Mixology Monday: Inverted Cocktails

Last week, Putney Farm announced that the theme for Mixology Monday LXX is “Inverted.” We like the idea of inverted cocktails, which can mean anything from reversing the proportions of the ingredients to bringing a different twist to it, and decided that it would be fun to participate. Since the announcement came the day after the 49ers lost the Super Bowl, we originally thought of coming up with a Monday Mourning Cocktail, where our inversion would be to make the cocktail white (clear), the color of mourning in many cultures. We also decided that the inversion would be based on the New Orleans classic cocktail, Vieux Carré, in keeping with the Super Bowl theme where the game was played, and also in honor of Mardi Gras this week.


The Vieux Carré was created in the late 1930’s by Walter Bergeron at the Carousel Bar located in the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans. The cocktail, named after the French Quarter (“old square”), was first published in the 1937 book, Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em. It features equal parts Rye Whiskey, Cognac and Sweet Vermouth mixed in with Bénédictine and bitters. The drink should be served over ice in an old fashioned glass, but we prefer to drink it up.

Vieux Carré
3/4 oz. Rye Whiskey (Wild Turkey Rye)
3/4 oz. Cognac (Courvoisier)
3/4 oz. Sweet Vermouth (Antica Carpano)
1 barspoon Bénédictine
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir all ingredient with ice in a mixing glass, strain into a chilled cocktail glass (or an old fashioned glass filled with ice) and garnish with a cherry.

For the inversion, we had already decided that we would be using the Vya Whisper Dry Vermouth, which is a great choice for an inverted Gin Martini. Cocchi Americano or Lillet would have been other good choices, but we were looking for something that added the true “vermouth” flavor. Vya Whisper, made by Quady Winery (known for their Essencia dessert wine), is a high quality off-dry Vermouth made in Central California that is perfectly clear.

We figured that the real challenge was to come up with a clear grain-based alcohol for the whiskey, and a grape-based replacement for the Cognac. For the whiskey, we were fortunate to find the High West Silver OMG, which is made with 100% rye grain. The Old MononGahela (OMG) is based on an original style rye whiskey made in the 1800’s in Pennsylvania, and is named after the river near the distillery. Made with 80% rye mixed with 20% malted rye and aged in oak for 5 minutes, High West’s OMG has a sweet finish and complexity (from the malted rye) that can’t be found in many other corn-mash based moonshine.

We thought that the grape-based replacement would be harder to narrow down, but we came up with 3 clear brandy choices: Pisco, Grappa and an Eau de Vie:

Campo de Encanto Pisco is an award-winning Peruvian Pisco created by three San Franciscans, so it was a natural choice for us to try. We also thought of using a Northern Italian Grappa, made by Nardini, which we know has a very clean smooth finish. Originally not part of the plan, the shopping trip surfaced the Rémy Martin V, a clear Eau de Vie which is not considered a cognac since it is not aged in barrels, but is made with French grapes.

We ran several trials using a 1:1:1 ratio of Vya: OMG: Brandy using the 3 different grape-based spirits and measured the taste against the original Vieux Carré. Although all 3 versions were drinkable, the Rémy Martin V was the closest in flavor profile to the original version. The Campo di Encanto was too Pisco-forward (for lack of a better description), while the Nardini Grappa came in as a very close second. The Bénédictine was replaced with our home-made Limoncello which added a slight citrus note and additional sweetness to the dryer Vya Vermouth. We also found that since Vya was already more bitter than Antica Carpano, it was only necessary to use Angostora bitters (leaving out the Peychaud). In honor of San Francisco, we are calling this inversion the Union Square.

The main ingredients are High West OMG Rye Whiskey, Rémy Martin V, Vya Whisper Vermouth, Limoncello and bitters:

Union Square
3/4 oz. High West OMG Rye Whiskey
3/4 oz. Rémy Martin V Eau de Vie (Nardini Grappa would also work)
3/4 oz. Vya Whisper Dry Vermouth
2 barspoons Limoncello
Dash of Angostura bitters

Stir all ingredient with ice in a mixing glass, strain into a chilled cocktail glass (or an old fashioned glass filled with ice) and garnish with a cherry.

As a bonus, since we had the clear Rye Whiskey, we rose to Putney Farm’s challenge of coming up with an inverted Manhattan. We came up with one that is not as good as the original using Antica Carpano, but was close enough to versions that use more basic sweet vermouths like Martini and Rossi. We prefer to use the IBA (International Bartenders Association) ratio of whiskey to vermouth.

The ingredients of the original Manhattan are Rye Whiskey, Sweet Vermouth and Angostora bitters. The inverted clear version uses High West OMG Rye Whiskey, Vya Whisper and Angostora bitters:

50 ml. Rye Whiskey (Wild Turkey)
20 ml. Sweet Vermouth (Antica Carpano)
Dash of Angostura bitters

Stir all ingredient with ice in a mixing glass, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.

We are calling this inversion the Nemo, after last weekend’s storm that turned most of the eastern seaboard white.

50 ml. High West OMG Rye Whiskey
20 ml. Vya Whisper Dry Vermouth
1 barspoon Limoncello
Dash of Angostura bitters

Stir all ingredient with ice in a mixing glass, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry (Note: our Martini glasses are huge, so the picture shows 1.5X of the recipe):

Related Posts
Putney Farm’s Announcement on Mixology Monday LXX: Inverted
Mixology Monday Site
Mixology Monday: Simple Sidecar Inverted (Pisco Pedicab)
Mixology Monday LXX Roundup: Inverted (Great Collection of Inverted Drinks)

View all BarFlySF Cocktail Recipe Posts


3 responses to “Mixology Monday: Inverted Cocktails

  1. Fantastic post. Both the Union square and the Nemo sounds great (I will be at the liquor store for a few ingredients). But the full details are really something, very very cool and thanks for making such a cool contribution to MXMO!

    • Thanks for the compliment and hosting MXMO PutneyFarm! We really had a lot of fun trying to come up with the Union Square. We’ll definitely participate in any future MXMOs.

  2. Pingback: Mixology Monday LXX Roundup: Inverted « Putney Farm·

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