MxMo LII: Forgotten Cocktails – Cameo Kirby

Forgotten Cocktails, that’s the topic for November 2010 Mixology Monday event hosted by Dennis at his Rock & Rye blog.

The topic is not easy as it seems at first time. Here in Russia cocktails are not forgotten, they’re unknown.

I’ve remembered one cocktail  I saw earlier at «Approved Cocktails, authorized by UK bartenders guild» by Harry Craddock. Cameo Kirby, it looks like another Martini-like cocktail, and then I’ve tried it but can’t find anything about it in Internet except one more Google-book  «Gourmet’s Guide to New Orleans» by Natalie Vivian Scott and Caroline Merrick Jones.

The title Cameo Kirby is known thanks to old movie released in 1923. Who knows, maybe the cocktail was named after that criminal drama.

I like this recipe because of its wonderful vintage proportion (equal parts of gin and vermouth and dashes of syrup and juice) and nice combination of botanicals and raspberry. I’m sure that rich raspberry flavour fits gin perfectly as well as dry vermouth.

I’m used to making my own syrups and at the moment I have had no any commercial syrups. That’s not a problem. I’ve took a small jar of Russian traditional raspberry varenye, a homemade raspberry conserve consisting of berries cooked in syrup made of natural juice and sugar. For my taste, the syrup from raspberry varenye is much better than commercial syrup so I preferred it.

Cameo Kirby

  • 30 ml gin (Bombay Sapphire),
  • 30 ml dry vermouth (Noilly Prat),
  • 1 tsp raspberry syrup (homemade),
  • 5 drops of fresh lime juice.

Shake with ice and double strain into chilled cocktail glass.

Cameo Kirby

I can’t understand importance of five lime juice drops but added it as it written in the recipe.

Cameo Kirby is definitely Martini-like cocktail. Strong and delightful combination of gin and dry vermouth here is amazing but this cocktail is more than another-one-martini-version. The difference is in small teaspoon of thick raspberry syrup.

Being mixed with other components and water from ice, the syrup creates unique bittersweet flavour that works very well with gin’s sharp botanicals and smooth and spicy wine undertone from vermouth. Also it adds some mildness to the drink.

The sip is bitter at the start but on the swallow you can feel nice raspberry wine taste, sweet, a bit spicy and dry in the beginning of aftertaste. Later gin and vermouth bitterness returns on the foreground making finish pleasantly noble and dry.

As a result, Cameo Kirby cocktail brings sophisticated aroma of botanicals and raspberry with subtle dryness in aftertaste. It’s well-balanced, harmonious, deep and fresh. I have no idea why people forgot it… Do you have any thoughts about it?

Added 22.11.2010

Thanks to Horrido who helped me to learn another Cameo Kirby recipe, now I taste New Orleans version with sweet vermouth and lime juice.

Cameo Kirby (adapted from «Gourmet’s Guide to New Orleans»)

  • 30 ml gin (Bombay Sapphire),
  • 30 ml sweet vermouth (Cinzano Rosso),
  • 30 ml fresh lime juice,
  • 2 tsp raspberry syrup (homemade).

Shake and strain into cocktail glass.

This one looks richer and stronger. The main note is Cinzano – floral, winy, a little tart. Lime works well supporting gin and balancing vermouth’s sweetness. The syrup flavour disappears in Cinzano aroma. Gin combines with vermouth adding more herbs aftertastes.

Definitely New Orleans version differs from Craddock’s version. It’s not Martini, it looks like Italian vermouth solo work.

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