The Savoy Cocktail Book—enduring as it may be—became a bar fixture more for its comprehensive selection and lovely style, less so for pushing new and exciting cocktails into the drinking world. That said, it does add a few less famous recipes to the canon, and the marmalade cocktail is one of them. We came across the recipe while looting the pages of the excellent (and also very comprehensive) book A Spot At the Bar; which was published by the smart folks at the Everleigh in Melbourne. The original recipe in the Savoy recommends this drink as “especially suited to be a luncheon aperitif” and we couldn’t agree more, though we might recommend bumping it up a couple hours into brunch. The bittersweet orange peel flavors and herbal notes of gin make for a light, dry, and energizing mixture perfect for the modern world’s most decadent meal.
There are a number of liqueurs and bitters that sport the flavor of orange peel, but there is something different about marmalade. It has a bitter, earthy, and oily complexity reminiscent of expensive and difficult to find liqueurs, all in a bottle that can be obtained at a grocery store for ten bucks. If that weren’t convincing enough, marmalade suffuses the clear gin with a beautiful bright hue almost reminiscent of Orangina. We recommend a smart and balanced American gin in this drink, but the recipe is flexible, so follow your heart. Make sure to get a decent marmalade made with quality ingredients, or even better, make one yourself. We put together a simple marmalade syrup using three parts marmalade to one part water. This just helps with the mixing process, and can be skipped if you are in a rush.