- My Rating: B- (an enjoyable sipper)
A couple of days ago a friend asked me where she could find a bottle of Peychaud’s Bitters. Sure enough I found a place that sold it but minutes later another request for Bénédictine Liqueur popped up. In a rare flash of brilliance + with the help of those Google-targeted ads I discovered that a certain someone had a craving for the 1930s Vieux Carré cocktail (meaning “old square”, named for the French Quarter in New Orleans). Since I hadn’t made one before I thought I would give one a go; Thus, my attempt at a much beloved classic invented by the head bartender of The Monteleone Hotel in New Orleans, Walter Bergeron. Here is an great article written by Brian Quinn at foodrepublic.com, where he explains that this is a sipping cocktail, made with the build techinique. Rushing into it as usual, I made mine incorrectly using a Boston shaker. Below are my proportions:
- 30ml Ri rye whiskey
- 30ml Cizano Rosso sweet vermouth
- 30ml Hennessy Black cognac
- 5ml Bénédictine DOM liqueur
- 2 dashes Pechaud’s bitters
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- garnish with lemon slice + cherry
Reaction: This is quite similar to a Manhattan, but I like this much, much more. Firstly it’s more palatable and there’s a nice balanced complexity that is present here, especially after 15 minutes where the ingredients have the time to meld together. Initially I get the rye grain + Bénédictine sweetness, and then comes the cognac vanilla + oak, and finally the vermouth spices and bitter herbals at the finish.
Final notes: I agree 100% with Mr. Quinn that this is a sipper, and a superbly enjoyable one at that. The first sip has the boldest caramel flavours, and as time goes on the sweetness and spices take the driver’s seat. One negative aspect of this drink is having to acquire 6 ingredients + a lemon and cherry. But IMO, this one is worth the effort to make.