I’m introducing a new feature, today: the Friday Happy Hour. Every Friday (or maybe most Fridays) (or maybe even just some Fridays), I’ll post a small write-up about a cocktail I’m really enjoying, including its history, its recipe, and my recommended ingredient brands. First up on the menu is (quite possibly) my favorite cocktail—the Fitzgerald cocktail.

If you’re a literary person like me, you might wonder if this classic cocktail was named for the famous writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Well, it wasn’t; though his favorite cocktail was the Gin Rickey (which we’ll explore in the future). The reason that we might think it’s a long-forgotten, classic cocktail is because it’s a very slight variation on the sour, which is a pre-Prohibition recipe. This drink is actually a fairly new one, having been created by Dale DeGroff and featured in his 2002 book The Craft of the Cocktail. DeGroff took the gin sour and simply added a few dashes of Angostura bitters, which give the drink a pleasant pink/orange hue. You can easily see how much a dash or two of bitters transforms a cocktail in a recipe as simple as this one, adding spice and mellowing out some of the more aggressive flavors in whatever gin you’re using.

The Fitzgerald is one of the better cocktails to have in your back pocket. It is simple to make but has a complex flavor profile, and its obscurity gives it an exoticism that is sure to impress your guests. It is also a customizable recipe that allows you to easily introduce other flavors to change things up, though you can never go wrong the the original ratio.

I recommend avoiding London dry gins for this cocktail. DeGroff recommends Leopold’s; I would also suggest Hendrick’s, New Amsterdam, Roku, or Aviation.

  • 2 ounces gin
  • .75 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • .75 ounces simple syrup
  • 2 -3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • garnish with lemon twist

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir; serve neat in a coupe glass, or on the rocks in a rocks glass (this is my preferred method).

What were your thoughts of this one? Comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome! Contact me, or enter a comment below.

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