Friday, September 27, 2019

A Lab of One's Own with a Brandy Vermouth Cocktail

Patricia Fara's 'A Lab of One's Own - Science and Suffrage in the First World War' came out in paperback last month and I have a review copy waiting to be read. It's part of a small pile of books I'm really excited about, but am also sort of saving for when redundancy and Brexit hit (that's going to be quite a week).

I'm particularly interested in 'A Lab of One's Own' because it's rescuing women's history which is all to often forgotten. It's a curious thing the way this happens, an odd conspiracy of silence that makes it seem as if each generation of women is starting from scratch rather than being part of a rich tradition of significant work in field after field of study and talent.

I'm not going to make any great claims for cocktail mixing in this context - though I do believe that's it's more science than art. I can say that this Brandy Vermouth mix fits the bill as a very old cocktail, so was probably well known in the era. Brandy has a more scholarly, or perhaps old school tie, feel to it than gin does as well. In the early 1900's Brandy was a gentlemans drink, whisky rather less so, and gin might have been popular, but perhaps not entirely respectable.

After yesterday's Brandy and Vermouth mix I was looking for something with less frills about it. This fits the bill, and for me is the better drink, it feels more serious too (that's down to the absence of the cherry on top). It's 3 parts Brandy, 1 part Italian Vermouth, and a dash of Angostura bitters stirred over ice and stained into a glass.

The result is a mellow, amber coloured, delight. The dry nutmegy kind of spice of the Brandy sets the tone of the drink with the vermouth (I'm still using the Dopo Teatro) adding a richer spice range (something more like cloves) along with a touch of sweetness - but only enough to smooth out the edges. its to Kate in a Friday night for me to properly work out what the bitters are doing, but I'd miss them if they weren't there.

This is another excellent autumn/winter drink - there's something of a Christmas spice mix about it - clove, nutmeg, allspice, perhaps a hint of cinnamon. The impression is of warmth even though it's icy cold and the very small (I used a dessert spoon for a measure) one I made tonight was suitably comforting.


  1. I skimmed this last year - a bit dense, but intermittently fascinating and such a shame that all these women scientists had to give up their careers when the men returned. I am loving all the descriptions of your vermouth cocktails though.

    1. That's why I'm thinking it'll be ideal for when I have a bit of time on my hands. I'm enjoying the vermouth cocktails too!