Friday, December 7, 2012

The Bacardi Devils

Printed in Playboy 10/1963
At quick glance you might think that this post is on a sponsorship deal that some professional sports team known as the Devils made with the Bacardi Distillery. Not so. The Bacardi Devils were a series of cocktails that Bacardi seemed to be promoting in the early 1960's. According to the blogpage Madness and the Rigors of Life in their post of May 25, 2012 Bacardi Ad Shaken When Stirred states that two series of ads ran in Playboy in 1963 and 1965. They all contained actor Henry Daniell.

As you can see from the picture, there were a series of four cocktails that were identified by color: The Black Devil, the Green Devil, the Yellow Devil and the White Devil. The way they were made was basically the same. Here is how the ad called for the cocktails to be made:
Mix 3 parts Light or Dark Bacardi, 1 part Dry Vermouth and stir like the devil with ice.
The differences in the cocktails came in the form of garnish and glassware. The Black Devil called for the cocktail to be strained in a cocktail glass and adding a black olive. The Green Devil was to be served over ice with a green olive. The Yellow Devil took Bacardi Dark (or Gold as it is called today) in a cocktail glass with a lemon twist. The White Devil took Bacardi Silver in a cocktail glass with a lemon twist. Simple enough, no?

So I decided to make one for Melvin Monday night after work and he said that he liked the cocktail. It was light and the Vermouth seemed to balance out the flavor in the Bacardi. But he felt that the cocktail was missing something. Perhaps a bit more of a presence in the form of more lemon or lime juice. Since I have some Bacardi Silver and some Dry Vermouth here at home, I decided to make myself one. What did I think?

After taking a few sips I have to admit that this is an interesting cocktail. In all honesty, its basically a Perfect Martini which substitutes the Gin or Vodka (yes, I know the purists don't believe that a Martini should be made with anything but Gin but indulge me on this one) for the Bacardi Rum. It does have a nice dry consistency to it thanks to the Dry Vermouth. Agreeing with Melvin, the Vermouth did balance the Bacardi a bit but this is one cocktail that like your traditional Martini will kick you in the teeth with how strong it is.

I found that by running a slice of lemon peel along the rim of the glass added another level of lemon flavor to the taste. Perhaps that is enough to satisfy what Melvin felt the cocktail was missing. He suggested maybe muddling some lemons in the cocktail mixture would do the trick. Keeping in mind that tastes in cocktails in the 1960's and the proportions that were used then might be different from today's tastes and measurements, a change in the cocktail to include more lemon flavor might not be necessary but I am game to try it in the future to see if it works. Even as I type this, I'm feeling the cocktail starting to warm me up. LOL. No wonder Bacardi labelled these as the "Devils".

Here is the other ad that I mentioned earlier from Playboy in 1965 (Thanks and photo credit to the blogpage Madness and the Rigors of Life for the images)

On a side note, veteran bartender, musician and movie aficionado Joe Walsh of the Nitrate Stock: The Online Guide to Classic Film Screenings in NYC suggested that perhaps using a darker rum like a Goslings or a Cruzan Black Strap with some Sweet Vermouth instead of Dry Vermouth can create something akin to a Manhattan using Rum instead of Bourbon. I guess I have the next post. Thanks Joe. Check out his website, his Nitrate Stock Facebook group page, as well as, following him @NitrateStock on Twitter for more information.

Until Then, Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla