Sacrilegious or not this drink is delicious. The color is a lovely pumpkin orange which seems even more appropriate to the season. The smell starts with the orange followed by light herbal hints from the vermouth. The flavor is also very orangey with the vermouths playing a strong role. Even with a bold gin the vermouths are still solidly the base of the flavor.
On that note picking the right gin needs to be your first priority. With so many other bold flavors a light gin doesn’t hold up. I opted for Tanqueray and found its bold juniper flavor to be a great complement. You certainly want something with a juniper forward flavor. A citrus flavor would be lost completely to the orange juice and bitters.
The other ingredients are, of course, quite important and I suggest you go with whatever vermouths you like best and good fresh squeezed orange juice. That leaves the Grand Marnier, which if you making the straight version is exactly what you should use. However, there is another option, orange curacao for the curled variation. I tried both and quite frankly I can’t tell the difference. I think this is due in part to the small quantity used in the drink. But more to the point, Grand Marnier is simply a top shelf curacao in the same manner that Cointreau is a top shelf triple sec. So, assuming you’ve got decent curacao the difference between the two options should be negligible.
As for recipe ratios I found Gary Regan’s to be great. More than that almost all the other recipes I found were nearly identical save for the size. And size is the only tweak I recommend you make. With Gary’s original cocktail you only end up with about 2.75 oz of a fairly low strength cocktail. I suggest you double it.
Satan's Whiskers (Cocktail Hacker)
1 oz Gin 1 oz Dry Vermouth 1 oz Sweet Vermouth 1 oz Orange Juice 1/2 oz Grand Marnier 1 tsp Orange Bitters (~4-5 Dashes)
1) Combine ingredients in a shaker over ice 2) Shake until well chilled 3) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Finally, as with some previous cocktails this one works very well with a float of 2-3 oz of Champagne or other sparkling wine. It gives the drink a nice effervescence and works with the other flavors nicely. I hope you’ve all had a great Halloween week and that great cocktails were part of the festivities.