Creating New Cocktails with Fortified Wines


Using vermouth or another fortified wine, along with a base liquor and flavoring liqueur, is a simple way to make a good cocktail.  Jamie Boudreau calls this the “Golden Ratio.”  It is:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Base Liquor (gin, vodka, rye, tequila, etc.)
  • 3/4 oz. Fortified Wine (sweet or dry vermouth, Lillet, Punt e mes, Cocchi Americano, etc.)
  • 1/4 oz. Liqueur (you can go wild here!)Vermouths

This is the starting point.  A way to taste a new liqueur, develop a “custom” drink or recreate a cocktail you enjoyed.  For instance, I had a cocktail that contained Hendricks, sweet vermouth and Chartreuse.  Starting with the “Golden Ratio,” playing with green vs yellow Chartreuse, and tinkering with the ratio, I settled on this:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Hendricks Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Dolan Sweet Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. Green Chartreuse
  • Lemon zest

Another “for instance”: I was trying Cocchi Americano in various drinks.  To me, Cocchi Americano does not have the spice of a premium sweet vermouth.  What it does have is an herbal/bitter note.  I chose St. George’s Botanivore Gin as the base – herbal but not as much as Hendricks. For the liqueur, I used St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur vs Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur.  Here are the finals: Gin Ratio 1b

  • 1 1/2 oz. St. George’s Botanivore Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Cocchi Americano
  • 1/4 oz. St. Germain Elderflower LiqueurSt Germain
  • 4-5 drops Rhubarb Bitters
  • Lemon zest


  • 1 1/2 oz. St. George’s Botanivore Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Cocchi Americano
  • 1/2 oz. Luxardo Maraschino LiqueurLuxardo
  • 4-5 drops Rhubarb Bitters
  • Lemon zest

Both of these drinks are good.  Your guests will be impressed.  They may not order a second, but they will enjoy their first.

Now. lets push this a little further.  Substitute Aperol for the Cocchi Americano.  Aperol is not a fortified wine but it has a low ABV (11%) and is herbal/bitter.Gin Ratio 5

  • 1 1/2 oz. St. George’s Botanivore Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Aperol
  • 1/4 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • 4-5 drops Rhubarb Bitters
  • Lemon zest
  • Sprig of fresh thyme for garnish

All of the above are stirred with ice in a mixing glass, strained into a chilled cocktail glass and garnished.

Now for one more stretch.  The first cocktail listed above with Hendricks, sweet vermouth and chartreuse.  Add cucumber and shake with ice and you have the Lido Martini.Lido

Remember to use all premium liquors and liqueurs, and fresh premium vermouth.


One Comment

  1. Great post.
    I’ll be doing something like this in my Template Projects: Classics with the Manhattan cocktail.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *