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.

Cocktail Ingredients

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

Cognac: This is one of the base spirits. We used Courvoisier VSOP Cognac because it has a rich mouthfeel, adds notes of peach, almond, and cinnamon, and brings a delightful brandy spice at the end.

Ruby Port: This is the other base spirit. It’s a fortified wine made in Portugal that is dark red in color and has a fruity berry flavor.

Dry Vermouth: This is a fortified wine that adds sweetness. We used Dolin Dry Vermouth de Chambéry because it’s light and airy.

Orange Juice: This adds sweet citrus flavors for balance. We prefer to use fresh citrus juice because it’s less bitter than the bottled stuff and tastes much better.

Grenadine: This adds tart, fruity flavor and sweetens the drink. We made ours using Alex’s homemade recipe.

White Crème De Menthe: This adds cool peppermint flavor. We used DeKuyper’s, but whichever crème de menthe you can find will work.

Rose Petals: These are the garnish. They add floral aroma.

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, it’s a refreshing but not overly sweet cocktail with a hint of peppermint that we both liked but not quite as much as the Enchantress.

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.

AuthorThe Art of Vintage CocktailsPrep Time5 minsRating

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

Method
1

Add brandy, vermouth, orange juice, grenadine, crème de menthe, and 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
  oz Grenadine
 1 dash White Crème De Menthe
 2 Red Rose Petals

Directions

Method
1

Add brandy, vermouth, orange juice, grenadine, crème de menthe, and 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

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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:

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

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

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

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

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