If you thought that modern cocktails were the only drinks to have exciting flavor combinations and unique garnishes, introduce yourself to the Biltmore cocktail. This is a classic gin martini that pairs sweet vermouth and fresh pineapple with just a hint of maraschino to create an interesting little drink.
This recipe is adapted from the 1936 edition of "Just Cocktails." Among all those classic recipes, this one was most intriguing because it not only features fresh pineapple but also includes a maraschino-soaked hazelnut.
As happens many times in vintage bartending guides, the recipe was a little vague on preparation (they're often ingredients only). Interpretation is required, so the "pineapple chunk" it lists is best when muddled which lets you release most of its fresh juice and shaking the drink creates a nicely balanced mix.
Gather the ingredients.
Soak a hazelnut in maraschino liqueur for at least 2 hours (if time allows, 24 hours is ideal).
Add the gin, sweet vermouth, and maraschino and fill with ice.
Strain the hazelnut from the liqueur and drop it in the glass for a garnish.
Serve and enjoy!
- While you might be inclined to pour a dry gin in this drink, give other styles a try. In classic recipes, Old Tom, Plymouth, and even genever were often used and any of them will do well in this drink.
- For the sweet vermouth, the biggest consideration is that it's fresh. If you don't mix with it often, an open bottle can sit longer than the recommended three months. It will become stale because it's a fortified wine and more sensitive to air than distilled spirits. If you have any doubts, buy a new bottle.
- Pour pineapple juice instead of muddling the fruit if you prefer. About 1/2 ounce should be just fine, though you may want to adjust that.
- No maraschino in the bar? Try another cherry liqueur such as Cherry Heering, crème de cerise, or cherry brandy. These substitutes are a little sweeter, though the dash used will not have a tremendous impact on the drink. Cherry vodka can do in a pinch.
How Strong Is a Biltmore Cocktail?
The Biltmore cocktail falls right in line with the rest of the martini family in that it's not a light drink. When made with the average gin, its alcohol content should be right around 25 percent ABV (50 proof). That's over half the strength of the gin on its own. Unless you want to risk a nasty hangover, one or two in a night is probably enough.