For this month’s Mixology Monday, I decided to highlight a cocktail called the Diamondback, which I first saw in the September/October 2007 issue of Imbibe magazine.
Our taskmaster, Rick, demands we tax our livers with drinks that “contain at least 3oz of 80-proof spirit or have less than 1/2oz of non-spiritness.” No Rick! Don’t throw me in the briar patch! Anything but the briar patch!
The recipe in Imbibe credited the Diamondback as Murray Stenson’s variant of a recipe that first appeared in the book Bottom’s Up, by Ted Saucier. Saucier’s volume calls the drink the Diamondback Lounge and credits it to the Lord Baltimore Hotel, in Baltimore, Md. The hotel itself is still around, but I see nothing about the Diamondback Lounge.
Saucier’s original calls for rye, applejack, and yellow Chartreuse. Stenson’s says rye, applejack, and green Chartreuse. (Don’t worry; I’ll list both recipes at the end.) You might see where I’m going with this. I chose bonded rye (100 proof), bonded applejack (100 proof), and green Chartreuse (110 proof).
That’s a lotta proof.
When I first mixed this drink, I realized immediately that it had a strong bite and so I understandably assumed that both the drink and the lounge were named after this charming critter:
Turns out, I was probably wrong.
As I was researching this post, I learned that an animal called the diamondback terrapin is the state reptile of Maryland. Sports fans should recognize the terrapin as the mascot of the University of Maryland, and college-journo geeks (I know you’re out there) will remember that the U of M student publication is the Diamondback. So, the real culprit for my achin’ head? This beast:
Man, I thought it was a snake fucking me up. Turns out it was a freakin’ turtle. I’m so embarrassed.
Diamondback Lounge, Bottom’s Up
- 1 jigger rye whiskey (I used Rittenhouse bonded)
- 1/2 jigger applejack (Laird’s bonded)
- 1/2 jigger yellow chartreuse
Technique: Shake well. Serve over ice in old-fashioned glass. Decorate with sprig of fresh mint.
This is okay, although it’s a little mild, and I don’t think the mint adds anything.
Diamondback, from Imbibe
- 1-1/2 oz. rye whiskey
- 3/4 oz. applejack
- 3/4 oz. green Chartreuse
- Ice cubes
- Garnish: Cherry
Technique: Stir ingredients with ice in a mixing glass. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish.
photo by Jennifer Hess
You’ll note from the photo above that I forgot the garnish. A cherry makes more sense to me here than mint does, anyway. This is a better drink than the version with yellow Chartreuse, since the green has more backbone and brings more botanical notes to the drink. Still, I think equal parts applejack and Chartreuse result in a drink that’s a tad too sweet for my tastes.
Hence, if you’ll forgive me…
- 1-1/2 oz. rye whiskey
- 1 oz. applejack
- 1/2 oz. green Chartreuse
Build in an old-fashioned glass over ice. Stir until chilled. Garnish with your own best wishes or deepest fears.