I recently finished reading The Mixellany Guide to Vermouth, which is probably the only book on vermouth in English- and a very good one to boot. It discusses the definition, origins, ingredients, and uses of vermouth and other fortified wines. It turns out that wormwood wine (‘vermouth’ is derived from the word for wormwood) dates back millennia and was used as an appetite stimulant. Who knew?
The book also lists modern and historic vermouth cocktails. One that caught my eye was the Matador. The authors say it comes from the Cafe Royal Cocktail Book from 1937, one of the first cocktail books to include tequila cocktails. It is also one of the first recipes using tequila and vermouth together.
I whipped up the drink at home and adjusted it ever-so-slightly from the original recipe. It packs quite a wallop unlike most citrusy tequila cocktails, but it has a very pleasing fruity flavor from the orange liqueur that dominates over the tequila. It didn’t taste at all like I was expecting but I don’t mind that one bit. It was a pleasant surprise.
Also unlike most tequila cocktails, this one should technically be stirred rather than shaken, because it contains all alcohol and no citrus. But if you like it with lots of dilution and those little ice crystals floating atop the drink, go ahead and shake.
Adapted from the Cafe Royal Bar Book
1 fl. oz. Silver/Blanco 100% Agave Tequila
.75 fl. oz. Dry/French/White Vermouth
.75 fl. oz. Curacao or Triple Sec (I used Cointreau)
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.