Bridal Cocktail

By Robert Hess

Robert Hess discovered the Bridal Cocktail in the pages of the Old Waldorf Astoria Bar Book. If you are familiar with the original Martini, made with sweet rather than dry vermouth, this cocktail is quite similar. The addition of Maraschino liqueur adds a hint of cherry that rounds out a delicious cocktail.

Recipe

Ingredients

2 oz gin

1 oz sweet vermouth

dash Bitter Truth Orange Bitters

dash Maraschino Liqueur

Instructions

  • stir with ice
  • strain into a cocktail glass
  • garnish with an orange twist
  • Comments
    Ian Picco 20 Sep 2011
    3:44 pm

    Since your martini video, I drink nothing but an “original” martini. I find it much more agreeable with my palate. I will be making this variation as soon as I’m finished typing this! It’s good to see regular episodes back in full swing!

    Rhett 20 Sep 2011
    9:27 pm

    Robert, this is very similar to the Martinez… is this what you mean by “original” martini?

    George R. Welch 21 Sep 2011
    4:46 am

    Honestly, I don’t see how this is not a Martinez cocktail.  Sure, the proportions are slightly different, and it’s orange bitters instead of aromatic.  But this is certainly in the spirit of slight variations that Robert has taught us so well.  I guess that using only a dash of Maraschino instead of a spoonful makes a bit of difference, but isn’t this still just a “variation”?

    Robert, why is this not a Martinez?

    PS:  Here is another vote for the original martini!  2 oz Beefeater24, 1 oz Carpano Antica, and several dashes of Regan’s orange bitters.  That’ll turn a Friday afternoon into the weekend. :-)

    Robert Hess 21 Sep 2011
    5:42 am

    In looking through the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book, it is a little suprising at how similar some of the recipes are. The same can be said of many of the drinks from the era. Gin, Vermouth, Bitters are repeated over and over again. Often with very, very, little difference from one to the other.

    For me, the thing that makes the Bridal different from a Martinez, is that the Martinez should have sweet vermouth as the primary ingredient, and the Bridal switches it to gin. I suppose you could call the Bridal an upsidedown Martinez?

    -Robert

    George R. Welch 21 Sep 2011
    7:02 am

    Robert,

    You have a good point.  I trust your knowledge of the old recipes, but these days you sometimes see the Martinez made with more gin than vermouth.  I’ve even been served a Martinez made with Old Tom instead of dry gin.

    —George

    Rhett 21 Sep 2011
    8:36 pm

    The Absinthe Bar in San Francisco actually makes a “Martinez ” with 2:1 gin to Dolin dry vermouth, with orange bitters, a dash of maraschino, then both a lemon twist and an olive. This is arguably not really a Martinez, but needless to say there are a lot of variations. I feel like I’ve never seen just one recipe for it.
    Either way, I do enjoy a vermouth heavy Martinez, but I enjoy the Bridal better being a big fan of the gin flavour. Thanks Robert!

    Rhett 21 Sep 2011
    8:39 pm

    I also find it interesting that I’ve heard the early incarnation of the Martini included orange bitters, yet the Astoria cocktail from the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book is a 2:1 Martini with orange bitters… confusing!

    Robert Hess 22 Sep 2011
    6:04 am

    These days, I think we sometimes focus too hard on what the exact and specific recipe is for a particular cocktail (but I can argue the opposite point as well! :->). When cocktails first came about, people would ask for simply a “gin cocktail”, there was no other name, and the bartender would apply the “pattern” of a cocktail (spirit, sugar, water, bitters) and produce something for the customer. Sort of like somebody asking for a grilled cheese sandwhich. What type of cheese, how much, what type of bread, how is it sliced, is it grilled with butter or oil. Is it pressed to flatten or left unmolested. etc.

    So lots of bars in the day had “their” way to make particular drink. The named recipes, when they first came about, would still be generalized templates, providing details on the core ingredients and their general ratios, but bartenders, used to adding litle touches and such, would add a dash of curaco here, or a few drops of absinthe there, and not think anything of it. There also weren’t mass-market published tomes of “authentic” recipes which were being widely distributed. The bar down the street comes up with a cocktail and calls it the “Martine” (or was that Martinez? Martini? Something like that) and a customer comes in and asks for it, and the bartender does his best to come close. So you see how it goes.

    “Oh, ho ho! You sly dog! You got me monologuing! I can’t believe it…”

    Back to the point… Take another look at the Waldof-Astoria, and look up its recipe for the Martini. You’ll note it is obviously different from the recipe they publish for the Astoria. So at the Waldof-Astoria, they are two noticeably different drinks. Even though perhaps the core concept, if not the pattern, is fairly similar between them. For those of you who don’t have the Waldof-Astoria, here are the recipes:

    Astoria
    Two Dashes Orange Bitters
    One-Third Tom Gin
    Two-Thirds French Vermouth (Stir)
    “After the big annex to the old Waldorf, which at its opening in 1897, became the main part of the establishment.”

    Martini
    Dash of Orange Bitters
    One-half Tom Gin
    One-half Italian Vermouth (Stir)
    Serve with a green Olive
    Twist piece of Lemon Peel on top

    -Robert

    Ginty 22 Sep 2011
    10:21 am

    Is my palette CRAZY, or does this drink taste good with a full 1/4 ounce of maraschino? I tried it that way and the maraschino is still pretty tame. Or, am I coo-coo?

    George R. Welch 11 Oct 2011
    3:54 pm

    Ginty—you are not CRAZY.  This drink can showcase the maraschino pretty well.  I go with 1/8 oz, not 1/4, but I can see using a full quarter.

    Here’s what I’ve been doing lately:  I guess you would call it a “perfect bridal” cocktail.  I use 2 oz Beefeater-24, 1/2 oz Cocchi Americano, 1/2 oz Carpano Antica, and 1/8 oz Luxardo maraschino.  Add a couple of really strong dashes of Regan’s orange bitters, and: Oh My Gawd.

    Robert:  If you haven’t tried a “perfect” bridal yet, give it a try!

    —George

    8stringfan 1 May 2012
    4:37 pm

    Ginty, I also agree you’re not crazy.  I actually made this first from the recipe in Mr. Hess’s book, The Essential Bartender’s Guide, in which he himself calls for 1/4 oz.  I find it much better that way.  The cocktail has far more depth and a nice subtle sophistication.  I found the recipe in this video to taste like mildly altered gin, however, your tastes may vary.  The version in the Essential Bartender’s Guide also calls for a maraschino cherry for garnish, which I prefer as well.

    Robert Hess 1 May 2012
    5:41 pm

    The recipe, as I used in this episode, is straight out of “The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book”, which is where I first encountered it. But I obviously agree that beefing up the marachino isn’t a bad way to go. :->

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