Rob Roy Cocktail.
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1/2 Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Carpano Antica)
1/2 Scotch Whisky. (1 1/2 oz Pig’s Nose Scotch)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Lemon Peel.)
Particularly for Saint Andrew’s Day, to open the evening for the usual enormous annual gathering of the Clans at the Savoy.
First tried this with the well established Famous Grouse Scotch. Not sure if my bottle has gotten a bit tired, as it has been around a while, or what, but didn’t thrill me. Got a lot of high alcohol in the flavor and nose, and not much flavor.
Retried with the mini of Pig’s Nose sent to me by a firm promoting that brand, and found the cocktail much improved. Some nice pear-like flavor in that Scotch and better body. Not sure if it’s worth a third again the price of the Grouse, but if money were no object it would be a nice choice. Given I was mixing with Carpano Antica, I changed the Scotch to Vermouth ratio from fifty-fifty to two-one.
I guess by now you’ve figured out that I’m kind of a weirdo. I often order things just out of curiosity about how they taste, with nothing more than a rumor or a feeling.
Back when I was growing up in the Midwest, my family and people I knew didn’t really drink cocktails or go out to bars. I had one uncle who always ordered a Gimlet when we were out for dinner and one aunt who always ordered a screwdriver. Beyond that, I was in the dark.
When I got old enough to drink, we were talking about the TGIFridays and Chichis dark days of the cocktail. In the 1980s, Long Island Iced Teas and blended Margaritas full of saccharine sweet sour mix were the order of the day, and I partook gladly.
However, one night I was out at a childhood favorite Italian Restaurant, Lombardino’s. It was an awesome place, with a model of the Trevi Fountain in the front, a little paper mache dog who barked when you pulled it’s chain, a wishing well, plastic grapes hanging from the ceiling, and little balconies on the walls with dolls dressed as Italian characters. I loved it. And frankly, the food was pretty good. I always ordered the Manicotti. But back to the story. One night I was out with some High School friends and the Rob Roy caught my eye and I ordered it, likely getting a big glass of scotch and sweet vermouth on the rocks. I would like to say my life changed at that moment, but I don’t really remember. I remember the big, bulky, amber colored glass it came in more than the cocktail itself. Still, it was the first proper cocktail I ordered in my life, and I like to think it aligned me a bit with the vermouth happy path I am currently on.
Lombardino’s has recently been reinvented by a Madison couple, who decided the time was past for the Italian American food of the 1940s and 1950s. They’ve made an attempt to bring some authentic Italian food into the still very cool looking restaurant. Well, OK, they took down a lot of the really cool and really kitschy decorations, for which I may one day forgive them, but the fountain and the wishing well are still there, and the food, I suppose, is technically better. Still, I kind of missed the Manicotti the last time I was in.
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.