Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Ten Ton Cocktail (or is it Tenton?)

[Revised slightly 3/2/2007]

Here's one I tried last weekend. I had a nice grapefruit that needed using before it headed south so I juiced it and hit CocktailDB for ideas. I was in the mood for something with rye whiskey and CocktailDB turned up the Ten Ton Cocktail (or Tenton Cocktail).
Ten Ton (tenton) Cocktail

1½ oz rye
½ oz dry vermouth
½ oz grapefruit juice

Shake in iced cocktail shaker & strain. Add cherry.
There seems to be some confusion about this one and it goes beyond whether there's a space between "ten" and "ton". CocktailDB also has a Ten Ton Cocktail #2 which features gin and kümmel rather than rye and grapefruit juice. Mixology.com lists this gin/kümmel version as the Tenton Cocktail. So I dunno what to think and Googling didn't turn up much else. I prefer "Tenton" because I don't see how "Ten Ton" fits this drink. Even had I made it with 100 proof rye it's not exactly a drink that hits you like a ton of bricks. It is light and dry and extremely refreshing.

As for "tenton", well, your guess is as good as mine. Is it a town? Is it a bartender, actor, bar, hotel, city, racehorse...? I dunno. CocktailDB doesn't often include the provenance of its cocktails so I don't even know what book this came from. I checked a couple older ones and came up empty. Lemme know if you can shed any light. Meanwhile, I guess I'll call it the Tenton Cocktail but, by any name, two parts rye to one part dry vermouth and one part grapefruit juice is a very, very nice, very simple cocktail.

I used Old Overholt rye, Noilly Prat dry vermouth and fresh-squoze grapefruit juice. I skipped the cherry though I suppose one of my rye-soaked beauties might have made a nice addition. I chose Old Overcoat thanks to Sam Kinsey's "research" in rye whiskey. Sam (aka slkinsey) is one of the big guns in the eGullet drinks forum. He's not a pro--that is, he doesn't tend bar or write cocktail books--but his posts at eGullet show that he most definitely knows his way around a liquor cabinet and knows his cocktail history. That he's also "in" with the NYC cocktail elite--Wondrich, Saunders et al--only adds to my estimation of the man as a font of cocktail wisdom. So, when Sam posts that Old Overholt is his preferred rye in The Blinker I listen. And when an Old Overholt Blinker (the raspberry syrup version) turns out to be surprisingly tasty--unlike my less-than-memorable previous attempts made with the generally superior Rittenhouse rye--well, it's the kind of lesson that sticks.

Oh, yeah, and one more thing: I made several of these over the course of last weekend and, as a member of the "everything's better with bitters" school of cocktail geekology I thought for sure that the drink could be improved with a dash of something or other. It turns out that neither Peychaud's bitters or Regan's Orange bitters were an improvement. In fact, what they added was an off-note that threw off the balance of the drink. I also tried one with a dash of Angostura bitters. This didn't make for a better drink either but it wasn't necessarily any worse, just different. I can say, though, that all Tenton cocktails in my future will be sans bitters.

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