Let’s talk about cocktail size. When making cocktails, as with other things you may have heard about, it’s not really so much the size of your drink, as how much effort you put into making it. Slop a bunch of booze into a cup and toss some ice on top of it, and you’re going to get something uninteresting. Be careful in your measurements, stir to the right amount of dilution, strain into a nice glass, use a fresh garnish, and you’re going to create something that’s beyond delicious – it’s actually a little bit magical.
In America, it’s still not uncommon to go into a restaurant bar, ask for a Martini, and get 7 ounces of basically pure gin with a shaker on the side full of more. Which is great if your goal is to sit down, eat a burger, and then forget you ever ate that burger or what happened for the following four hours … but it’s maybe not always what one is looking for in a drink.
So, we have the Caprice. Small even by craft cocktail standards, coming in at just 2.5 ounces of booze, this drink nonetheless packs in plenty of flavor. It’s one of many drinks in a category we’ve discussed before: “Martinis with stuff in ‘em” … but the balance here is immaculate and delicious, which is why I strongly advise not screwing with the proportions. Use a traditional, juniper-heavy London Dry gin, a nice dry vermouth, and a good citrus-forward orange bitters, and you’ll not only have something terrific to drink, you’ll have room in your liver for another.
This drink comes from a relatively obscure (and sadly out of print) cocktail book by Hyman Gale and Gerald Marco called The How and When. First published in 1937, it was updated several times in the 1940s. Gale and Marco ran Marco’s liquor store in Chicago, where they imported wine and spirits, so they knew a thing or two about booze! Whether this is a creation of their own or not is uncertain, but let’s assume it is and tip a glass to them. Messieurs Hyman and Gale, thanks for this tiny, tasty tipple!
- 1.5 oz. Gin (Beefeater)
- .5 oz. Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
- .5 oz. Benedictine
- Dash Orange Bitters (The Bitter Truth)
Combine all ingredients in a pint glass over ice and stir thoroughly. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
Liquors in parentheses are what I used when I made this recipe, and are included as suggestions.