1 Dash Absinthe. (Verte de Fougerolles)
1/6 Dry Gin. (1/2 oz North Shore Distiller’s No. 11)
1/6 Kirsch. (1/2 oz Clear Creek Kirsch)
2/3 French Vermouth. (2 oz Noilly Original Dry*)
4 Dashes Syrup. (1 tsp. Rich Simple Syrup)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Lemon Peel.)
Noilly Prat recently redesigned the bottles for their Sweet and Dry Vermouths. Along with the redesign of the bottles, they discontinued a formula of their Dry Vermouth which they had only been selling in America, standardizing on the “Original French Dry” which has been sold in the rest of the world for all this time.
To explain, some time in the 1960s, as Martinis were getting drier and drier, Noilly Prat launched a new forumula of their Dry Vermouth exclusively for the US.
This is the text of an ad from 1964, turned up by Mr. David Wondrich:
VERY VERY PALE
So pale that new Noilly Prat French Vermouth is virtually invisible in your gin or vodka. Extra pale and extra dry for today’s correct Martini. DON’T STIR WITHOUT NOILLY PRAT.
Well, as you can see from the picture of the drink above, Noilly Dry is invisible no longer! Most Martinis with more than a splash of vermouth, will now take on a distinct amber hue from the darker color of the Noilly Dry Vermouth.
The difference in the two versions that were sold was primarily a larger percentage of aged wine in the “Original French Dry”.
As far as taste goes, doing a side by side of the two Noilly, there is a stronger sherry like character in the “new” formula and slightly more pronounced herbal/floral flavor.
A lot of people have gotten up in arms about this, Feeling Noilly has ruined their Martinis forever.
From my perspective, however, we’re probably getting something closer to what Noilly Prat Vermouth would have tasted like in the early part of the 20th Century. In addition we’re getting extra vermouth flavor.
How could that be a bad thing?
For example, I tried making this cocktail with the lighter American Noilly and again with Dolin Dry. I found that I preferred the Original French Dry in this cocktail to either of the other two Dry Vermouths.
While there are other cocktails where I prefer the Dolin Dry, Dry Martinis for example, in more complex or vermouth forward cocktails, the Noilly Prat can bring a bit more interest to the drink.
In regards, the Nineteen Cocktail, it is a light cocktail along the lines of the Chrysanthemum. A good before dinner drink which might even complement an appetizer without getting you totally blitzed on an empty stomach. Or a nice civilized drink to get you back on an even keel after a few more potent potables.
*Noilly Original Dry was received from a marketing firm promoting its launch.
This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.