Day-drinking is a time-honored tradition, whether it’s a weekend brunch, casual business lunch or during a vacation. However, with midday imbibing there’s always a risk of over-indulgence leading to a sleepy, fuzzy afternoon. For those who want to skip the perils of the Martini lunch while still enjoying an adult beverage during the day, food and travel writer Kat Odell has the answers in her book “Day Drinking: 50 Cocktails for a Mellow Buzz.” One recipe in the book is the Django Reinhardt, which comes from Erick Castro of San Diego’s Polite Provisions. It’s a rare drink that uses vermouth as its main component, notes Odell, as opposed to using it in a support role like in a Manhattan.
In essence, the Django Reinhardt is a sour that substitutes the usual hard liquor for vermouth. However, because vermouth has less body and viscosity than something like whiskey, gin or rum, the proportions are adjusted with 3 ounces of vermouth rather than the more typical 2 ounces of spirit that go into a drink like a Daiquiri or Gimlet.
Besides the lower proof that allows for midday indulgence, the other benefit is the drink’s versatility. The recipe calls for dry vermouth, and while a few years ago that meant a limited supply of options, today there are many. You can opt for something reliable like Dolin de Chambery or Noilly Prat, or you can go bold and experiment with one of the many new dry vermouths on the market. Some are older recipes that are only now being exported from their tiny European towns, while others are newer styles and approaches from small wineries across the world.
Beyond traditional dry vermouth styles, there are a whole world of vermouths, like citrus-tinged blanco vermouth, bittersweet chinato or the newly revived style of sherry vermouth. Since the fortified wine is at the forefront of the Django Reinhardt it’s a chance to explore the wide variety of options available. However, any substitution will affect the overall balance; it’s always best to taste the product before serving in case you need to dial back the simple syrup or add more lemon juice (or switch out the vermouth you’re using if it isn’t working).
Along with the vermouth, lemon juice and simple syrup, the drink calls for muddled orange, which adds brightness and sweetness while keeping the drink fresh and lively. The Django Reinhardt can be a fun replacement for your usual brunch Mimosa or happy hour drink.
- 3 ounces dry vermouth
- 3/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 3/4 ounces simple syrup
- 2 orange slices
- Garnish: orange slice
Combine the dry vermouth, lemon juice, simple syrup and orange slices into a shaker and muddle to break down the orange.
Fill shaker with ice and shake until-well chilled.
Double-strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.
Garnish with an orange slice.