MxMo XLX: Brown, Bitter and Stirred – Rendevous

Mixology Monday is in action again, and that’s great!

Thanks to Lindsey Johnson, next MixMo event is hosted at her Brown Bitter and Stirred blog. And the theme for the event is the same – Brown, Bitter and Stirred!

I like bitter cocktails very much so that’s nice to make something like Rob Roy or Manhattan. But later I changed my mind and decided to be more orthodoxal. No bourbon, no rum and no scotch. Only dry London gin – bitter and strong. And as regards requested brown colour, Italian amari can tint my gin.

Recently one recipe caught my eye. Very simple and promising , it was Rendevous at Dr. Bamboo blog.  I wasted no time and made it immediately. That was nice, and I’ve decided to return to the cocktail when I’ll be in creative mood.

Now I feel up to stir one more Rendevous and to adapt it to my taste.

Here is the original recipe that I snatched from Dr. Bamboo (he wrote that it’s from «The Martini Book» by Sally Ann Berk ).


  • 45 ml gin (here and below Bombay Sapphire used),
  • 15 ml cherry brandy (L’Heritier-Guyot Le Cherry Brandy used),
  • 8 ml Campari.

Stir with ice and serve in cocktail glass.

Nice drink for gin lovers  like me, amazing aftertaste of  juniper, almonds and angelica with slight and sweet cherry hint.

Good effort but too predictable because of huge amount of gin. Too much botanicals in flavor, palate is dry but not bitter. Red color from cherry brandy and Campari…  Definitely that’s not good enough for the current event.

I think it could be improved a little. Or just adapted for the event theme.

Firstly I removed Campari and introduced Fernet Branca, well-known Italian amaro, robust, herbal and very bitter.

The second move was the substitution of cherry infused brandy for L’Heritier-Guyot Le Cherry Brandy liquor.

My infusion based on French Marceau VSOP brandy was made earlier. I just placed fresh ripe cherries in jar, filled up the jar with brandy and kept it for two weeks in dark cool place. Then added a little water and simple syrup and bottled.

My cherry infused brandy is tart and a bit sweet, with natural cherry flavor, slight brandy aftertaste and dark reddish color.

Rendevous (my bitter version)

  • 45 ml gin,
  • 15 ml cherry infused brandy,
  • 8 ml Fernet Branca.

Stir with ice and serve in cocktail glass.


Well, that’s a good thing. Bitter, dry in the end and a little tart, this version combines bitter aromas of gin and Fernet with marvellously  natural cherry taste in the background.

This version was delightfully, deeply bitter and absolutely devoided of long and obtrusive dry aftertaste.

Once again I noted a perfect combination of Fernet and cherry flavours. What a wonderful pair they are!

Sipping my bitter Randevous, I was searching for more information about this cocktail and to my surprise found another version at CocktailDB where kirsch substitutes for cherry brandy. That was very interesting and promised more bitterness for my opinion so I intended to try kirsch in my further Rendevous adaptation.

To soften excessive bitterness, I used Ramazzotti, another Italian amaro, not too bitter but smooth, herbal and a bit sweety.

Rendevous (my extra bitter version)

  • 45 мл gin,
  • 15 мл kirschwasser,
  • 2 tsp Ramazzotti,
  • 1 tsp Fernet Branca.

Stir with ice and serve in cocktail glass.


I found there chamomile, wormwood, juniper, angelica, ginger, milfoil. Other herbs and roots are indistinguishable but present on the background.

Extra bitter Rendevous starts with strong bitter flavor and continues with dry and astringent palate. Strong bitterness here is a bit transient, it quickly comes to warm and dry herbal aftertaste. No cherry flavor was spotted, only light hint of almonds from kirsch (or gin, who knows?).

Unique taste, very bitter and herbal. Definitely not for all but I like it.

MxMo XLX: Brown, Bitter and Stirred logo