Vieux Carré Cocktail

Now that the weather is starting to change, days are getting shorter, nights are getting cooler, and I'm craving heavier drinks. Give me a stormy night, and I want to curl up on my couch, binge watch some tv, and have a bottle of red wine, or a good strong cocktail to nurse.

Enter the Vieux Carré. Named for the French Quarter in New Orleans (Vieux Carré means "old square" in French) this potent drink uses rye whisky, sweet vermouth, cognac and Bénédictine to create a spicy, warm cocktail that is somehow comforting when the weather is nasty or you feel particularly gloomy.

If you are unfamiliar with Bénédictine, it is a sweet medicinal liqueur invented, like Chartreuse, by monks. Unlike Chartreuse, which comes in two versions, green and yellow and has a more herbal/vegetal quality (think anise, mint, etc) Bénédictine is amber in color with a sweeter flavor that is spicier, think vanilla, nutmeg, coriander and cardamom. 

There are many recipe variations for Vieux Carré. From equal portions of all ingredients, to just a rinse of Bénédictine, this is definitely a drink that I needed to tinker with just a touch. If you like your cocktails on the sweet side, up your proportions of Bénédictine or sweet vermouth. I also really love Carpano Antica Formula sweet vermouth in my Vieux Carré. I find a lot of the more readily available sweet vermouths work, but I have to use less. Also, on the note of garnishes. Some use a twist of lemon to garnish, others a cherry, and some do both. I prefer no garnish, just the drink, on ice. You, of course, may garnish as you wish.

Add all the ingredients to an Old Fashioned glass. Add ice, stir, and enjoy!

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