The Forty-Five

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There are a lot of alcohol combinations which now became classic. These combinations are so good that you’re always reverting to it and think that you do need any others.

Whiskey (and whisky too) with sweet vermouth create such combination, a wonderful duet, an exceptional base for further experiments. Well-known Manhattan (with bourbon or rye) or Rob Roy and Bobby Burns Cocktail (with scotch), it all are just three great cocktails among dozens of other good ones in which whiskey mixes with sweet vermouth.

The Forty-Five recipe has been found at Drambuie American promo-website. Another place where the cocktail was mentioned is The Intoxicologist blog. The article about cocktails based on Drambuie liqueur is awesome as well as most of other posts there.

The original recipe is:

  • 1/2 part Drambuie Liqueur,
  • 1/2 part Martini & Rossi Rosso vermouth,
  • 1/2 part bourbon,
  • 1 dash of vanilla extract.

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice and stir quickly with a bar spoon for 10-15 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini cocktail glass and garnish with dried cherry macerated in Maraschino liqueur.

The Forty-Five (adaptation)

  • 20 ml Drambuie,
  • 20 ml Cinzano Rosso,
  • 20 ml Basil Hayden’s Bourbon,
  • 1 dash homemade vanilla extract.

Stir briefly with a plenty of ice. Serve in cocktail glass with organic cherry macerated in brandy.

Looking good! I’ve tasted it and there was a reference point for my further experiments. Original The Forty-Five was too simple and a bit sweety for me, and the most disappointing thing was shapeless aftertaste despite rich flavours of all ingredients included.

I tried to enhance it adding more whiskey and Angostura bitters as well.

The Forty-Five And A Quarter

  • 20 ml Drambuie,
  • 20 ml Cinzano Rosso,
  • 30 ml Basil Hayden’s Bourbon,
  • 2 dash homemade vanilla extract,
  • 2 dash Angostura bitters.

Stir briefly with a plenty of ice. Serve in cocktail glass with organic cherry macerated in brandy.

This variation was better. Subtle Basil Hayden’s flavour managed to control the pressure from the sweet side, added a little spiciness in befuddling sweet combination of Drambuie and Cinzano Rosso. And Angostura bitters helps to perfect the aftertaste.

Then I’ve saw the way I want to make my The Forty-Five, I started to select a perfect whiskey to combine with other components. And surprisingly the first option became not whiskey but whisky – one of scotch single malt whisky I love so much in cocktails.

This time I’ve chose Auchentoshan Classic, Lowland NAS single malt whisky. Triple-distilled and very young, it has smooth taste without any bright features. It’s drier than Basil Hayden’s but their wood aftertastes are similar though.

The Scotch Forty-Five

  • 20 ml Drambuie,
  • 20 ml Cinzano Rosso,
  • 30 ml Auchentoshan Classic,
  • 2 dash homemade vanilla extract,
  • 2 dash Angostura bitters.

Stir briefly with a plenty of ice. Serve in cocktail glass with organic cherry macerated in brandy.

The Forty-Five

Amazing! I feel like this version is perfect for my taste. In the nose, it comes with charming aroma of vermouth, honey and vanilla. Bittersweet combination of liqueur and vermouth turns to dry whisky palate with apple and plum undertones. Aftertaste is similar but notes of oak, smoke and vanilla are all present there too.

However, I’ve thought that this cocktail was conceived as sweet one. So later I’ve reverted to bourbon as a base for The Forty-Five. It was Knob Creek, a wonderful strong whiskey with smooth taste and awesome aroma.

The Final Forty-Five

  • 20 ml Drambuie,
  • 20 ml Cinzano Rosso,
  • 30 ml Knob Creek Bourbon,
  • 2 dash homemade vanilla extract,
  • 2 dash Angostura bitters.

Stir briefly with a plenty of ice. Serve in cocktail glass with organic cherry macerated in brandy.

Yes, this one was great! Sweet and spicy, Knob Creek successfully combine with Drambuie and vermouth in rich and delightful flavour mostly with sweet notes. On the swallow, the bourbon was a leader: dry oak, vanilla and a bit charcoal. Later the aftertaste became more spicy, and I felt bourbon pepper and fruit undertones with herbal notes of Drambuie and Cinzano.

Whiskey and honey finish was very warm and delightful.

Nice experience! I love Drambuie for Rusty Nail, and now I have another reason for my passion for this great liqueur.

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