Savoy Cocktail of the Week: Modder River Cocktail

Modder River Cocktail

1/4 French Vermouth
1/4 Caperitif
1/2 Dry Gin
Shake well and strain into glass. 

Last week we sampled the Modder River Cocktail; but first, a little history:

The Modder River Cocktail calls for Caperitif—sadly (as touched upon previously), this South African quinquina is now defunct. I opted to use my new favorite substitute for Kina Lillet: Cocchi Americano. As we know, quinquinas involve the bite of quinine necessary to keep dear old malaria at bay in tropical colonial territories—similarly we have drinks taken with tonic water. Subsequently, the quinine element became integral to many a modern cocktail.

As for the actual Modder River, it forms part of the border between the provinces of Northern Cape and Free State in South Africa. The Battle of Modder River took place on November 28, 1899 during the Second Boer War, known in Afrikaans as the Battle of Two Rivers (Slag van die Twee Riviere). It was a rather bloody day-long battle, with Boer forces having the upper hand throughout most of the day, inflicting far more injuries on the British side; however, determining their position to be vulnerable, Boer forces retreated during the night, ceding victory to the British.

The cocktail itself is a light, refreshing cocktail—as can be inferred from the ingredients. It’s not terribly “ginny,” but still plenty strong. I am intrigued to try it again, with various alternative substitutes for the Caperitif—Lillet Blanc, perhaps St. Raphael Gold if that can be found (used for the Savoy Stomp’s version of the Modder River), etc.

Next week I shall confront a cocktail named for the subject of nearly all my graduate work up to this point:

The Napoleon

1 Dash Fernet Branca
1 Dash Curacao
1 Dash Dubonnet
1 Glass Dry Gin

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel on top.


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Filed under Savoy Cocktail Book Project

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