Ah, spring! Balmy days, chilly nights. And the welcome appearance of flowers.
Like tulips. So the Tulip Cocktail would make a terrific springtime tipple, no?
It’s a wonderful mixture of French calvados (or American applejack), sweet vermouth, apricot liqueur, and lemon juice.
The Tulip Cocktail is a bit on the sweet side, but far from cloying – which makes it a delightful predinner drink. Floral, you might say.
Recipe: The Tulip Cocktail
The origins of the Tulip Cocktail are unclear – as is the case with many drinks. A recipe for it appeared in The Savoy Cocktail Book, published in 1930. But we can’t trace its history back any further than that. (The Savoy in question, BTW, was – and is – one of London’s best-known luxury hotels.)
Whatever the back story on this drink, we think you’ll be charmed by its interesting, somewhat complex flavor.
This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare and serves 1.
- 1 ounce calvados (or applejack; see Notes)
- 1 ounce sweet (Italian) vermouth
- ½ ounce apricot liqueur (see Notes)
- ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- lemon twist for garnish (very optional)
- Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Shake vigorously until the contents are well chilled (20 seconds or so).
- Strain into a cocktail glass, preferably one that has been chilled. Garnish with a lemon twist, if you wish, and serve.
- We’ve seen recipes that add a dash or two of orange or peach bitters to this drink. We haven’t tried that, but you might like to.
- Calvados is French apple brandy, produced in Normandy. It’s most often consumed by itself as an after-dinner drink, but it’s also terrific as an ingredient in cocktails.
- Applejack is American apple brandy. Its flavor is very similar to calvados, though sometimes a bit less smooth. We think it’s a good substitute for calvados in cocktails. Laird’s is the brand you’re likely to see in the U.S., and we recommend it.
- Apricot liqueur is, as you might deduce, made with apricots. Marie Brizard’s Apry and Rothman & Winter’s Orchard Apricot are the brands we prefer. Hiram Walker also offers a version, which is cheaper (a good thing) but way too sweet (a bad thing).
- BTW, many cocktail recipes call for apricot brandy when they really mean apricot liqueur. True apricot brandy isn’t all that common or easy to find. It’s distilled directly from apricots, while most apricot liqueurs have a neutral spirit as their base (and are flavored with apricots). Adding to the confusion, sometimes even bottles that are labeled “apricot brandy” are actually apricot liqueur. If in doubt, ask the friendly folks at your local liquor store for guidance.
- Our usual disclaimer: We’re noncommercial and are not compensated for mentioning brands. We recommend only what we like and buy with our own money.
“Love the aroma of this drink,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Outstanding bouquet.”
“This cocktail is no shrinking violet,” I said. “You might say its flavor rose to the occasion.”
“Putting the petal to the metal with those floral terms, eh?” said Mrs K R.
“Hey, I’m a flower child,” I said. “And this drink is turning me into a tiger lily!”
“I need to nip these jokes in the bud before you become a thorn in my side,” said Mrs K R.
My tulips are sealed.
You may also enjoy reading about: