Satan’s Whiskers

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First appearing in the Savoy Cocktail Book of 1930, both the name and hefty potency of this drink are evocative of the Jazz Age. A rich marmalade in colour with a bouquet that combines orange, ginger and toffee, the Satan’s Whiskers is far from being a hellish torment for the taste buds. ‘Very smooth and gentle,’ writes cocktail guru Robert Hess. ‘A good drink to introduce people to the joys of cocktails.’ Maybe I overdid the orange bitters since my tasting panel (Mrs H) thought it ‘a bit strong for an entry-level cocktail.’ Quite sweet but with a pleasing dry edge, Satan’s Whiskers comes in two versions: straight (with Grand Marnier) or curled (with Cointreau). The former works best in this spicy libation. The vital element of orange bitters, a must for any cocktail cabinet worthy of the name, is available online or even from some supermarkets. My tasting panel even detected a psychological effect redolent of the era of flappers and flivvers. ‘Makes you feel a bit frisky,’ she said. What could be better for a Hallowe’en nightcap?

Christopher Hirst

20ml gin
20ml Noilly Prat dry vermouth
20ml sweet (red) vermouth
20ml fresh squeezed orange juice
10ml Grand Marnier
Two or three splashes orange bitters (I used Fee Bros)

Shake vigorously with whole ice cubes and strain into cocktail glasses


Photo credit: swanksalot via Visual hunt /  CC BY-NC-SA