Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Another Classic Sipper: The Rob Roy Cocktail

Of late, I've been returning to some classic cocktails and making them to their original specifications.  This sounds, and in a way is, unexciting but it serves a couple of purposes.  First, there is a reason why many classic cocktails achieved the notoriety that they did: they are good cocktails.  Second, as I make novel drinks using unconventional ingredient combinations, I think that it is helpful to maintain a grounding in the tastes and ratios of classic cocktails.  It's kind of like making sure you remember your geometry to be an architect.

I think that there are a few basic classic formulas, of which a number of spin-off cocktails, some of which themselves are classic cocktails, are based.  These include the Manhattan, the Martini, the Old-Fashioned, and the Daiquiri.  Last night I tried one that I don't think that I'd had before, the Rob Roy, which is clearly in the Manhattan family, much like the Monte Carlo and the Paddy Cocktail, which I recently described.

2 ounces of Scotch
1 ounce of sweet vermouth
1 dash of orage bitters

Stir ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled whiskey glass, and garnish wiht a maraschino cherry.

Taste (flavor, balance, and clarity): 7
Much more so than the Paddy Cocktail or the Monte Carlo, this cocktail is really about the base whiskey.  In fact, because I think Scotch is a more pronounced spirit than bourbon or rhy, it is more about the base spirit than a Manhattan is as well.  This drink to me presents a bit of a tension, where the flavors don't really play nice the way bourbon and vermouth do.  It has a harsh element (for extra manliness), but nonetheless is quite tastey and makes you feel like an old man in a dive bar.

Versatility:  6.5
This is a strong cocktail and one that folks who don't like straight Scotch might not be too fond of.  I don't think that this works well for most parties or the patio.  It's more of a quiet sipper while reading or chatting with a couple of friends.

Hassle (Cost and Time): 8
This Rob Roy is no trouble at all to make, with only a few ingredients and no juicing or syrups.  The costs is highly variable depending on the Scotch, but for mixing I woud use a blend, so it shouldn't be too bad.

Overall:  7
This Rob Roy is a slightly harsher Manhattan.  If you are a big Scotch fan, it might be better.  I tend to prefer bourbon.  I also tend to go with an orage peal rather than the cherry.  I'm not sure if there are any specific changes that I would make.  The ratios are right and the taste is what it intend to be if that makes sense.  You could add in any number of secondary ingredients in addition to or in place of the vermouth.  These include cynar, elderflower liqueur, or Cointreau.  Such changes would, however, fundamentally change the drink, which is all about the Scotch.

No comments:

Post a Comment