Washington Cocktail

The Washington Cocktail can be found in the Savoy Cocktail Book. Of the “new” style of cocktails created during the late 1800’s, the Washington is typical of that era in that it contains vermouth like the manhattan and the martini but uses cognac as its spirit.

1 1/2 oz dry vermouth

3/4 oz cognac

dash Bitter Truth Old Time Aromatic Bitters

dash simple syrup


Stir with ice.

Strain into a cocktail glass.


Dinah (MetaGrrrl/Bibulous) 20 Jan 2012
1:31 pm

A very enjoyable cocktail. Beautifully balanced. We stumbled on it serendipitously while using for a party invite an old travel poster with the USS Manhattan and USS Washington featured on it and thus asking ourselves “Huh, we know the Manhattan, but is there a Washington cocktail?”

This holds up extremely well as a bottled cocktail. You’ll be a big hit bringing a bottle of this to a gathering of friends.

Jeff Taylor 20 Jan 2012
6:00 pm

Looks great, Robert.  Could you speak more about the difference between before and after dinner drinks (apertif & digestif)?  You appear to classify this as an apertif.


TheBalch 23 Jan 2012
3:07 am

This drink looks lovely, but I have sort of an odd question. When you cut a twist off of a lemon, orange, etc., or you only need one or two wedges of a fruit for garnishing—what do you do with the rest of the fruit? Sometimes if I’m making a drink for myself and, say, one friend, I find that I have sizable chunks of unused citrus lying about. I don’t want to just toss all that fruit, but I certainly don’t want to have to make 3 or more drinks just to avoid wasting a lemon or lime. Mr. Hess, would you recommend juicing the remaining fruit and storing it for later use? If I use the leftovers to prepare more garnishes for another occasion, how long should I wait to use them? I know this seems a little trivial, but it’s hard to balance my desire to use the freshest ingredients possible with a certain practicality.

TheBalch 23 Jan 2012
3:22 am

I’m not an expert, but if I understand Jeffero’s question, I think I might be able to help.

I know that in Italy, the distinction between an apertif (or aperitivo) and a digestif (digestivo) is a matter of tradition. Both kinds of drinks are alcoholic. An apertif is an alcoholic beverage customarily taken before a meal to whet the appetite, while a digestif is an alcoholic beverage taken afterwards to aid digestion. Campari is a popular apertif in Italy. The classification can be confusing, because it’s basically arbitrary: Campari is traditionally served before eating, and therefore it is an apertif. If it were traditionally served after eating, it would be a digestif. I think it has more to do with cultural practices and association than with any actual effects on the digestive system.

That probably wasn’t very clear, but I hope it’s of some use.

Robert Hess 23 Jan 2012
8:25 am

Jeffero, TheBalch basically covered this, but in general an apertif will be softer and less of an alcohol bite, while a digestif will be heavier in flavor, and sometimes higher in alcohol content. Conceptually an apertif shouldn’t be so flavor-rich as to deaden the palate. So overly sweet, sour, or complex drinks should be avoided.

Robert Hess 23 Jan 2012
8:29 am

TheBalch, you face a somewhat common problem for the home-mixologist. The “best” way to do this is to unfortunately waste the fruit, since it is always best to use the freshest possible fruit. However, if you have a lemon you are using for twists, and only need one or two a night, then you can wrap the remaining fruit in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. After a couple of days, the twists won’t be as good as “fresh”, but at least you won’t feel you’re wasting anything.

blair frodelius 23 Jan 2012
8:43 am


This reminds me a lot of the Tip Top cocktail.  One of my favorite lighter style drinks. 



Ginty 21 Mar 2012
3:14 pm

@TheBalch: Besides what Robert said, when I buy fresh fruit I’ll make something that needs twists (Manhattens, Metropoles, etc.) FIRST, and then save the fruit to make sours (or other drinks that need juice) the NEXT night. I’ve never noticed a lack of quality using a lemon that’s wrapped or sat in Tupperware for a day or two in the fridge. The problem for me is buying oranges. A know a lot of drinks that call for orange twists, but not a lot that call for orange juice.

Adam G 22 Jun 2012
1:26 am

I think the easiest thing to do with an orange after you’ve used some of the peel, if you don’t want to make a drink that calls for orange juice, is to just eat the orange.

Likewise, I find that with lemons, if I’ve got one that I’ve cut some twists off of, if I don’t want to be boxed in to making a cocktail that uses it, then it’s always easy to just make a glass of lemonade. Especially since while one lemon might provide enough juice for three cocktails, you can make one glass of lemonade from that same amount of juice.

Post a Comment

You must be registered and logged in to post comments.

Login to Comment register new account

remember me