I will be forever indebted to our friend David for introducing us to the Marconi Wireless.
Here is the generic recipe
1/3 sweet vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters
However, the recipe that David passed on to us is more refined:
3/4 oz Carpano Antica vermouth
1 3/4 Laird's Straight 100 proof Apple Brandy (bottled in bond)
. Not Laird's Apple Jack. Brandy. Straight. Bottled in bond. Capice?
2 dashes orange bitters.
The proportions, says David, must be precisely as stated above. A touch more or less brandy, a tad more or less vermouth, and the drink is off-balance.
I was determined to try a Marconi Wireless mixed exactly to David's specs, so we spent the next few weeks scanning the shelves of all our regular liquor purveyors. No luck. I knew all along that both Laird's and Carpano Antica are available at Hi-Time Cellars
, a couple freeways and 40 minutes away, but I was hoping to find them closer to home. Much to their credit, Claro's
in Tustin has a dusty bottle of Carpano on their vermouth shelf, but I didn't buy it there, because I needed the matched pair. Finally, last week, we had a chance to foray down to Costa Mesa and Hi-Time Cellars. If "foray down" is a term.
So we tried the Marconi Wireless last Saturday. And the best thing about it was that Number One Son insisted on mixing the cocktail (he does not imbibe yet, but he enjoys mixing and serving. We are truly fortunate). The first round was gently stirred with ice, per my instructions, and against No. 1's instincts (he wanted to stir vigorously). The first round was good. For the second round, I thought I'd indulge #1's impulse, and told him to shake the cocktail in a shaker with ice. The second round was surprisingly out-of-whack, too sweet, a little cloying. So for the final round, I told our barman to gently stir, as I originally specified. When the third round arrived, P and I were amazed. It was superior to the 2 prior versions. I asked our barman what the deal was, and he replied that the only thing he did differently was to stir it vigorously, as he originally intended.
Always trust your barman.
On a side note, Laird's apple brandy is marvelous. I'll put it up against any Calvados, certainly any Calvados available locally.
But an even greater discovery is Carpano Antica vermouth. I have 2 words for anyone who does anything with sweet vermouth: Get it. It is the vermouth of vermouths. So enthralled was I by its rich herbalosity, I was impelled to mix a Negroni that very same night. Best Negroni ever.