Given that the 29th February only comes around once every four years (give or take), it seems like as good a day as any to celebrate with a cocktail. A bit of digging around turned up the Leap Year Cocktail, a drink created by Harry Craddock for the leap year celebrations at the Savoy Hotel in 1928. Traditionally February 29th is the only day where it is proper for a woman to propose marriage, and the Leap Year Cocktail presumably helped them pop the question with a little Dutch courage. Indeed, The Savoy Cocktail Book suggests the cocktail is responsible for more proposals than any other!
Leap Year Cocktail
- 2 shots / 60 ml / 2 oz gin
- ½ shot / 15 ml / ½ oz Grand Marnier
- ½ shot / 15 ml / ½ oz sweet vermouth
- ¼ shot / 7.5 ml / ¼ oz lemon juice
- Shake all ingredients with ice and strain in to a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon zest twist.
The Leap Year Cocktail starts with plenty of gin notes upfront, which is followed by a refreshing wave of orange, along with a slightly floral background. Towards the end a refreshing lemony bite kicks in, which lingers with aromatic hints. It is a fairly refreshing drink and a good use of Grand Marnier, a spirit I don’t use all that often. Something like Cointreau would probably be a bit too bright in a drink like this, but the aged-Cognac base of the Grand Marnier works nicely with the sweet vermouth to provide a floral, aromatic undertone to the drink.
So mix yourself a Leap Year, and celebrate February 29th – just don’t drink so many you end up proposing to someone you don’t mean to!
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