You probably know this already, but it’s kind of difficult for Los Angeles to hit the sweet spot when it comes to our highly desirable, yet frequently deadly, climate. In late July or early August, our famous and often excessive dry heat kicks in for real, and we’re engulfed in flames and terrified of a drought that’s going to turn Southern California into a humongous set for the next Mad Max movie. Then we get some rain and on come the flash floods and the mud slides.
As I write this, our recent cold snap (hey, it feels cold to us!) has been followed by some of that much needed rain. On this soon to be rain-soaked evening, people are even daring to hope for what we like to call a Miracle March of consistent wet weather. Still, even if the rain flows steadily, but moderately, from now to tax day, some weather wonk on the local public radio will be reminding us that it’s not enough to end our drought. The worst part about is that the expert will be absolutely right, and I really should feel guilty for wasting all that ice when I make these drinks.
With that as a background, Damn the Weather is a pretty darn mild use of profanity in cocktails. And, yeah, I really just picked this cocktail out because of the name.I swear to God I didn’t find it there this time, but this is yet another mixed drink that was first committed to print in 1930’s The Savoy Cocktail Book. Just one sip and you’ll realize that the theory that it was developed to cover up the taste of noxious (and dangerous) prohibition era bathtub gin is as rock solid as the theory of gravity. It’s not a drink many cocktailians are going to swoon over, as we generally like our drinks more base spirit forward. Taken on its own, however, its not a bad gateway beverage for the uninitiated and lovers of orangey things.
Damn the Weather
1 1/2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
3/4 ounce fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon orange curacao
Combine your liquids in a cocktail shaker. Shake until your start to feel as if you’re trying to handle a snowball without the benefit of gloves. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, sip, and be thankful that legal alcohol means never having to wonder if you’ll still have your eyesight in the morning.
I did my usual due diligence and tried Damn the Weather with a three very decent-to-outstanding gins: Tanqueray, Prairie Organic, (both London dry style products) and Plymouth Gin, which is Plymouth style. Of course, it barely made a difference.
I don’t know how the citrus is where you are, but the navel oranges in SoCal this year have been really outstanding the last few months, perfectly sweet and juicy. You can also get the slightly tangier, decidedly pinker, Cara Cara oranges here right now, which can definitely add a bit of zing to your beverage. In any case, if nothing else, this drink is a great excuse to take advantage of nature’s citric wonders.
Moving on, the always delightful (and delightfully priced) Noilly Pratt sweet vermouth blended very nicely. Usually, I would leans towards adding the touch of bitterness that comes with Carpano Antica as a counterpoint. However, I found the NP more sweetly harmonious.
Oddly enough, that half a teaspoon of orange curacao seems to have more impact on the overall flavor of Damn the Weather than 1 1/2 ounces of gin, but that’s the magic of cocktails. I thought that Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao added a nice tangy but subtler accent that made a big difference. More standard Hiram Walker and similar brands keeps the sweet harmony going, though, so take your pick.