The Kiss cocktail comes from veteran New York bartender and self-proclaimed “Tiki pirate” Brian Miller. This original drink begins with gin and then calls upon sweet vermouth, a French aperitif and an Italian liqueur. Together, you get a cocktail that’s similar to the classic Martinez (gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, bitters) but with a slightly sweeter, more herbal profile due to the Dubonnet Rouge.
Dubonnet is an aromatized wine dating back to 1846, when it was first created by Joseph Dubonnet, a chemist and wine merchant from Paris. It’s flavored with herbs, spices and quinine, a key component in tonic that’s used to combat malaria. That inclusion was by design, as Dubonnet created his elixir to make quinine more palatable to French soldiers fighting in North Africa.
While Dubonnet Rouge is often served over ice or simply mixed with gin, here it lends a bittersweet accent and subtle spice to the cocktail, and it merges deftly with the herbal, floral sweet vermouth and the bittersweet cherry notes of the maraschino liqueur—all without overshadowing the gin.
The Kiss is relatively easy to make, so it’s a great candidate for your next romantic date night, Valentine’s Day or even just a solo nightcap.
- 2 ounces gin
- 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
- 3/4 ounce Dubonnet Rouge
- 1/4 ounce Luxardo maraschino liqueur
- Garnish: apple slice fan*
Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass filled with ice.
Stir until well-chilled, and strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with an apple slice fan.
*Apple slice fan: Stand an apple upright, and cut a chunk from the side, being careful to avoid the core and seeds. Lie the apple chunk face down, then halve it so that the apple flesh is exposed. Cut four thin slices from the exposed side. Place the apple pieces together, pierce them with a cocktail pick about one third of the way from the bottom. Then fan them out and place in your drink, resting the cocktail pick on the rim of the glass.