I love that is low alcohol. That means I can have one before cooking dinner. :) Oh, and I agree with Lea Ann - always love your cocktail photos and these are no exception.

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    1. Hi MJ, dry vermouth makes a wonderful drink! And the flavor in this is a step up -- you'll like. And thanks for _your_ kind comment!

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  9. It sure looks pretty. I have never had Bénédictine. I'm not sure I would like it but I know my brother would. He would be happy to take it if I couldn't finish it :)

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    1. Hi Dahn, always good to share with your brother! I speak, of course, as a brother. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  10. J'aime beaucoup. Vos photos sont magnifiques.

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  11. I bet this cocktail goes down REAL quick. Super refreshing. Hey love those little ice cubes with the bubbles and the way the light is catching the shot. Really nice shot, John!

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    1. Hi Bobbi, we love those little ice cubes too! :-) And yes, this drink does go down smoothly. Thanks for the comment.

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  12. Another lovely cocktail right here. I would love it on my patio!

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    1. HI Amy, this is a perfect patio pleaser. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  13. John, I'm a real lightweight when it comes to alcohol consumption, so this would be perfect for me. Your photos really wowed me!

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    1. Hi Jean, this would be perfect for you -- it's definitely got some booze in it, but not too much. Thanks for that kind comment!

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  14. I feel like I need to have this cocktail waiting for Landon when he gets home on Sunday - because the house will be in TIP TOP shape when he arrives ;) #hedoesnthavetodoanything lol

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    1. Hi GiGi, certainly your kitchen looked like it was in TIP TOP shape! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. Hi John,
    First of all, I want to thank you for being so supportive, and finding me after all the months that I have been missing...and always leaving nice comments.
    I have never had a cocktail with Bénédictine, and from your description it sounds so good...and the photos are so pretty!
    Have a great week!

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    1. Hi Juliana, glad you're blogging again! You should celebrate with one of these. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. The Tip Top Cocktail is such a lovely color, it looks like summer! I do agree, ice would be a must for me.

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    1. Hi Deb, good color, good flavor -- how can you resist? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  17. We have all the ingredients and I'm ready to feel tip-top! Thanks for the tips! To take me to the top...I better stop now!

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    1. Hi Abbe, so many good puns/jokes for this one! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. Now you've got me curious to try Benedictine. Did a little Googling, too, and it sounds like a truly magical elixir. And I love the fact it's low-alcohol, I like to keep my wits about me when I'm eating... ;-)

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    1. Hi Frank, for a cocktail, this drink contains very little alcohol -- nice in these really hot days! Thanks for the comment.

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  19. Mrs. KR doesn't pull any punches, does she? This is a lovely drink and I appreciate the tip about the "open" vermouth. Guess I need to clean out the cabinet.

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    1. Hi Debra, Mrs KR always says what's on her mind. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  20. Chartreuse has become one of my favorite drinks so I think I would really like Benedictine as well as this cocktail.

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    1. Hi Laura, Chartreuse is good stuff! Wonderful in a cocktail. Bet you'd definitely like this! Thanks for the comment.

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  21. Happy Birthday John,
    What a perfect drink for relaxing , I haven't had any Benedictine in a very long time , I will serve this drink this evening to celebrate Louise , your and my birthday .
    birthday .
    say hello to Mrs. KR's.
    Nee

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    1. Hi Nee, nice to hear from you! Thanks for the birthday greetings, and Happy Birthday to you! :-)

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  22. This is a top notch drink! Cheers to summer!

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    1. Hi Denise, it IS top notch. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  23. Oooh, perfect for sipping all through this hot summer! Now to see if I have any Benedictine!

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    1. Hi Liz, you'll have to buy some if you don't. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  24. That is an absolutely gorgeous picture! I'm a B&B fan from way back; I bet I'd love this tip top.

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  25. That looks so good John! I love your drinks always!

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    1. Hi Simone, this is really an enjoyable drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  26. As I've gotten older, I've really learned to appreciate a cocktail with a good dose of bitterness. It's almost a relief from so many sweet and fruity libations out there.

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    1. Hi Carolyn, we're not fond of sweet drinks either. A little bit is OK, but just a little. Thanks for the comment.

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  27. This is such a beautiful delicate colour, perfect for a warm summer evening.

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    1. Hi Caroline, isn't the color great? So inviting! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  28. I love the color of this cocktail. Sounds refreshing for the hot summer months!

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    1. Hi Dawn, it's an extremely refreshing drink. Good, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. I love benedictine in cocktails! This is a perfect summer beverage!

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    1. HI Katerina, this is such a good combo of flavors. And really nice for summer! Thanks for the comment.

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  30. Your photos of this are top drawer! Wow! What a stunningly gorgeous drink! While summer calls for all the ice - that ice so enhances these photos too - gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!

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    1. Hi Shashi, aw, thanks for that very kind comment! :-)

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  31. Super excited that I can actually enjoy one of these now!

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    1. Hi Ashley, I'll bet you are! Congrats on the new little one. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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