Every now and then a drink can be a bit lighter and doesn’t have to come up with a high dose of a spirit. The Bamboo Cocktail is a wonderfully fresh, fairly dry and slightly aromatic drink. The 1:1 mixture of dry sherry and dry vermouth is rounded off with a few Dashes Orange Bitters.
Some recipes add Angostura Bitters, which of course give the drink a different color. We prefer to leave it with the clear drink, but add a little triple sec – that makes the drink just a touch sweeter and emphasizes the subtle orange note.
But above all, it shows that a cocktail works even without a real spirit as a base. This creates a variety of possibilities, because sherry and vermouth have an immense range.
The Bamboo Cocktail is an important drink for Japanese bar culture. It is also a great low ABV concoction.
The Original Recipe
The various traditional recipes for the bamboo cocktail mix its components in different proportions. In most cases, equal parts of sherry and vermouth are required. But this doesn’t seem to be the original recipe.
Rather, you have to look to Japan to find out what the cocktail was meant to be. Keisuke Oda, successor to Louis Eppinger in the Grand Hotel Yokohama, which was renamed “New Grand Hotel” in 1913, states that the Bamboo Cocktail should be mixed with three parts sherry and one part vermouth. This relationship is confirmed both by the first American evidence and by the common practice in Japan.
The Bamboo Cocktail is characterized by its dryness and lightness. It is therefore important for a bamboo cocktail to use a dry sherry and a dry vermouth. Most Japanese bartenders prefer a fino.
This may be related to the fact that this sherry style goes best with Japanese cuisine and is recommended as an accompaniment to sushi and sashimi.
The choice of vermouth depends on how dry you prefer your drinks. Dolin Dry keeps this recipe on the drier side.
If you prefer some sweetness, you can add a bar spoon of triple sec. Alternatively, you can use Dolin Blanc which is a semi-dry vermouth, or equal parts Antica Formula sweet vermouth and Dolin Dry.
- 2 oz Dry Sherry fino or manzanilla
- 2/3 to 1 oz Dry Vermouth
- 1 Bar Spoon Triple Sec optional
- 1-2 dashes Orange Bitters
- Mix all ingredients together with ice in a mixing glass for approximately 30 seconds until cold.
- Strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass.
- Garnish with a lemon zest.
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