I should point out for the benefit of my readers (all three of you right now) that I'm currently out of work. I was laid off last November along with a third of the company I worked for in a bout of downsizing. So I've had to go with cheap hooch and a slim variety. Lately, I've been dealing almost entirely with bourbon, rye and gin. Which is good, because those three spirits are very very versatile.
Thanks to an awesome article by David Wondrich, rapidly becoming one of my heroes in the world of cocktails, I learned some good base spirits for the frugal lush. So, on his advice, I've been using Evan Williams for bourbon, Gordon's London Dry Gin, and Old Overholt for my rye. All are really quite good for the money, although as Wondrich points out, the Gordon's is a little too weak, both flavor-wise and proof-wise, for anything like a martini. Best to leave it to play off of citrus.
So last night, I was perusing one of my cocktail books, the inimitable "Esquire Drinks" by the aforementioned Wondrich, when I spotted an interesting one called the "Metropole," named after a rather, erm..."colorful" hotel in New York City that went bankrupt in July, 1912. Normally, this one contains an ounce and a half each of brandy and dry vermouth, a dash of orange bitters and 2 dashes of Peychaud's bitters (they're big in New Orleans, as they're a staple in a classic Sazerac).
The problem was, I had only an ounce remaining of my dry vermouth, and no brandy. So I subbed bourbon for the brandy, still used equal measures of each (so an ounce) and bunged in a half ounce of lemon juice.
It turned out to not be too bad. It wasn't very well balanced, but it was definitely drinkable. It was pretty understated and dry (not to mention weak, as there wound up being less than a full shot of hard liquor in there) but the lemon juice and Peychaud's made it almost martini-like in its dryness. It seemed, oddly, almost British in its austerity, but there was a little tickle of spice in the back of the mouth from the bourbon. It wound up being an interesting concoction, though perhaps not one I'd try again without being able to make it a closer to full-strength. All that being said, it still was nowt more than a glorified Whiskey Sour. The addition of the Peychaud's and vermouth kept it from being too sweet, and made it a bit more interesting, was all.
19 hours ago