The Woodward: Scotch, Dry Vermouth, and Grapefruit

Two things made me turn to the Woodward cocktail tonight. First, there’s the fact that I have some grapefruit juice that needs to be used. Second, the fact that I’m interested in how Scotch is used in cocktails, especially after last night’s Blood and Sand.

But then there’s the name. I only know one Woodward, Bob Woodward. You may know him from his stint with Bernstein to unveil the Watergate scandal. Me, I know him as a commentator on NPR. I have been listening to him for the last ten years. I love that guy.

But wouldn’t it be a cool name for a bar? Nope, already taken. Some bar in Detroit has had the name for a long time. Yep, it’s Detroit’s oldest gay bar, the Woodward Cocktail Bar. A cool name, indeed.

What about the cocktail itself. Take three ingredients:

  • 1 oz scotch (Tullibardine)
  • 3/4 oz dry vermouth (Noilly Prat)
  • 3/4 oz grapefruit juice

stir them with ice until they’re cold, and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Some people recommend just a barspoon or tablespoon of grapefruit, but I like more of the fruitiness.

As for the taste, it’s not my favorite drink on the planet, but I do really like the way the smokiness of the scotch comes through a bit when combined with the other ingredients. Somehow, this combination almost works. It’s just not flavorful enough, though.

So I had to try it with my Islay malt, the Laphroig 10 year I have sitting around for special, smoky occasions. With this scotch, the Woodward cocktail works, and is a recipe I will be repeating. I like the Laphroig by itself, but I almost like drinking it in this cocktail better. The smoky scent comes through loud and clear, but the taste is muted by the grapefruit and vermouth.

I recommend the Woodward, but only with a peaty scotch. Otherwise, the taste just isn’t worth it. Drink your highland malt straight; use a peaty one in the Woodward.

One thought on “The Woodward: Scotch, Dry Vermouth, and Grapefruit”

  1. I liked that Laphroig but I wouldn’t know what to do with it. This looks like the perfect use!

    Woodward was a dorm at the University of Chicago. We have a reputation for drinking in our closets and I’d like to believe that The Woodward was the result of a college student celebrating the end of mid-terms.

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