Let’s raise a glass to Leap Year, and let’s fill that glass with booze. In this case, the gin-based Leap Year Cocktail, a fitting drink for the once-every-four-years day of February 29th.
The Leap Year cocktail was created by Harry Craddock, famed bartender at the Savoy Hotel in London and author of the seminal drinks tome, the Savoy Cocktail Book. Craddock first crafted the drink in 1928, and though it hasn’t caught on as a mainstream cocktail, the eponymous drink is unearthed every four years in bars and boozy homes across the world.
Combining gin with Grand Marnier, sweet vermouth and lemon juice, the cocktail is strong, but easy-drinking, with a richness provided by the orange liqueur and vermouth. The recipe –
Leap Year Cocktail
2 oz gin
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
1/2 oz sweet vermouth
1/4 oz lemon juice
Shake all ingredients with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Here an orange liqueur substitute like triple sec just won’t do. This drink seems to require the rich, brandy-based Grand Marnier to play nicely with the sweet vermouth and scant 1/4 ounce of lemon juice. Gin wise, we like something versatile, like Plymouth, but feel free to experiment. And varying your sweet vermouth can really add complexity to the cocktail. Dolin Sweet Vermouth keeps things fairly standard, but tasty, while the richer Carpano Antica ads an almost caramel-chocolate candy note to the drink.
Whichever route you go, mix one up today. Especially if you’re angling for a marriage proposal, as according to Craddock, the Leap Year cocktail is said to have been “responsible for more marriage proposals than any other cocktail that has ever been mixed.”
Photo: Boulder Locavore