It’s a pity that this beautifully balanced, sophisticated cocktail seems like it was named by some underage guy who spends too much time watching Torchwood reruns (not that there’s anything wrong with that show). The name and the cocktail go back to the 1890s, though, so it’s probably too late for a change.
The drink is light and bright, with all the complimentary flavors held in perfect balance — the dry gin, the sweet orange Cointreau, the tart lemon juice, the fruity Lillet Blanc, and just a hint of anise from Pastis. Just delicious on a warm evening.
Balance is the key, though, so make sure to measure the ingredients very carefully. Too much Cointreau, and the drink becomes sickly sweet. Too much lemon juice, and it’s unpleasantly acidic. More than literally a drop (not a dash) of pastis creates an undrinkable mess.
The only ingredient in this drink that may be hard to find is Lillet Blanc, although it’s fairly widely available for about $18 at good liquor stores and online sources such as www.caskstore.com. Lillet Blanc is an excellent white wine-based aperitif from Bordeaux made from local wines blended with fruit brandies and matured in oak for six to 12 months. It’s also delicious simply served over ice with a slice of orange or lemon.
(From Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh. If you can find this book, buy it.)
1 ounce dry gin
1 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce Lillet Blanc
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 drop (no more) of pastis (Pernod, Herbsaint, Ricard will all do)
Shake well in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a glass and garnish with a stemless cherry. (For a recipe to easily make Maraschino cherries that actually taste good, see this post.)