Calvados and Dubonnet Rouge make a Bentley? Shouldn't it be called a Peugot?
I bought some calvados a couple of weeks ago because I'd never had it before. For the uninformed, calvados is an apple brandy from the Basse-Normandie region of France. Depending on the appellation, it can be single or double distilled in either a pot or column still. They use hundreds of apple varieties and some even use a non-majority percentage pears! Like other French brandies, calvados is aged in oak barrels for a minimum of two years too.
I purchased this Roger Groult Reserve Calvados. After a couple of snifters I thought to myself "how else can I drink this?" - since I don't want to let it die slowly. I grabbed my girlfriend's cocktail handbook and looked up, under ingredient calvados, what drinks I could make. The options were limited although, for some reason, I didn't think to look under apple brandy too. Nevertheless I flipped to a simple, yet delicious looking Bentley Cocktail. It had two ingredients: calvados and Dubonnet Rouge. Unfortunately, I had no Dubonnet Rouge so another trip to the liquor store was in order.
Fast forward another week and I have my Dubonnet Rouge now. Dubonnet Rouge is similar to sweet vermouth - it is a sweet fortified red wine that is to be enjoyed as an aperitif, or pre-dinner drink, to awaken the senses. After having sipped the Dubonnet Rouge, I figured that this Bentley would be similar tasting to a Sweet Manhattan - and I was correct. Although the Bentley does not use Angostura Bitters (like a Manhattan) it is made from an oak-aged spirit and a fortified red wine (like a Manhattan):
2:1 Calvados to Dubonnet Rouge.
Lemon twist to garnish
Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker and pour into chilled martini glass.
While, overall, it is similar to the Sweet Manhattan, the calvados imparts a tart-apple finish to this cocktail. I wonder if one could make a "Perfect" Bentley using both Dubonnet Rouge and Blanc? Nevertheless, the Bentley is delicious and a good thing to try if you want to swim out of the doldrums of yet another boring, old Manhattan.