Perfect for Valentine sipping
Hearts and flowers? Sure! But don’t forget: Your special sweetheart gets thirsty too.
So stir up amour with the Cabaret Cocktail. This smooth charmer combines gin and dry vermouth with Bénédictine liqueur and a dash of bitters. That gives it a hint of sweetness, but not too much.
Because your Valentine is sweet enough already, no?
Recipe: The Cabaret Cocktail
We discovered the Cabaret Cocktail while reading drinks expert Robert Hess, who gives some background on it.
As is the case with many cocktails, the origins of the Cabaret are murky. There’s a drink of the same name that hails from the 1920s or 30s (you can find a recipe for it in The Savoy Cocktail Book). But that drink is different from Hess’s (among other things, it calls for caperitif, a South African vermouth-like fortified wine that’s not easy to find in the US). Hess traces his version of the Cabaret Cocktail back to the 1970s, and notes that it may be an older drink. But no one knows who first mixed it.
This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and serves one.
- 1 ounce dry gin
- ¾ ounce dry (white) vermouth (aka French vermouth)
- ¼ ounce Bénédictine
- 2 dashes angostura bitters
- maraschino cherry as garnish (optional, but pretty; see Notes)
- Add all ingredients (except garnish) to a mixing glass half filled with ice. Stir briskly until the contents are well chilled (30 seconds or so).
- Strain into a cocktail glass, preferably one that has been chilled. Add garnish, if desired, and serve.
- Which gin and dry vermouth should you use in this drink? Any good name brand would work. Or ask the friendly folks at your local liquor store for suggestions.
- Bénédictine is an aromatic herbal liqueur that’s a bit on the sweet side. Because of its name, you might think it’s produced by Benedictine monks. In fact, it was invented in 1863 by Alexandre Le Grand, a French industrialist and wine merchant. Le Grand wasn’t one to miss a good marketing opportunity, though, so he falsely claimed that monks at a Benedictine Abbey in Normandy had developed the beverage.
- Angostura bitters give this drink much of its color. They also blend well with vermouth, forming a nice flavor combo. Don’t skip them.
- For the garnish, you can use supermarket maraschino cherries (preferably ones with a stem). Better yet, use the Luxardo brand of maraschino cherries if you can find them. Their color is a darker and less garish red than the supermarket kind. Plus they have a much drier, more cherry-like flavor.
- We’re fresh out of Luxardo cherries, so we used supermarket maraschino cherries for the pictures in this post.
Start Celebrating, Right this Way
“Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Happy to see such a good drink.”
“Mais oui,” I said. “Come to the Cabaret, mouth.”
“I left my troubles outside,” said Mrs K R. “No problems here! Except my glass is empty.”
“Let me fix you another, old chum,” I said. “Life is a Cabaret Cocktail.”
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Between the Sheets Cocktail
Hanky Panky Cocktail
Pink Lady Cocktail
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