The Carrol Cocktail

Aug 8, 2017

The Carrol Cocktail is up next in Mr. Boston’s 1935 bartender’s guide and it sounded delicious!

Any cocktail recipe comprised of Brandy and Italian Vermouth is A-OK with me. Since the Carrol Cocktail is only made up from these two ingredients, I knew this one would be a winner.

Also published in Harry Craddock’s Savoy book in 1930, I have a suspicion that this drink was named after a popular musical actress of the era named Nancy Carrol. Nancy starred in the movie “Manhattan Cocktail” along side Richard Arlen in 1928. The Carrol Cocktail is at it’s core a Manhattan made with Brandy, so the pieces seem to fit. The only ingredient missing is the bitters.

manhattan cocktail movie 1928

Nancy Carrol starred in the Manhattan Cocktail two years before the Carrol Cocktail recipe was published in Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930.

The increase in Italian Vermouth makes up for the missing bittering ingredient as the Antica Formula packs a serious kick of Wormwood at the end. Unlike the Brandy Vermouth Cocktail we tried out a few weeks back, the Carrol ups the ratio from 1 part Brandy and 1/3 part Vermouth to 1 part Brandy, 1/2 part Vermouth.

The other key difference between the Mr. Boston’s Carrol and the Savoy recipe is the use of Old Mr. Boston’s Apricot Nectar (I used Serbian Apricot Brandy in mine) verses plain ol’ Brandy. The result is a nice stone fruit beverage with the sophistication only a good Vermouth can add.

Finally, the most confusing change between the two vintage cocktail recipes for the Carrol is the garnish. Leo Cotton’s version played it safe with a “cherry on top”. This choice seems fitting for a Manhattan style cocktail. Harry on the other hand had something more savory in mind for his Carrol.

Pickled Walnuts

I had never heard of pickled walnuts until this evening. They don’t look very appealing but apparently have been a mentioned in several literary works including Charles Dicken’s “Pickwick Papers” in 1836. The process of making said pickled walnuts, involves soaking the green unshelled nuts in salty brine for 10 days, dried in the sun until black and jarred with a pickling solution that generally uses a blend of vinegar and spices. I think a cherry sounds more my speed.

If you were not able to source pickled walnuts, Harry suggested the alternate onion be used to garnish the Carrol Cocktail.

Earlier in the day, Ryan and I made our way over to the antique mall to see if they had any treasures we could use for this blog or add to our vintage bar tools section of our web-store for sale. As luck would have it, we found several new pieces of glass and two awesome vintage shakers. I decided to use one of the glasses I picked up for my Carrol Cocktail.

The lightness of the Apricot Brandy seems to have amplified the bitter Wormwood in the Vermouth. It isn’t unpleasant but seems to be more noticeable than when I mix up a Rob Roy with similar proportions. Ryan’s first impression was that it was “a spicy meatball!” Noting that he thought I’d added Rye to the shaker. I didn’t think it was spicy but it definitely delivers a kick for a tiny 2 ounce drink.

While I liked the Carrol, I was surprised that I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. It is a good drink to be sure but I think that it the proportions of the Brandy Vermouth Cocktail made more since. Next time maybe I should try it with the pickled walnut 🙂