17th January, 2013 by Curtis McMillan
This is my first pre-prohibition Scotch cocktail, and I want to find the right way to receive them.
I suppose when I cover each cocktail I want to involve three main issues. I believe we should cover the arduous journey of sourcing ingredients, breaking apart the ancient recipes, and the taste of each cocktail. Like I have stated before in previous articles, I’m strongly against descriptions of taste due primarily to individual opinion, but I feel it’s important to impart some reference of my experience. I will try my best to not let my personal preference override description of flavour in the cocktail.
This cocktail didn’t give me very many hang-ups, although I was a little freaked out by Dubonnet. Not being very familiar with aperitifs I started by calling a very good friend of mine, Corey Bunnewith, who heard my concerns and stated it was a very common aperitif. I was able to find both white and red sold at our local retailer. I was also able to find out that Rouge was the original of the two recipes.
You should buy the Rouge if you plan on making this cocktail.
I feel it’s only right to first give you the original recipe and then showcase what I did. You may have some knowledge you can impart on me. Any help decoding pre-prohibition recipes will be appreciated. If you have any helpful hints contact me on Twitter.
The Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars list the Administrator as 2/3 scotch, two dashes French vermouth, two dashes Dubonnet and one dash Angostura bitters, and stir.
I can’t seem to understand how “stir” tells me how much ice is needed – or indeed any ice at all – and 2/3 scotch is not a volume. Don’t even get me started on dashes. This volume does not mean much to me, and I refuse to let this stop me. I have decided to build all drinks in a cocktail glass (around 3oz) so my maths says 2/3 of 3oz is 2oz. So with 1 oz being left over for Dubonnet and Dolin they both get a 1/2 oz, this sounds good to me.
2oz Balvenie 15yo
1/2 oz Dubonnet
1/2 oz Dolin French vermouth
1 dash Angostura bitters
Add all ingredients to an iced mixing glass and stir with the bar spoon. Use your julep strainer and strain into your chilled cocktail glass.
The original recipe did call for garnishment of one green olive, but I HATE olives so that’s out. You can add one if you want.
The first smell is that of scotch. The Dubonnet and vermouth did not add very much to the floral qualities. Once in your mouth you get a softer scotch with a dry citrus quality. I can see why this recipe would have been used, and feel this is copying the effects of what finishing single malt Scotch in new woods does today. I also feel this has a lot of similar qualities with the Balvenie 21yo Port wood. So my guess is this is the grandfather to finished single malts. I was not incredibly overwhelmed by this drink and would not recommend that you worry yourself too much about making this, unless you like your scotch dry with a hint of citrus.