American Beauty

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Cocktail History

The American Beauty is a classic cocktail that was first published in The Stork Club Bar Book by Lucius Beebe in 1946. Similar to the Enchantress, it pairs brandy with ruby port wine and adds vermouth, a hint of mint liqueur, and citrus juice. It also uses rose petals as the garnish as a nod to its name, which comes from the long-stemmed roses that are typically carried by beauty queens after being crowned in beauty pageants.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Cognac: This is a type of brandy made in Cognac, France with distilled white wine. We used Courvoisier VSOP Cognac because it has a rich mouthfeel and a delightful brandy spice with notes of peach, almond, and cinnamon. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative in place of the brandy.

Ruby Port: This is a fortified wine made in Portugal with a blend of red grapes. We used Sandeman Fine Ruby Porto because it has a full-bodied flavor with notes of fruit, chocolate, and spices. For a mocktail version of this drink, try R.W. Knudsen Just Concord Grape Juice mixed with lime zest in place of the wine.

Dry Vermouth: This is a fortified wine made with grapes, sugar, botanicals, herbs, sugar, and alcohol. We used Dolin Dry Vermouth de Chambéry because it has a light and airy flavor profile with notes of Alpine herbs. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Apéritif Dry in place of the dry vermouth.

Orange Juice: This is the liquid juice of an orange. We used freshly squeezed orange juice.

Grenadine: This is a sweetener made with pomegranate juice and white sugar. We made ours at home using Alex’s stovetop recipe.

White Crème De Menthe: This is a liqueur made with mint, sugar, and alcohol. We used DeKuyper Crème De Menthe White Liqueur because it has a cool and refreshing taste. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Monin Premium Peppermint Syrup in place of the mint liqueur.

Rose Petals: These are the loose petals of a flower rose.

Bartending Tools

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following bar tools:

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Boston Shaker: This is used to shake ingredients. We used the Boston shaker from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Hawthorne Strainer: This is used to strain out ice and solid ingredients after the cocktail is shaken. We used the A Bar Above Hawthorne Strainer.

Paring Knife: This is used to cut ingredients. We used the OXO Good Grips 3.5 Inch Paring Knife.

Juicer: This is used to juice citrus. We used the ALEEHAI Manual Fruit Juicer.

Bar Spoon: This is used to stir ingredients. We used the Barfly Stainless Steel Teardrop Bar Spoon.

Cocktail Pick: This is used to hold the garnish. We used one from the Homestia Gold Crown Cocktail Pick Set.

Tasting Notes

The American Beauty features port wine aromas and a the tastes of well-balanced brandy, orange, and a slight vermouth tinge all sweetened with pomegranate.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: When we tried this cocktail we both thought the brandy wasn’t as overpowering as it was in a similar recipe called the Enchantress. The port wine was also added as a float at the end instead of mixed in, which gave it a lovely ombré color. Overall, the American Beauty is a refreshing but not overly sweet cocktail with a hint of peppermint that we both liked but not quite as much as the Enchantress.

Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

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Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“Upon revisiting this drink, I really liked it, with the flavors balancing nicely and giving a dry but not too dry flavor that features mostly brandy and orange. The port float adds a nice aroma as well as a bit of thickness and extra depth of flavor to the recipe. While Kendall didn’t care for it, I found it to be a pretty pleasant drink.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐
“Although as beautiful as its name suggests it would be, the American Beauty wasn’t my favorite. I found it to be too tart and prefer the deeper taste of the Enchantress, another classic cocktail made with brandy and ruby port. If you’re not used to those flavors though, I would start with this one before trying the Enchantress; I can see how this one would be more palatable to those who don’t usually drink brandy or dessert wines.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from The Art of Vintage Cocktails by Stephanie Rosenbaum.

Sale
The Art of Vintage Cocktails
The Art of Vintage Cocktails
Hardcover Book; Rosenbaum, Stephanie (Author); English (Publication Language); 108 Pages – 01/07/2014 (Publication Date) – Egg & Dart (Publisher)
$9.97

AuthorThe Art of Vintage Cocktails

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 ¾ oz Cognac
 ½ oz Ruby Port
 ¾ oz Dry Vermouth
 ¾ oz Orange Juice
 1 dash White Crème De Menthe
 2 Red Rose Petals

Method
1

Add brandy, vermouth, orange juice, grenadine, crème de menthe, and cubed ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Carefully float wine on top with a bar spoon.

5

Garnish with rose petals.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 ¾ oz Cognac
 ½ oz Ruby Port
 ¾ oz Dry Vermouth
 ¾ oz Orange Juice
 1 dash White Crème De Menthe
 2 Red Rose Petals

Directions

Method
1

Add brandy, vermouth, orange juice, grenadine, crème de menthe, and cubed ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Carefully float wine on top with a bar spoon.

5

Garnish with rose petals.

American Beauty

Make It a Mocktail: Use Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative in place of the brandy, R.W. Knudsen Just Concord Grape Juicemixed with lime zest in place of the wine, Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Apéritif Dry in place of the dry vermouth, and Monin Premium Peppermint Syrup in place of the mint liqueur to try a booze-free version of this drink.

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More Wine Cocktails

If you like this wine-based cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Stout Sangaree Cocktail Recipe

Stout Sangaree: An Irish stout beer and port wine cocktail made with nutmeg

Coronation Cocktail Recipe

Coronation: A sherry cocktail made with dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur, orange bitters, and an orange peel

The Parasol Cocktail Recipe

The Parasol: A sparkling wine cocktail made with lemon juice, Lillet Blanc, elderflower liqueur, honey syrup, and a lemon twist

Cranberry Cobbler Cocktail Recipe

Cranberry Cobbler: A sherry cocktail made with cranberry syrup, orange slices, an orange wedge, mint, and cranberries

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