Byrrh once was a standard ingredient in the French bar; this recipe comes from Frank Meier, legendary head bartender at Paris's famed Ritz Bar from 1921 to 1947. Byrrh, which has not been reliably available in the United States since before Prohibition, is a red-wine-and-quinine concoction, in the same family as Dubonnet or the original-recipe Lillet.
In this namesake cocktail, byrrh takes the lead, with cognac and a dash of kirsch (cherry eau di vie) as the accent. The result is an old-timey walk back into the 19th century.
Byrrh Grand Quinquina is available at Ace Beverage in the District.
- 1 1/2 ounces byrrh
- 1 ounce cognac, preferably VSOP
- 1/4 ounce kirsch
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add the byrrh, cognac and kirsch. Shake well, then strain into a chilled cocktail (martini) glass.
Adapted from "The Artistry of Mixing Drinks," by Frank Meier (1936; fascimile edition published by Mud Puddle Books, 2009).
Tested by Michael Taylor and Jason Wilson.
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