Presenting one of the odder drinks in the book, the Vowel Cocktail:

  • 1.0 ounce Scotch
  • 1.0 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 0.5 ounce orange juice (preferably fresh squeezed)
  • 0.5 ounce kümmel (Gilka)
  • 1 or 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Shake in an iced cocktail shaker, and strain into a cocktail glass.

Okay, this is an odd one. Scotch cocktails are unusual (although the Blood and Sand is one of my favorites) and I’d never heard of kümmel before, but as I am determined to make all of the cocktails in the book, I put it on the shopping list.

I got the Gilka kümmel from Cask in San Francisco (you can’t find it in North Carolina) so now I have a great big bottle of it (grin). As an avid user of the Linux computer operating system, which has a penguin as its mascot, I was immediately fond of the brand, which features a penguin in a Kaiser helmet and a monocle.

I also recently got a copy of the Death and Co. cocktail book and noticed that they have their versions of many of the cocktails that Dr. Cocktail lists, so I plan to cross reference them as this experiment continues, but it appears the Vowel Cocktail is so obscure that even they don’t list it.

I did some research on kümmel cocktails and found The Remington which sounds a lot like The Vowel, just with more whiskey, so it seems like I’ll need to revisit the spirit in the future.

As for the Vowel Cocktail, I didn’t really care for it at first. I found the caraway liqueur bitter versus more of the licorice taste that I was expecting. Since I wasn’t too keen on it, after a few sips I did some other things and when I came back to it I found that the slight warm up made the drink much better. This is one you probably want to short shake.

Rating: 3/5 (more like a strong 2 but since I’m not doing partial scores it squeaks out a 3).

Notes: My go-to Scotch for cocktails is The Famous Grouse, a nice blend. I used Carpano Antica for the vermouth.

Vowel Cocktail