Gin and dry vermouth might seem like a familiar combination, especially for fans of the traditional Martini. Not only do these two ingredients shine together as the main event, but they also can blend seamlessly into the background as a split base in cocktails like the Bitter Lemon Cooler. Using an ounce and a half of dry vermouth and one ounce of gin, this refreshing Collins-style drink takes shape with the addition fresh lemon juice, quality grenadine and bitter lemon soda (or lemon-flavored club soda) for balance and texture.
“I really love this drink as [the] gin and vermouth are just playing an intense tennis match of botanicals, with each flavor bouncing off of the other. They just make sense together,” says Jason Sorbet, beverage director of The Chloe in New Orleans. A natural companion to both, lemon—in juice and soda form—serves as the drinks brightening component, tempered by the grenadine’s complex sweetness. But, Sorbet warns, the bottled stuff never measures up to true grenadine, which includes fresh pomegranate and orange blossom water (we recommend Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s recipe).
Hemant Pathak, the head mixologist at acclaimed New York City restaurant Junoon, is also a proponent of using freshly-made grenadine over store-bought. “Fresh juice-based grenadine adds bright, crisp flavors and a vibrant color—it has a distinctive flavor that is both tart and sweet with a freshness that’s difficult to achieve in bottled grenadine,” he says. Once you’ve batched yours, use the Bitter Lemon Cooler recipe to pour yourself the perfect reward for a hard day’s work (those pomegranate seeds can be tricky).
- 1 1/2 ounces dry vermouth
- 1 ounce gin
- 1/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/4 ounce grenadine
- Bitter lemon soda or lemon-flavored club soda, to top
- Garnish: 1 lemon wheel
Add the dry vermouth, gin, lemon juice and grenadine to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice.
Top with bitter lemon soda or lemon-flavored club soda and garnish with a lemon wheel.