Despite its spooky name and eerie orange glow, Satan’s Whiskers is not the least bit diabolical. Unlike many vintage cocktails that shape-shifted their way across the decades, this drink’s somehow kept its original form throughout time.
Both the Savoy Cocktail Book and Patrick Gavin Duffy’s Official Mixer’s Manual call for equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, dry vermouth, and orange juice, plus half as much Grand Marnier as gin, and a dose of orange bitters. Some sources call for equal parts of all the ingredients and a dash of bitters; others hew to a half-measure of liqueur and also decrease the juice.
Truth be told, there’s more variation to be had from using different brands of vermouths (especially the sweet varieties) than any of these minor tweaks will afford; we like the flavor of Cinzano Rosso best, both on its own and mixed in the Whiskers. We used Sarticious gin — yet another local liquor, distilled over the hill in Santa Cruz — but any straightforward dry gin will do the trick.
Being great lovers of compromise, our recipe below is mostly Savoy, with a little extra bitters. If your liquor cabinet lacks Grand Marnier, you can substitute orange curacao for a variation known as “curled”. And if autumn’s chill gives you a craving for dark spirits, you might follow the lead of our friends at the Zig Zag Cafe, who make a delicious alternative dubbed Satan’s Soulpatch, replacing the gin with bourbon.
Satan’s Whiskers (Straight)
3/4 oz dry gin
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
3/4 oz dry vermouth
3/4 oz fresh-squeezed orange juice
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
2-3 dashes orange bitters
Shake all ingredients with ice; strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
For Satan’s Whiskers (Curled): Substitute orange curaçao for the Grand Marnier
For Satan’s Soulpatch: Substitute bourbon for the gin
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