The Chrysanthemum Cocktail Recipe
Three of our favorite things are classic cocktail recipes, drinks with a fortified wine base, and strong herbal liqueurs. Imagine our delight when we discovered all three in the same package. The Chrysanthemum is a pre-Prohibition recipe that triples down on the aromatics, with dry vermouth, Benedictine, and absinthe all bringing their own herb mixes to the party. Nonetheless, the overall impact is smooth and remarkably light, at least in the version of the recipe we use. Apparently, the earliest known recipes call for a 1:1 ratio of vermouth to Benedictine. Benedictine is an intense Cognac-based liqueur, so intense that recipes usually dole it out by the teaspoonful or the dash; its aggressive bitterness is not so much softened as matched by an epic sweetness. Herbal fans though we are, we don’t dare go beyond 2:1 (which we hear tell is Harry Craddock’s recipe, though our edition of Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book mysteriously doesn’t contain the recipe at all). Cut in this way by the greater amount of drier, more delicate vermouth, the Benedictine is still assertive, and very complex, but not overwhelming. Just a teaspoon of absinthe rounds the flavor off nicely. Don’t let the flower name fool you: the three ingredients make for a drink with maximum flavor, even if it is at a discount in alcoholic bite.
- 2 oz dry vermouth–we favor Boissiere
- 1 oz Benedictine
- 1 tsp absinthe–you can use a pastis in place of absinthe, but it’ll be a tad on the sweet side
- orange twist for garnish
- Stir the vermouth, Benedictine, and absinthe with ice.
- Strain into a cocktail glass.