The Son’s Drink: the Charles Cocktail

To continue with the British court theme, we turn to the Charles Cocktail. Let’s be clear: I can’t find anything on the Charles Cocktail. It came from my Trader Vic book from 1948, but I have no way to know who it is named for.

Despite that, I can give a good guess based on the ingredients. Shake together

  • 3/4 oz brandy
  • 3/4 oz Italian vermouth
  • 1 dash bitters

and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. I added a lemon twist because that’s always good, and because Trader Vic doesn’t seem to call for garnishes on most of his drinks.

So what does it sound like? Remember yesterday’s post, the Queen Elizabeth Cocktail? Substitute the dash of curacao for bitters, and then you have yourself a Charles Cocktail. Got to be named after Prince Charles, right? Well, no, Prince Charles wasn’t born until 1948, so it’s probably a good bet that the drink is not named after him. Any other Charleses in the family tree? Well, yeah, but it could be anyone.

But let’s dismiss the lack of historical evidence and say this is a drink of royalty.

It is, too. Close to a Manhattan, the Charles Cocktail is vibrant and a bit savory. It’s bright in the mouth with the bitters and vermouth leaving a bit on the tongue that isn’t unpleasant. The taste stays with you between sips, that’s for certain.

I recommend this drink as a variation on the Manhattan, or as a twist on the Queen Elizabeth, if, you know, some strange friend just loves those Queen Elizabeths!

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