Renaissance Cocktail

By Robert Hess

As we all know, bitters are a crucial ingredient for many cocktails. A few old recipes referred to peach bitters, but no product survived to modern days. Fee Brothers then produced their version, and I took it on myself to see if I could come up with a few cocktails that might be able to make good use of it. The Renaissance is one of them that I came up with. I think that it is a delightfully approachable drink that is just slightly on the sweet side.

Recipe

Ingredients

2 oz Brandy

1 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth

1/2 oz Limoncello

dash Fee Bros. Peach Bitters

Instructions

Stir with ice.

Strain into a cocktail glass.

Comments
Small Screen Colin 21 Aug 2008
6:17 am

Hello All,

There is a mistake in the recipe at the end of the video. I put and extra ounce of Limoncello in. It should read 1/2 oz Limoncello. Sorry for the mistake!

Colin

Kevin Rogers 21 Aug 2008
6:34 am

Seems like a slightly sweeter variant of the Harvard Cocktail.  Can’t wait to test the recipe!

Garretto 21 Aug 2008
10:58 am

Mr. Hess, that looks like a great drink and the timing is perfect as I just got my Fees Peach Bitters in the mail yesterday from kegworks. Question, the limoncello you’re using, how would you rate it as far as strength; is there an alcohol bite to it?
I have made limoncello with both Everclear, and Vodka. I found the vodka version weak and bland. The Everclear version was very strong on first sip, but, like maybe a grappa, one get’s used to it and the strength and burn are quite good.
I’m looking to buy a bottle, but don’t want to end up with something too light. In Italy, many of the little cafes make their own limoncello and it too had a nice bite.
Great name for the drink too, given the Italian ingredients. Florence comes to mind whenever I drink ‘cello.
Thanks.

Robert Hess 21 Aug 2008
2:11 pm

I use a commercial Lemoncello for this, which I sort of find has a similar “bite” as Cointreau. It shouldn’t be spirit forward, but it shouldn’t be weak either.

Anybody here in Seattle can get this drink at Licorous up on Capitol Hill, where I believe they still list it on their specialty menu. They have a nice menu setup where they do a pairing of a small version of their appetizers with their various cocktails. This works really well to help people see how food and cocktails can pair together well.

-Robert

Nick 22 Aug 2008
7:07 am

Dear Robert ,I am a begginer kind of home bar tender.
I must say, I learned a lot from The Cocktail Spirit,
just because it’s such a wonderful show! I really appreciate what you do.  This cocktail looks intresting, I didn’t really try making a lot of cocktails,just trying to get as much information as possible. 

Nick

Phil Ballentine 3 Sep 2008
10:29 pm

I have watched a number of your interesting videos and am trying to find smaller cocktail glasses (hopefully, with rounded rather than straight, martini like) sides. I am not having much luck. Any thoughts?
Phil

Robert Hess 4 Sep 2008
5:19 am

Phil,

It is unfortunately extremely difficult to find new small/elegant cocktail glassware. Seems like the momentum is both towards larger glasses, as well as the oh-so-common straight sided “V” shape. Riedel does make a lovely 4 5/8 oz cocktail glass, but with straight sides (in the “Vinum” line), They also make one with a beautiful rounded profile, but unfortunately it is 9 1/4 oz (in the “Grape” line). And one with a slight rounding to the top edge, and at 8 3/4 oz (in the “Vinum Extreme” line).

I expect that their beautiful, but oversized “Grape” glass is intended to be filled only half-way or some such in order to draw the aromas better, but I would still love to see them come out with a 5 or 6 oz version of this.

My best suggestion is to simply visit antique stores and pick up various glassware you will hopefully find there. I find very good bargins, as well as very lovely glassware available.

-Robert

Phil Ballentine 5 Sep 2008
1:56 pm

Robert:
I am really impressed with the quick responses you provide. You are really a responsive culinary cocktail maven.
  I found some 7 oz. cocktail glasses (with straight sides) at Crate and Barrel. Guess they will have to do.
  I have to make on other comment. Your recipes use quite a few exotic (read hard to find) ingredients. The non-alcoholic ones are often to be found on the internet. But the alcoholic ones, even ones that may be easily found in some areas are HARD to find here in Scottsdale (maraschino cherry liquor is one example). And I am in the 5th largest metro area in the country.  I am guessing that you collect some of these items via travel?
Thanks again for a great site.
Phil B.

Phil Ballentine 5 Sep 2008
2:15 pm

As a follow up, this portion of the Aviation recipe caused me to ...shrug: 1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liquer
1/4 oz violette liquer
I have been to two local spirit megastores, Bevmo and Total Wine and Spirits. No luck. Any advice?

Colin Kimball - Small Screen Network 5 Sep 2008
2:40 pm

Phil,

You can find Luxado Maraschino Liquer through Bevmo Online here: http://www.bevmo.com/Shop/ProductDetail.aspx?D=Marschino&Ntx=mode+matchall&Dx=mode+matchall&Ntk=All&Nty=1&Ntt=Marschino&N=0&ProductID=5072

As Robert can attest to, Violette is more difficult to find. I believe Monin makes this product? Robert?

Thanks for watching!

Colin

Robert Hess 5 Sep 2008
3:16 pm

Phil,

Yes, I do have a bit of a facination with using more obscure ingredients. Sometimes this takes the form of truely hard to find ingredients, but I also try to pay attention to “neglected” ingredients that bars might have just gathering dust on their shelves and try to highlight recipes which use those.

Maraschino liqueur “used” to be one of those products which was found in many of the pre-prohibition cocktails, but which was an ingredient that was very hard to find. This situation has been getting a lot better recently, with decent availability in better stocked liquor stores, as well as availability through online wine/liquor stores.

