The Fitzgerald

How to bring Gatsby to your next party.

I had a conversation with a speakeasy mixologist the other day who told me the virtue of the classic martini is that when you combine the three ingredients at the right proportions, you get something completely unique. It doesn’t taste like gin, or vermouth, or bitters/olive/lemon. It tastes like a martini.

The same is (almost) true of a slightly more accessible cocktail: the Fitzgerald. This drink is what you’d get if a gin sour grew up and moved out of its parents’ house.

The difference? The bitters. They add richness and depth to the ingredients here, and tie everything together. You can still tell it’s gin-based, but beyond that, the flavors meld together beautifully. The result is sweeter than a martini but more serious than a gin sour.

The Fitzgerald isn’t a classic cocktail (it was invented by Dale DeGroff in 2002). But it’s a twist on the gin sour, which is definitely a classic. So this is one of those rare cases when you’re drinking something that you’d swear came out of a Prohibition speakeasy…but is the product of someone still living who took time to know their craft. Cheers!

Directions

2 oz London Dry gin (Hendrick’s or Bombay Sapphire work great)
.75 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
.75 oz simple syrup (instructions below)
2 dashes angostura bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass.

Tips:

  • How to chill a glass quickly: fill it with ice before you start making the drink, and dump out the ice just prior to pouring. Alternatively, stick it in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  • A coupe glass is an old champagne glass like you see in Chariots of Fire; it was invented by the French in the 16th century or so for champagne, more history here, but it’s an idiotic design for a champagne glass the way people drink champagne nowadays, because it’s wide and shallow and the bubbles dissipate quickly. It was revived as the original martini glass in the early 20th century, before being replaced as such by the invention of what we now know as a martini glass. It’s making a comeback, along with many of the cocktails that originally made their homes in it. If you want to look classy with a ’20s or ’30s cocktail, use a coupe.
  • How to make simple syrup: simmer a mixture of half white sugar and half water, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Allow to cool. I like to make a cup or so of this at a time and keep it in my fridge in an olive oil dispenser for a week or so at a time.
Brian Brown

Brian Brown loves building the environments, habits, and networks that make people thrive. He is the founder of Humane Pursuits, where he writes a featured column and edits the Give channel. He started his consulting company, Narrator, to help great mission-driven organizations modernize and grow. He lives with his wife Christina and son Edmund in Colorado Springs, where they mix cocktails, hunt for historic architecture, and see how many people they can squeeze into their house for happy hour.

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