The Tuxedo sounds so glamorous I’m a little disappointed that Ian Fleming didn’t pick this as the signature cocktail for James Bond, it would have been much more fitting than a vodka martini.
The cocktail was featured in Harry Johnson’s Bartender Manual in 1882 and while it was thought to have been invented at the private Tuxedo country club, in New York State, that didn’t open until a few years later (it was the venue for the birthplace of the Tuxedo jacket though).
There are several versions of this drink out there leading some to refer to the name as defining a “spectrum of recipes”. Johnson’s original recipe has equal measures of gin to vermouth while The Waldorf-Astoria version uses sherry instead of vermouth.
The Savoy Cocktail book has two recipes; Tuxedo Cocktail No. 1, with equal parts dry gin and dry vermouth, 2 dashes of absinthe and a lemon peel garnish. Tuxedo Cocktail No. 2 is the same recipe but with the addition of orange bitters and maraschino liqueur, garnished with lemon peel and a cherry.
I’ve adapted the Tuxedo No. 2 recipe. Don’t be alarmed at the ingredients. As I’ve said before a bottle of Maraschino liqueur is a must for the home bar if you enjoy making gin cocktails as it features in many of my favorites like the Aviation and Last Word. If you are not a big absinthe drinker (I am not), just pick up a miniature from the bottle shop.
Ingredients for a Tuxedo No. 2
45ml dry vermouth
2 dashes of orange bitters
5ml of maraschino liqueur
5ml of absinthe for rinsing the glass
Stir the gin, vermouth, bitters and maraschino liqueur in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir for 45-50 seconds. Pour the absinthe into a chilled cocktail glass, swirl gently until coated and then discard the remaining liquid. Double strain the contents of the mixing glass into your absinthe-rinsed glass and garnish with lemon peel and a maraschino cherry.
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