Light on alcohol but full of flavor, this Parisian classic is a refreshing summer apéritif
Sipping a cocktail in the City of Lights – what could be better?
But traveling to France is a challenge right now. So we need to conjure up the spirit of Paris at home.
Starting with this pastel enticer. The Rose Cocktail has herbal tones and fruity highlights, yet its profile is decidedly dry. That makes it perfect for sipping before dinner. Or on the deck during a hot afternoon.
The Rose has a low alcohol quotient, so you can have two without worries. That may come in handy: We have a feeling this is going to be a long summer.
Recipe: The Rose Cocktail
We’ve discussed two other cocktails with “rose” in their name: The Jack Rose and the Irish Rose. Both contain base spirits (applejack and Irish whiskey, respectively) that are much higher octane than this drink.
The Rose Cocktail uses dry vermouth as its base – which is unusual for a cocktail. Relying on vermouth is what makes this drink less alcoholic than many other cocktails.
This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare and serves 1.
- 2 ounces dry (white) vermouth
- 1 ounce kirschwasser (dry cherry brandy; see Notes)
- 1 teaspoon raspberry syrup (may substitute Chambord; see Notes)
- maraschino cherry for garnish (preferably a brandied one; see Notes)
- Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a mixing glass half filled with ice. Stir briskly until the contents are chilled (about 30 seconds).
- Strain into a cocktail glass, preferably one that has been chilled. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and serve.
- Why stir this drink rather than shake? Because all the ingredients are clear. Shaking introduces oxygen bubbles, which can cloud the drink. But shake away if you like – we often do. The cloudiness dissipates quickly.
- A maraschino cherry is the traditional garnish for this drink, but you can skip it if you wish. For our pictures, we’ve used the bright, neon-hued cherries that supermarkets sell because we like the way their stems look. But you might want to try brandied maraschinos, which have much better flavor (though usually no stems). You can find them online or in any liquor store.
- Dry vermouth is a fortified wine with herbal flavors. Because it has a fairly low alcohol content, it will oxidize after it’s opened. To better preserve its flavor, we store it in the refrigerator.
- Kirschwasser (aka kirsch) is dry cherry brandy (so it’s a form of eau de vie). The name means “cherry water” in German. The best quality kirsch is usually imported (we favor German ones). It also tends to be pricey – $30 or more for a bottle of the good stuff. If you don’t have a favorite brand, ask your friendly liquor store for a recommendation.
- You can buy commercial raspberry syrup, but it’s easy to make your own. For a recipe, scroll down to the Notes on our post for the Clover Club Cocktail.
- Don’t want to use raspberry syrup? You can substitute Chambord, a raspberry liqueur that has a similar (but more complex) flavor.
- The Rose Cocktail dates back to about 1920, when it was invented by Johnny Mitta, who tended bar at the Hôtel Chatham in Paris. According to David Embury (in his book The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks), the Chambord variation of the cocktail may have been devised by someone named Albert, who mixed it up at the Chatham bar later in the 1920s.
- Ernest Hemingway lived in Paris during the 1920s – and he was very fond of kirschwasser (see our post on the A Farewell to Hemingway Cocktail for more about that). So did he ever drink the Rose Cocktail? Who knows? But Hemingway tended to drink every cocktail available, so probably.
- Today we launch our annual Summer Sippin’ and Snarfin’ Series. Throughout most of the year, we post only one cocktail recipe a month. But during the summer, we serve up drinks every other week (or even more frequently) because it’s hot and, well, we get thirsty. All the food recipes we feature during this time are summer appropriate, too. So look forward to plenty of good warm-weather drinks and eats.
“Mmm, nice,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “And no thorns either.”
“Yup,” I said. “Everything’s coming up roses after one of these.”
“Indeed,” said Mrs K R. “Je vois la vie en rose.”
“Sounds like a budding romance,” I said.
“Roses are pink, violets are blue,” said Mrs K R. “I need another of these, and I’m looking at you.”
Blooming right up.
You may also enjoy reading about:
Clover Club Cocktail
A Farewell to Hemingway Cocktail
East India Cocktail
Straits Sling Cocktail
Bee's Knees Cocktail
Or check out the index for more