Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Today we drink the Metropolitan cocktail, a brandy and sweet vermouth drink that is a great alternative to its whiskey based cousin the Manhattan

First though, I thought I'd share a rather interesting phenomenon that I've learned about myself.  I can no longer read horror novels.  I know, I know, this is a landmark issue for everyone involved. 

You see, I recently read "Heart Shaped Box", a book by Joe Hill.  I bought it a couple years ago, and it sat languishing on my shelf until about a month ago.  It was a relatively quick read, but it got me to thinking about how my literary tastes have changed over the years.

Joe Hill, if you didn't know, just so happens to be the son of famed horror writer Stephen King.  At one time, King was a writer I simply could not put down.  At the age of 15 or so, after reading The Stand, I was hooked.  King is gifted, and Hill, his son, is too.  I say all of the following with that in mind, namely, that Hill is a good writer.

But horror novels don't do it for me anymore.  The whole time I read Heart Shaped Box, I kept thinking that everything in the book was utterly preposterous.  Ghosts, demon ghosts?  No, no, no.  Ghosts just sound silly. 

It's funny too, I have felt this way about most horror movies for some time.  They've never been on my radar much to begin with, but apart from something like The Ring, which I loved, I find most horror movies to be comically bad.  Many plot lines are poorly thought out, the acting second rate, and the effects, if any, laughable.  I don't want to paint with too broad a brush, but the whole genre is unappealing at this point as a result of so many bad movies.

Horror novels, I thought, stood a chance where movies did not. It doesn't look to be though.  Interestingly, by way of comparison, I read Perdido Street Station last summer, a book that borders on horror (just borders though, and only slightly so) and loved it.  That'll be the furthest I'll go with the horror genre from now on though - something that just borders on horror, perhaps as a result of the bizarre sci-fi world in which the novel is situated.

Now that you've wasted a good 3 minutes reading this mindless banter, you deserve a cocktail. 

The Ultimate Bar Book, page 133


1 1/2 oz brandy
1 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
1/2 teaspoon simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Maraschino cherry

Stir the liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The Metropolitan is a very good alternative to a Manhattan or even a Sazerac.  It's got a strong flavor, particularly because of the bitters, which is why I think it matches well with these other two stellar cocktails.

The brandy makes the Metropolitan a little smoother than these two counterparts mentioned above.  Thankfully too, despite the sweet vermouths prominant addition to this drink, it isn't too sweet and isn't overpowering.  A little sweet vermouth can go a long way, and this is a fine amount.  In keeping with this idea, feel free to go easy on the simple syrup if you want a stronger cocktail. 

Also, a quick word on the amount of bitters to throw into a cocktail when a recipe calls for a dash or two.  Think liberally on this one.  Bitters were a major part of historic cocktails, and a dash is a couple strong shakes of the bottle, if not a little more.  Don't be shy.

Thursday - we drink the Bella, Bella.  Can't wait for it.  Appreciate the feedback from readers - thank you for your comments, suggestions and recipes - they've all been fantastic.  See you Thursday!
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