This is probably one of the best cocktail names ever put to paper. There’s just a little twinge of the Inferno in there, evoking Dante and Virgil scrambling up Satan’s fur to escape the center of Hell. Or, perhaps, just yanking on Old Scratch’s beard after imbibing a few potent glasses of aqua vitae. Either way, what better drink to get everyone in the Halloween mood?
“We contend that the ‘curled’ Satan’s Whiskers is more diabolic… we sip our Satan’s Whiskers curled if it’s still light outside and straight if it’s not.”
So says Paul Harrington in Cocktail: The Drinks Bible for the 21st Century, and I am not one to quibble with his declaration. The Satan’s Whiskers first shows up in the Savoy Cocktail Book circa 1930, and it appears in two variations: straight, when mixed with Grand Marnier, and curled, when mixed with orange curaçao. Since both versions appear together there is no “official” declaration of which drink is the original or correct one, so the recipe depends upon good old-fashioned personal preference.
½ oz gin
½ oz sweet vermouth
½ oz dry vermouth
½ oz fresh orange juice
2 tsp orange curaçao (curled) or Grand Marnier (straight)
1 tsp orange bitters
Shake well with ice and strain into an iced cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
This is a very classic cocktail, so I’m sure the gin and vermouth have raised a few brows. It is quite good, however, and the curaçao and orange juice make this less likely to spook vermouth-wary guests. I used blood orange juice in mine to give it a little more color, and you can make long orange twists early in the day, curl them around a chopstick and leave them in a glass of ice water until it’s time to use them. The ice water helps them keep their shape and it saves you time when you’re manning the bar. This drink is also lower proof than many cocktails that contain a large portion of liquor, so this is a nice one to serve at parties before people are expected to hop in the car and drive home.
On that note, this drink wraps up this year’s series of Halloween cocktails. Cheers, happy haunting, and have a fantastic All Hallows Eve!