Spion Kop Cocktail

Spion Kop Cocktail

Spion Kop Cocktail
1/2 French Vermouth. (1 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1/2 Caperitif. (1 oz Cinzano Bianco)
(1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro)
Stir well and strain into cocktail glass. (Squeeze Lemon Twist over glass and drop in.)

Like just about every other Savoy Cocktail with a funny name and the proprietary South African Quinquina CAPEritif, this cocktail appears to be named after a battle during the Boer War. According to the Wikipedia entry:

The Battle of Spion Kop (Dutch: Slag bij Spionkop; Afrikaans: Slag van Spioenkop) was fought about 38 km (21 miles) west-south-west of Ladysmith on the hilltop of Spioenkop along the Tugela River, Natal in South Africa from 23-24 January 1900 . It was fought between the South African Republic and the Orange Free State on the one hand and British forces as during the Second Boer War during the campaign to relieve Ladysmith and resulted in a British defeat.

Strange that all these cocktails in an English cocktail book seem to be named after embarrassing defeats for the British.

Anyway, my current favorite substitute for Caperitif is a Blanc/Bianco Vermouth. Unfortunately killed my bottle of Dolin Blanc and was a bit skint when approaching this cocktail. So the Cinzano Bianco will just have to do. But when I was thinking a bit more about it, I felt Blanc/Bianco vermouth to be a bit lacking in the Quinquina department. Caperitif is, after all, supposed to be a rich yellow Quinquina.

When talking to Amanda at Cask Store the other month she was lamenting the fact that she couldn’t find Amaro Montenegro in California. Likewise, it saddened me. I’ve been to liquor stores and Italian Delis in Providence and NY whose Amaro selection blew my mind. In California, aside from Torani Amer and a couple other of the larger brands, we generally get bupkiss.

How happy to get a note the other week from Drew at Plump Jack Noe Valley that Amaro Montenegro was finally, and inexplicably, returning to California, “for the first time in forever”!

Hm, handy! A quinine heavy Amaro lands in my hands just as I am approaching this post! What is a boy to do but mix with it?

Goddamn if that isn’t tasty! Admittedly, it’s on the light side, having no booze, but really nice flavor. A great feature for the Amaro and the vermouths. Highly recommended.

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.

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