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kirschwasser, French vermouth and siro de groseille

An essential, distinctive, and resolutely French drink popular by 1910 until World War II. The foremost cocktail built around an eau-de-vie. Currently underappreciated.

There are many slightly different takes on the Rose. At the core is the pairing of dry vermouth and kirschwasser, plus a little something for color and light sweetening. It seems that sirop de groseille (red currant syrup) was the original selection, but rasberry syrup, grenadine, and cherry liqueur also are found in the recipes. Shown, above, is the recipe that appeared in Frank Meier’s 1936 book. The general procedure:


Stir with ice:

  • 2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1 oz kirsch
  • 1 tsp sirop de groseille or raspberry syrup

Strain into a cocktail glass.

Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails, p. 596–7; barware icons courtesy of Haus Alpenz