DIY Metropole: Crafting the Cocktail at Home
If there's a drink called Cosmopolitan, shouldn't there be one called 'Metropolitan'? Excuse the prosaic association and be assured, the rest of the article is based on fascinating insights from mixology experts.
There indeed was a Metropolitan cocktail, through which came the classic Metropole drink. As per David Wondrich, Metropole is dark, handsome, suave, and a little dry. This drink was the signature cocktail of a relatively shady hotel called Hotel Metropole, which was located just off Times Square at Broadway and 42nd Street during the late 18th century and early 19th century. It was known to have the only all-night street cafe, the Metropole Café in the area. The cocktail first appeared in George J Kappeler's 1895 Modern American Drinks. It is a subtle adaptation of the 1884 Metropolitan Cocktail.
As per Kappeler's description, the original cocktail was made using equal parts brandy and vermouth. But it didn't make for a very good drink, as the equal proportions of brandy and vermouth led neither ingredient to shine. Below is Metropole's recipe as published in Modern American Drinks.
'Two dashes gum-syrup, two dashes Peychaud's bitters, one dash orange bitters, half a jigger brandy, half a jigger French vermouth, a mixing-glass half-full fine ice. Mix, strain into cocktail-glass, add maraschino cherry.'
Metropole, like most cocktails underwent an evolution and its recipe makes for a delicious cocktail giving it a balanced and unified flavour profile. The drink blends the oak and pear notes of cognac with the fruity-herbal notes of dry vermouth and adds two kinds of bitters to bring out the flavours.
Check out its recipe below.
60 ml Cognac
30 ml Dry vermouth
1 dash Orange bitters
2 dashes Gentian-based bitters
Orange zest (optional)
Cherry, for garnish
Orange twist, for garnish (optional)
Take a saucer glass and keep it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. Take a mixing glass and add cognac, vermouth, and bitters with cracked ice. Express oil from orange zest (optional). Stir well to combine and then strain into the chilled saucer glass. Garnish with a cherry.
If you have a sweet tooth, you can add ingredients or adjust the ingredients. You can use a little more cognac and reduce the vermouth. You can also add the syrup from the jar of cherries which is being used for garnish.
Also, a general tip for bartending enthusiasts — don't preserve the cherries in the fridge. The syrup will crystallise when the jar is refrigerated. It is ideal to store it in a cool dry place like a pantry. The quality of the syrup remains intact till you use the last cherry left in the jar.
When buying vermouth, especially if you make cocktails where this liquor plays a larger role, it is preferable to invest in a good quality one. Good quality vermouths aren't super-expensive and will make delectable cocktails.
While it's great to learn about alcohol, it is important to also consume alcohol moderately. Remember to serve and drink responsibly to ensure you and your guests are healthy and out of harm's way. If you know anyone who has trouble controlling their alcohol intake, please refer them to a professional immediately.