COCKTAILS | The Knickerbocker adds a little red to the Martini

KnickThe Knickerbocker, a variant of the classic gin Martini.

After a long haul at the paper, there’s nothing better to forgive the day’s various petty injustices like a dry Martini. That first cool whisper of gin sets aside all the aggravation and begins a cycle of well-deserved relaxation. It is a ritual I cherish.

It’s also a ritual that can use a little change from time to time. And so, last night, after slogging through a day on our business and sports desks, I turned to the Knickerbocker.

Essentially a dry martini with a splash of red vermouth, the Knickerbocker’s origins are mysterious. It seems like the kind of concoction that would have been enjoyed my journalistic forebears during Prohibition. I suspect it might be named for the Hotel Knickerbocker where an Italian bartender named Martini di Arma di Taggia allegedly gave birth to the holiest of mixed drinks.

There’s also another, older Knickerbocker recipe that calls for rum, curacao and raspberry syrup, but it seems a bit summery and will have to wait until 2010.

This Knickerbocker has its charms, especially for vermouth lovers. I prefer my martinis dry as a bone — I use atomizers to dust my glass with vermouth, if I use any at all. This may be my St. Lawrence roots speaking. There’s an old anecdote about some ancient alumni at Canaras, our Upper Saranac Lake retreat, who, at cocktail hour each summer night, are alleged to have waved their glasses east toward France and Italy to acknowledge the vermouth before diving straight in with beautiful, ice cold gin. Still, the Knickerbocker is worth a try to vary your routine.

2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce of dry vermouth (or less!)
Dashes of red vermouth

Add all ingredients to ice in a shaker. Shake, serve and enjoy.


2 Responses to “COCKTAILS | The Knickerbocker adds a little red to the Martini”
  1. trip says:

    Hmm, might give this one a shot this weekend.

  2. admin says:

    Just take it easy on the white vermouth unless you’re a big fan. Personally, I think that more than a splash is too much.

    Have you tried that Manhattan perfect recipe from last year? That’s a good example of how, to me at least, the vermouths can work well together.

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