Queen – David Embury

Medium Martini

1 part French Vermouth

1 part Italian Vermouth 

2 to 4 parts Gin

1 dash Orange Bitters and

1 dash Angostura to each drink 

Some recipes call for orange bitters only and some omit the bitters altogether. 

This cocktail also goes under the name of the PERFECT. Someone once said that whoever named near-beer was a darned poor judge of distance. I say that whoever named the ‘Perfect’ cocktail was a mighty poor judge of perfection. 

It is also sometimes called the SOMERSET and, if made with equal parts of French vermouth, Italian vermouth, and gin, the QUEEN.

Near beer was invented during prohibition in the US, it was a beer under 0.5% alcohol, and was deemed legal by the then government. I love these quotes, its Embury riling against people using the word ‘perfect’ instead of ‘medium’ for manhattans and martini’s, the latter of which I never really knew was a thing.

I think that the earliest reference to this drink is in the savoy guide of 1930, and it includes pineapple juice. This drink often pops up as a drink named after one of New York’s 5 boroughs, although I’m pretty sure that Harry Craddock in the Savoy guide was talking about her majesty rather than the eastern boundary of New York.

I’d also be a little surprised if she was drinking pineapple juice, although I guess it would’ve been quite the exotic treat at the time.

I’m a fan of this drink. The vermouth helps bring down the overall strength, which makes a much more quaffable drink. The proportions are nicely balanced, this will be a great drink to play around with different vermouths and gins.

Our current Queen doesn’t seem to have this in her list of approved drinks, an article last year on what she eats and drinks daily, sees a Za-Za (06-03-2018) as the midmorning tipple, a glass of wine at lunch, a martini in the evening and a glass of champagne before bed.

Despite Embury’s disdain, I’m hoping her martini is a perfect one, with equal portions.