Yacht Club Cocktail

We’re thinking warm thoughts these days. Spring has been officially here for almost a month, but we’ve barely had any decent weather. Before we know it though, we’ll be be complaining about how hot it is! Of course, we would complain less if we were at the Yacht Club sipping a cocktail.

The mixologist member of the Cocktail Artist team was perusing one of our favorite cocktail books (The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book by Frank Caiafa) and came across the recipe for the Yacht Club cocktail. We had some surplus apricot liqueur after experimenting with it in the Coronation Cocktail, and the recipe sounded like a good way to put it to use. The Waldorf’s version of the Yacht Club uses white rum, apricot liqueur, sweet vermouth, and orange bitters. As usual, we changed things around a bit to create our own spin on the drink, but we did retain the slightly pink color by using True Grenadine in place of the sweet vermouth. We wanted a bit of sweet and tart flavor and real grenadine (made from pomegranate juice) did the trick. If you don’t have access to a high quality grenadine, you can make you own - but (as we have cautioned before) DON’T use that neon pink stuff that is commercially available in grocery and liquor stores. It’s way too sweet and it doesn’t have that bit of tartness that real grenadine has. You can find a number of recipes on the web which vary in the ratio of pomegranate to sugar, but we favor this one from The Kitchn that is on the tart side.

The other big change we made from the Waldorf’s cocktail was to substitute Brazilian Cachaça for white rum. Cachaça is often thought of as Brazil’s Rum, but it’s made from fermented cane juice (not molasses as rum is). It’s believed that cachaça production began around 1550 after the introduction of sugarcane into Brazil. Back in the day, the captains of sailing vessels bound for the Far East would often stop at Rio de Janeiro for provisions - including a supply of cachaça for their crew's "rum ration." For centuries, cachaça was consumed almost exclusively by the lower classes (including sailors). In recent years, thanks to craft cocktails, cachaça has become known internationally - mostly thanks to the caipirinha cocktail.

We chose Espirito Cachaça Classico from a Brazilian craft distillery. We have to admit that we were initially attracted by the bottle - which has a very cool mid-century modern etched glass pattern, but the spirit inside is worthy of the packaging. We haven’t yet tried their aged cachaça (Dourado) but now that we’ve realized the possibilities of cachaça, we’ll be on the look out for it.

April’s Home Bar Awards challenge is “Spring Break”, and we think our Yacht Club Cocktail is a good choice to break out of winter and into spring. The Artist has been working to prepare his sailboat (not exactly a “yacht”) for spring and he’s done a couple of watercolor paintings depicting this scene. We also paired our Yacht Club Cocktail (garnished with a lemon “sail) with a painting of novice sailors at sailing school. Perhaps we’ll have to mix up a batch of these cocktails to bring with us to watch the next regatta!


Yacht Club

2 ounces Cachaça (Espirito Cachaça Classico)
1 ounce Apricot Liqueur (Blume Marillen Apricot Eau-de-Vie)
1/2 ounce True Grenadine (True Syrups Grenadine)
2 dashes Grapefruit Bitters (Dashfire Bitters)

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake for 15 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lemon peel "sail".

The Yacht Club cocktail ingredients

Yacht Club cocktail and The Club - original watercolor by The Cocktail Artist

Sailing School - original watercolor by The Cocktail Artist

Spring Cleaning - original watercolor by The Cocktail Artist

The Club - original watercolor by The Cocktail Artist

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