Saturday, September 6, 2008
My favorite cocktails, part 2
The Vieux Carré cocktail is one of those rare old drinks with a guaranteed provenance: it was invented in the 1930s by 'Walter Bergeron, the head bartender at the Monteleone Hotel in New Orleans, and is named after the French term for what we call "The French Quarter" ... le Vieux Carré ("Old Square")' -- according to the Gumbopages and everyone else.
Like The Last Word, it has a critical component originally developed by a religious order--Benedictine liqueur--but in the Vieux Carré, the liqueur is a tiny addition. It is very much a New Orleans cocktail, combining the French (cognac & Benedictine) with the American (rye whiskey), and the New Orleans specialty: Peychaud's bitters. Unlike a lot of cocktails whose provenance is not so certain, the recipe has been essentially identical no matter where I've found it. The only question that arises is whether to stir or to shake the drink. Ordinarily, I would err on the side of stirring, but shaking the drink does create a nice little foamy cap (the picture above is of a stirred drink).
In either case, the drink is disturbingly easy to lap up, just delicious.
1 oz. cognac (Courvoisier VSOP)
1 oz. rye whiskey (Rittenhouse BIB)
1 oz. sweet vermouth (Antica Formula)
1/2 tsp. Benedictine
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
Shake it or stir it with ice and pour over ice cubes in an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with twist of lemon.