It’s been nearly 2 months since I last added something to the ole SMcG blog, and it’s because of two reasons… 1- the holidays – I haven’t been experimenting and trying new drinks with all the running around, and I’ve been guzzling the old classic stand-by of brandy and eggnog, along with the classic champagne cocktails for the new year, and 2- bad fortune – The drinks I have tried, I haven’t been too crazy about, except for 2 that wound up being among my list of favorite drinks – “The Vanderbilt” (the “snooty” tongue-in-cheek reference of this post’s title) and “The Sidecar” (the “drive around” part of the title – I love the visual of drinking this cocktail whilst sitting gleefully in a motorcycle side car)!
As my readers may have come to know, I love cocktails with just a few ingredients the most. Nothing against drinks with a laundry list of ingredients, they can be great too. But there’s something about enjoying the simple combination of 2 or maybe 3 ingredients, that allows you to really enjoy the taste of each individual ingredient. Plus, unlike some “showmen” of the drink slinging business/hobby, I like quick and simple drinks to throw together. I like to have a drink come to mind, and have it in my hand in just about 5 minutes, enjoying instant gratification. Both of these drinks (the Vanderbilt and the Sidecar) fit that description.
For these 2 drinks that I love, I also tried 2 drinks that I did not care for much – the “Night Shade” (1.5 oz bourbon, 1/2 oz sweet vermouth, 1/2 oz orange juice and 1/4 oz yellow Chartreuse, served on the rocks with a half slice of orange and a half slice of lemon for garnish) and the “Algonquin” (1.5 oz rye,3/4 oz dry vermouth, 3/4 oz pineapple juice and 2-3 dashes of orange bitters, served up). The Night Shade was OK, but the Algonquin was really terrible.
“The Vanderbilt Cocktail”
The “Vanderbilt” however – oh wow! What a good drink! This is another one from the Savoy Cocktail Book. It’s a smooth, warming drink, good for the cold months of January and February. It’s a stiff drink, but one that’s softened up by the cherry brandy and the simple syrup. If you like brandy, but you want a softer drink, try this. It’s not overly cherry-ish or sweet, just a smooth brandy cocktail that’ll warm you up. Delicous! (Plus it’s fun to drink something called the “Vanderbilt”, makes me feel classy, and a little snooty – ha!)
1.5 oz. brandy or cognac
1/2 oz. Cherry Heering
3 dashes of simple syrup
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
Stir well with ice and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.
(“The Savoy Cocktail Book”)
The Sidecar’s another great brandy drink. It’s not as wintery of a drink, but still gives you that nice smooth brandy taste. It’s almost a brandy margarita, only with a delicious sweet sugar rim instead of salt. It’s sweet and sour, and super refreshing! Brandy is quickly moving up my list of favorite base spirits in my cocktails!
1.5 oz. brandy or cognac
3/4 oz. triple sec
3/4 oz. lemon juice
Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass that’s been rimmed with sugar using a wedge of the lemon.