Tuesday, February 28, 2012


A post on Autarch's forums reminded me of the classic Dungeons & Dragons character Warduke. If you don't remember him from the game, you may remember him from the cartoon that aired in the early 80. Mostly, I remember a suit of armor with a large set of horns, glowing eyes reaching out from under his helmet. What a great inspiration for a cocktail!

I wanted something wicked, so Hellfire bitters were a necessity. I didn't think tequila was the right spirit; rye had the right sort of spiciness I wanted, but I wanted a bit more complexity. I thought about adding some lime juice, but somehow that just didn't seem right. Of course, a glass of rye, however tasty, isn't a cocktail. I figured I could add vermouth, but that would just make it a Manhattan. I thought I'd try adding some brandy, to give it a bit more complexity (like any villain ought to have). I figured using dry vermouth would keep it from being too sweet, and there you have it. Dry vermouth, rye, and brandy equals a Warduke.

The taste is difficult to describe. The Hellfire bitters definitely give it a spicy kick, but there's definitely an underlying complexity in the interplay between the rye and the brandy. I suspect it might be a bit better if I used bourbon instead of rye; the rye tends to overpower the brandy a bit. Not too much though. You really can taste everything in here. Recipe after the jump.

Picture by Scott Beale/Laughing Squid, laughingsquid.com.

1 oz Brandy
1 oz Rye
.5 oz Dry Vermouth
Hellfire bitters
stir, strain into a coupe glass or a rocks glass neat, and serve.

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