May 7, 2009

Drinks that should suck but don't

Much as bumblebees continue to confound all known laws of aerodynamics by not only bumbling this way and that but by actually becoming airborne in the first place, so too are there drinks that you'd think would taste truly vile, but manage to surprise you. Thus, a good rule of cocktails (and gastronomy in general) is "don't knock it til you've tried it." I offer tonight's drink, the Argentina Cocktail, as an illustration.

Picture, if you will, a 1:1 gin martini, that is, equal measures of gin and dry vermouth (purists should already be cringing). Add a quarter as much each of Cointreau and Benedictine, and a dash each of orange and Angostura bitters. Chill, and serve, garnished with an orange twist. Horrified yet? OK, now taste it.

Not bad, eh? In fact, it'll probably grow on you. It's another one of those drinks that sounds lousy on paper (or on screen) but has the potential to pleasantly surprise you. The dryness of the gin and vermouth sort of tempers the sweetness of the Benedictine, but the different herbal blends in each play quite nicely. The orange bitters and the Cointreau also complement each other, and the Angostura bitters just adds a few more spice notes to it. It's definitely a sweeter drink than some I've featured, but it stays just on this side of cloying. All in all, it's quite the pleasant tipple. Theoretically you shake and strain and serve it up in a cocktail glass, but I like serving some on the rocks, just to be contrary.
Argentina Cocktail

1 1/2 oz gin (the drier, the better)
1 1/2 oz dry vermouth
3/8 oz Cointreau or other good triple sec/white curaçao
3/8 oz Benedictine
dash orange bitters
dash Angostura bitters

Shake all ingredients well with ice, strain into cocktail glass. Or, to be difficult, pour unstrained into a glass of your choosing.
Argentina Cocktail


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