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Guest Post Friday Feast: The Leap Year Cocktail

February 24, 2012

I’m thrilled to post this guest contribution from our dear friend Graham, an excellent cook and bartender and all-around fun guy.

Who remembers Graham from previous posts? Graham and Claire lived with JD and me the summer after they got married before Graham started law school. Adventures were had, including an episode with Rick the Tick, learning about s’more-nachos, and partaking in Graham’s many beer-tastings. Below is JD with Graham, Claire and our friend Jordan over New Year’s 2009, as well as Graham’s guest post he kindly put together for all of us.

So, it’s a leap year…

I was thinking about Kate and JD’s little one coming soon (or she has already arrived, depending on when this is posted), and I thought about the prospect of a leap year baby.  Growing up, I had a couple of friends born on leap year, and I always thought they were special.

In honor of this leap year, I thought it would be appropriate to highlight one of my favorite drinks, the leap year cocktail.

I have always been interested in turn-of-the-century culture.  My interest started with the Harlem Renaissance, the work of Langston Hughes and Claude McKay, and German Expressionism, particularly Kandinsky (Der Blaue Reiter) and Kirchner (Die Brücke).  Over the last few years, we have seen the resurgence of the speakeasy bar – a nostalgic trip back to the era of prohibition and rum-running.  Nashville has reaped the fruits of the movement with the establishment of Patterson House, Holland House, and others – new twists on vintage cocktails, modernizing the roaring twenties.

The Leap Year Cocktail is straight from this tradition.  First featured in the Savoy Cocktail in 1930, it is one of the few drinks that have been attributed to Harry Craddock, an American expatriate who left during Prohibition to run the bar at the Savoy Hotel in London – and the author of the Savoy Cocktail Book.  The recipe is as follows:


2 oz. Gin

0.5 oz Orange Liqueur

0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth

1 tsp of Lemon Juice

  • Add all ingredients into a mixing glass.
  • Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass (preferably a coupe).
  • Garnish with a lemon twist.

Gin is sometimes a tricky thing with cocktails.  I like to use Hendrick’s for martinis, mainly because it’s smooth and accessible.  I like Tanqueray for any drink, and if you are raiding my parents’ liquor cabinet, Gilbey’s does the trick too.  Although many people prefer Cointreau or Grand Marnier for their orange liqueur (and those are great), I like to use Gran Torres, mostly because it pays homage to my wife’s love for Spain, but also because it’s a bit easier on the wallet.  And try Dolin for the vermouth.  Try it out and feel free to post responses in the comments.

Also:  In case, I don’t get tapped again to contribute to Kate Schmate, you should also try the Dog’s Nose:  a nice porter or stout (I like Guinness for this) and a shot of gin – pour the beer, drop in the shot, you’re going to love it!

PS: It’s Graham’s birthday today! Give him some blog love! 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Stu permalink
    February 24, 2012 9:55 pm

    Graham and Maggie now share a birthday.


  1. Luster Cluster: necklaces, half marathons, things to read and make « Kate Schmate

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