Creme de Violette, while not as common of an ingredient as Maraschino was in those older recipes, it was intriqueing enough to cause many of us to work hard at hunting it down. The bottle I have is one I had to pick up in London, since nothing was easily available stateside at that time.

Fortunately, this too is changing. Here is one that we should be seeing soon:
http://www.alpenz.com/images/poftfolio/violettefacts.htm

While still hard to find in liquor stores, you can find it in a few online stores. Try searching on “Rothman & Winter Violette” and you’ll see it available at DrinkUpNY.com, WallyWine.com, and a few others.

Of course another issue is that products which might be readily available in some markets might be unheard of in others. Here in Washington State, they just “delisted” Benedictine, so while I’ll still be able to get B&B (much good that does me), I can no longer buy Benedictine.

Hope that helps!

-Robert

Diann Thoma 9 Sep 2008
5:36 am

Robert, what the heck is “delisting” something??  Is that a problem with government-owned liquor stores like you guys have out there (as I recall)?  Bizarre. Not to brag (too much), but in this regard, I am happy to be from the alcohol (including wine) savvy state of Illinois. Now to get rid of the distributor system….

Robert Hess 9 Sep 2008
5:49 am

Diann…
Delisting, yeah, it’s a problem with our state run liquor system here in Washington. Somebody decided that Benedictine should be taken off of the regular purchasing list, which means it can only rarely be found in the stores now. A bar can still “special order” it, but that also means they have to buy an entire case.

There are pros and cons to our liquor system, you’ve just seen one of the cons :->

Perry Willis 9 Sep 2008
8:04 am

Phil,
I too could not find creme de violette in any store. I took the link Robert posted, shortened it to the root of the site, then found the distribution page. I am in Minnesota, so I clicked and called the distributor. He sold some to a liquor store near me, and the store called me at his request.
Working through distributors or liquor stores (esp. if you know who distributes) has helped me find many difficult to locate products. We are not eligible to recieve liquor shipments from bevmo, etc.
Anyway, here’s the link. I like this creme de violette. It has a slight off note on the nose, but tastes delicious.
http://www.alpenz.com/distribution.htm Click on Arizona and you might have some luck.

Ian 30 Sep 2008
11:09 pm

Phil,

I found Luxardo maraschino at the Chandler BevMo. If they don’t have it for some reason, I would try Tops Liquor near ASU - I’ve seen it in there too.

For Creme de Violette, I resorted to mail-order from Hi Time Wines (www.hitimewine.net) in California. They were willing to ship to AZ. The cost was just over $20 for a $150 order (I got some other oddball stuff like Pimento Dram at the same time).

Good luck!

Ian

Ruben 26 Feb 2009
1:59 pm

Greetings from Germany Robert,

I must say that I adore your videos and that I have already been inspired to mix the Rosita since I am a big fan of the Campari.
However, having seen a few more videos I am concerned about you always using Martini Rosso as your sweet vermouth. In my opinion, its sweetness is kind of a… smack-you-in-the-face-sweetness, if you know what I mean.
Have you tried Carpano Antica Formula? It enhanced my Negroni by such a degree, I will never buy a different sweet vermouth again :D
Its sweetness is subtle and yet it is of the same “amount” as the sweetness Martini & Rossi products is.
Blabla.

Sorry for wasting your time with my wall of text.

Ruben

Robert Hess 26 Feb 2009
2:58 pm

Ruben, Yes, I’m familiar with Carpano Antica, it is a great product! There are a couple of reasons why you don’t see me using this on the show… first is that it isn’t available here in Washington State! :-<... It’s either a mail-order product for us, or a trip down to Oregon. Another is that it runs around $35 or so a bottle, which is many times the cost of Martini & Rossi. Put those two things together and it doesn’t quite seem fair for me to tout CAF too much.

Of “readily available” sweet vermouths, I personally find Martini & Rossi to be the one I usually reach for. For dry vermouths, it’s Noilly Prat. I’m looking forward to checking out NPs “new” formula as soon as it comes to WA.

But overall, yes. If you have access to Carpano’s “Antica Formula”, I highly recommend using it for virtually all of your sweet vermouth needs.

-Robert

Bill 14 Mar 2010
10:22 pm

I’m late getting here, but this discussion of the liquor situation in Washington state gives me a rare but welcome opportunity to be thankful to be living in California, where pretty much all liquors and liqueurs are legally available and easy to find (including Luxardo and Benedictine). Even so, I’ll have to go to San Francisco if I want to pick up a bottle of creme de violette!

I acquired a bottle of peach bitters today, along with a few other things I wanted and a lot of Schnapps-type booze that I will be embarrassed to have seen in the bar (I was helping out a friend who is shrinking the size of his home bar by getting rid of the stuff he doesn’t use—this is the sort of favor I wish I could give more often!). Anyhow, I immediately wanted to know what I could use it in. I tried making one of Joe Gilmore’s “Nixon” cocktails, and it missed the mark by a wide distance. Sloe gin is just not for me. I’m not sure it’s for anyone. Anyway this drink looks good, but will require me to get some Lemoncello. I’m guessing Lemoncello is a lemon liqueur invented by Thomas Jefferson?

Robert Hess 15 Mar 2010
5:24 am

Bill, Peach Bitters is an ingredient that was listed in only a handful of cocktails which you can find in various old recipe books (http://cocktaildb.com/ingr_detail?id=38). For fun, I’ve created a couple cocktails, the “Renaissance” being one of them. The other is the “Trident”, which I guess I haven’t featured on a show yet? You can find the recipe here: http://www.drinkboy.com/Cocktails/Recipe.aspx?itemid=162

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