It stands to reason vermouth is the spirit that carries the flavor of this Ampersand cocktail. Noilly Prat works exceedingly well with Grand Marnier in picking up flavors of chocolate and orange, something that carries well with the theme of orange bitters and fresh orange zest. Hennessy Cognac comes alive in cocktails with deeper richer flavor in my opinion, so it has been used specifically in this case. However, definitely use brandy or another brand of cognac if you prefer.
1 ounce Hennessy Cognac VSOP
1 ounce Plymouth Gin
1 ounce Noilly Prat Sweet Vermouth
1/4 ounce Grand Marnier
2 Dash Angostura Bitters
Orange Twist Garnish
Combine liquids in mixing glass with ice. Stir to chill completely. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with fresh orange twist.
First taste vermouth washes with a wallop. Not for the faint of heart. Light on orange. Lightly sweet with delectable tell tale signs of bitter orange. Lovely classic cocktail.
The original Ampersand recipe calls for 2 dashes Orange Bitters, 1/3 Brandy, 1/3 Gin, 1/3 Italian Vermouth and 2 dashes Curacao to top. – The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book, A.S. Crockett. It is speculated that this cocktail’s name comes from the “&” in Martini & Rossi as the original brand vermouth used. – Difford’s Guide
Trivia: “In old schoolbooks the ampersand was printed at the end of the alphabet and thus by 1880s had acquired a slang sense of “posterior, rear end, hindquarters.”” – Online Etymology Dictionary
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