Classic Metropolitan Brandy Cocktail

Classic Brandy Metropolitan Cocktail
The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios
  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Serving: 1 serving
  • Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
182 Calories
0g Fat
3g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 182
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 4mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 0g
Calcium 4mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The metropolitan is a classic brandy cocktail that's nearly as old as the Manhattan or Martinez. It's equally simple, and a brilliant way to showcase a great bottle of brandy.

This recipe dates to around 1900 and mixes brandy, sweet vermouth, sugar, and bitters. It's also sometimes known as the brandy Manhattan, though that recipe typically skips the metropolitan's syrup.

Other cocktails have taken the metropolitan name as well. The most popular is made of black currant vodka, cranberry and lime juices, and (sometimes) triple sec. It is very similar to a cosmopolitan and was created during the 1990s in New York City.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces brandy
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 teaspoon simple syrup
  • 2 dashes aromatic bitters

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for a Classic Brandy Metropolitan Cocktail
    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios
  2. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the brandy, sweet vermouth, simple syrup, and bitters.

    Mixing a Classic Brandy Metropolitan Cocktail
    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios
  3. Shake well.

    Shaking a Classic Brandy Metropolitan Cocktail
    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios
  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Serve and enjoy.

    Straining a Classic Brandy Metropolitan Cocktail
    The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

Tips

  • A cocktail this simple and transparent is a perfect use for top-shelf brandy. If it's a brand that you enjoy on its own or in cocktails like the B&B, it's a good choice for the metropolitan.
  • Sweet vermouth is a fortified wine and does not have the long shelf life of other bottles on the liquor shelf. If your bottle has been open longer than 3 months, it's likely gone stale and needs to be replaced.
  • Simple syrup is cheap and easy to make at home. All you need is sugar and water, the stovetop is optional.
  • For this and other classic cocktails, Angostura is the aromatic bitters of choice. There are many more bitters available today and some of the unique flavors can give the metropolitan a subtle and intriguing twist.

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of simple syrup, sweeten the metropolitan with 1/2 teaspoon of superfine sugar (also called bar sugar).
  • The brandy Manhattan typically skips the sweetener and uses less vermouth (either sweet or dry). To make it, stir 2 ounces brandy, 1/2 ounce vermouth, and a dash of aromatic bitters with ice, then strain into a cocktail glass. "The Savoy Cocktail Book" (1930) calls this a brandy vermouth cocktail.
  • In "The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book" (1935), A.S. Crockett shares a metropolitan recipe that uses 2/3 Manhattan bitters (obsolete, though possibly similar to Amer Picon) and 1/3 vermouth. There's no brandy or bitters.
  • A similar sweetened brandy drink is called the Harvard cocktail. In this classic recipe, 1 1/2 ounces brandy, 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth, 1/4 ounce lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of grenadine, and a dash of bitters are shaken then strained.
  • If you can't decide between brandy and whiskey, mix up a Saratoga cocktail. It pairs both spirits with sweet vermouth.

How Strong Is the Metropolitan?

Drinks like the metropolitan are very strong because they're made primarily of liquor. On average, the alcohol content is around 29 percent ABV (78 proof). That's nearly as strong as drinking the brandy alone, which is why it shakes up to just a few ounces.