Orange juice, as I am by far not the first to note, is a surprisingly difficult ingredient in cocktails.  Most modern oranges are not particularly tart and, in the worst cases, tend towards wateriness.  Many cocktails which are fine in theory, like the Bronx, seem to fall apart into blandness from the orange juice.  Others, like the Monkey Gland, seem to run headlong into a carcrash of terrible, Robitussin-y flavors originating from herbal elements refusing to play nicely with orange juice.  The actual classic involving orange juice – your Blood & Sand or Olympic – is a rare beast.

Yesterday I was searching for a new drink to use some of my abundant winter citrus in, and I came across the Tango.  While the original seemed like just a herbal variation on a Bronx, the rum variation seemed to have some potential.  After a post-shake preliminary sample, I decided to bitter it up a bit – I like Angostura with my rum and citrus.

Tango #2 (CocktailDB):

  • 3/4 ozwhite rum (Appleton V/X)
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth (Dolin)
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth (Dolin)
  • 1/2 oz Benedictine
  • 1/2 oz orange juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
    Shake well with ice, strain into a cocktail glass.

The Tango #2 was actually pretty good!  With only 1 1/4 oz of serious alcohol it was pleasantly light, and the orange juice and Benedictine worked very well together to produce a nice, honeyed, only slightly medicinal flavor.  The bitters helped keep everything crisp and interesting.  I would actually consider making this again; maybe the gin version is worth exploring, as a sort of in-kind substitute for the unjustly famous Monkey Gland.

Even Yeats would have hated the Monkey Gland.