Today’s drink is another tasty relic from probably well before the 1930 publication of Harry Craddock’s “The Savoy Cocktail Book.” As others have pointed out, it’s really just a slightly reshuffled Perfect Manhattan but with Scotch…which I guess would make it a somewhat less potent, Perfect Rob Roy.
In any case, I think I might actually like this drink more than the standard Rob Roy. It’s both light and, for a drink that’s comprised of only alcoholic ingredients it’s surprisingly refreshing. At least if you shake it. The funny part here is that, while Craddock (like me) often breaks the conventional wisdom that one should only shake cocktails containing juices, for this drink he specifically calls for stirring. We are told that bartender Erik Ellested, however, specifically called for shaking it. I think Ellested’s got this one right.
In any case, this is a drink that deserves to become better known and you certainly can’t complain that it’s too hard to make. Let’s get started.
The Affinity Cocktail
1 ounce Scotch whisky
1 ounce dry vermouth
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1-3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 lemon twist (helpful garnish)
Combine the ingredients in cocktail shaker and shake fairly vigorously. (If you insist on stirring this one in a mixing glass, of course, I cannot stop you!) Strain into a well chilled cocktail glass and add the lemon twist for a subtle bit of counterpoint. (If you can’t find a lemon, I will still permit you make this drink, however.)
My Scotches this time around were Dewar’s, Monkey Shoulder, and Johnny Walker Black – which I bought specifically for this drink when I got curious how a smokier/peatier whisky would play in this this drink. My dry vermouths were Noilly Pratt and Martini. My sweet vermouths were Noilly Pratt and Carpano Antica.
I tried as many permutations as I could, and I think my favorite involved the Johnny Walker and the Carpano. The stronger smokier and more bitter flavors combined nicely with the sweeter notes for a piquant, yet easygoing Manhattan-esque treat that many might prefer to an actual Manhattan. The sweetness of the Monkey Shoulder also blended well with the bolder Carpano and the more laid-back Noilly Pratt sweet…but, really, I liked almost every version I made of the Affinity Cocktail. It’s annoying to say this but, yeah, it’s an easy drink with which to form an affinity.