I always keep my eyes out for classic cocktail books when I’m in thrift shops or used book stores. There are plenty of great old books on Amazon and eBay, but I enjoy the thrill of finding an unexpected treasure while I’m out shopping. The books themselves are fun to read through and I enjoy discovering new-to-me recipes that I can experiment with. The Debutante is a cocktail that comes from just such as book: Jayne’s Bartender’s Guide, which was published just after the repeal of prohibition in 1934. The name of the drink caught my eye and the short ingredient list promised a simple, flavorful drink.
The cocktail is made with gin, lime juice and grenadine, with a dash of orange bitters. This is a fun set of ingredients to play around with, as changing the ratios can give you a wide variety of finished cocktails. For instance, you will get different results with different types of grenadine. Rose’s is going to give you a bright pink color, while homemade grenadine will give you both color and a nice hint of fruity pomegranate. Some commercial brands of pomegranate grenadine tend to be more brown than red, so you might want to consider adding a dash of Rose’s just to improve the look of the finished cocktail if you aren’t getting the color you want. I recommend using a more herbaceous gin in this cocktail, as those layers of flavor will translate nicely into the finished cocktail. This isn’t to say that you can’t use a dry gin, but I think that a bit sweeter is better with a name like The Debutante. In light of this, I also added a touch of simple syrup in to my drink.
2 oz. Gin
3/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1/4 oz. Simple Syrup
2 Tsp. Grenadine
1 dash Orange Bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Shake vigorously until well-chilled, then double-strain into a coupe. Garnish with a cherry.