The star cocktail is a fantastic apple brandy cocktail. It is simple, sophisticated, and a true classic; the recipe made its print debut in George J. Kappeler's 1895 bartending guide, "Modern American Drinks."
If you enjoy the metropolitan, this cocktail offers a similar experience with a somewhat more complex taste. In it, the brandy becomes apple brandy, which plays just as well off the sweet vermouth. Those two ingredients are poured equally, however, so this recipe starts out with a slightly different base. Like its more famous counterpart, this recipe also uses a syrup and bitters as accents, but both come with a twist.
Gather the ingredients.
In a mixing glass filled with ice, pour the apple brandy, sweet vermouth, bitters, and syrup.
Garnish with a lemon twist.
Serve and enjoy!
- This cocktail deserves a great apple brandy. Be sure to choose carefully and read the labels. Many of today's apple brandies are made with sugar—technically making them liqueurs—and will be disappointing. Spend a little more money on a true apple brandy and you'll enjoy a spectacular star cocktail.
- As was common at the time, this recipe uses gomme (gum) syrup to sweeten the drink. Most people today use standard simple syrup and one could argue that this accommodation for modern bartending has brought the drink down a bit. For a taste of the original, pour the gomme option.
- In his writing, Kappeler also suggests using either Peychaud or Angostura Aromatic Bitters. Either makes a great cocktail, but Peychaud is preferred by most star cocktail enthusiasts.
- In a pinch, you can pour a standard brandy (made from grapes rather than apples) into this cocktail. If you want to give it a hint of apple flavor, a four-day infusion of apples is a good option. For a quick alternative, you can muddle a few slices of apple with your brandy then strain out the fruit before mixing the drink.
- The chrysanthemum cocktail is very similar to the star cocktail. The difference is that it pours regular brandy and dry vermouth, then accents those with absinthe.
- When you're in the mood for citrus, mix up the Fabiola cocktail. The recipe simply requires brandy, dry vermouth, and orange liqueur. It's fabulous with a good apple brandy as well.
- The Saratoga cocktail brings whiskey into the mix. Again, this one is great with apple brandy, though you could stick with the traditional choice of Cognac.
How Strong Is the Star Cocktail?
Laird's Apple Brandy is a popular option for the star cocktail, so it's a good choice for estimating the strength of this drink. With that 100-proof spirit, you can expect this cocktail to be around 27 percent ABV (54 proof). This is right in line with similar cocktails, including the martini and Manhattan.