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Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 01/21/2011

Cocktails That Complete Me: The Metropole

By Jason Wilson
IMG_6389_opt.jpg The Metropole de Plus (Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

As I continued plowing through The List of 100 must-have cocktails, I noticed one brandy drink that could benefit from my research this week on Armagnac, the Metropole.

Recipe Included

The original Metropole cocktail turns up in several late 19th-century guides, calling for brandy, dry vermouth and two kinds of bitters. It is essentially a brandy variation of a martini or a Martinez. In fact, just about every cocktail in the 1880s was gin, brandy or whiskey, with a little dash of bitters or maybe a twist of citrus or a dollop of curaƧao, maraschino or absinthe. The brandy used at that time was likely cognac.

After a few attempts, I still found the original Metropole to be a little flat. The vermouth, in my opinion, didn't stand up to the brandy and the bitters. So I decided to replace it with Lillet Blanc, the famous white wine and citrus aperitif, which gives the drink a richer structure and flavor. Since I replaced one of its main ingredients, I felt like the cocktail needed a new name, too.

Now, I wouldn't recommend busting open a vintage Armagnac like the 1957 Chateau de Laubade I acquired, nor would I use one at the XO/Hors d'Age level. But a nice VSOP Armagnac is lovely in this cocktail.

Metropole de Plus
1 serving

The original Metropole cocktail turns up in several late 19th-century guides, calling for brandy, dry vermouth and two kinds of bitters. It is essentially a brandy variation of a martini or Martinez or many similar drinks of the era. This version replaces dry vermouth with Lillet Blanc, which adds a bit more body and flavor to the drink.

From Spirits columnist Jason Wilson.

Ice
1 1/2 ounces brandy, preferably Armagnac or cognac
3/4 ounce Lillet Blanc
2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
1 dash orange bitters
1/2 teaspoon simple syrup (see NOTE)
Brandied or maraschino cherry, for garnish (see related recipe online)

Fill a mixing glass halfway with ice. Add the brandy, Lillet Blanc, both kinds of bitters and the simple syrup. Stir vigorously, then strain into chilled cocktail (martini) glass. Garnish with the cherry.

NOTE: To make simple syrup, combine 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a slow rolling boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof container and let cool to room temperature.

By Jason Wilson  | January 21, 2011; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Spirits  | Tags:  Cocktails That Complete Me, Jason Wilson  
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