Great Cocktails: The Cowboy Martini

The Cowboy Martini
The Cowboy Martini

We get a lot of great feedback from our readers, and one of the things we’ve heard time and time again is that many of you need suggestions for great and fairly easy cocktails that you can make at home. With both spirits and cocktails we all suffer from the tyranny of choice – there are just too many options out there not to agonize when trying making a decision. We started Drink Spirits to help you make easier choices when it comes to drinking. We aim to help you drink better without having to agonize the next time you go onto a bar or liquor store. To that end, we’re going to do an ongoing series of great cocktails. Some of these cocktails you may be familiar with (like a negroni or daiquiri) but many you may not. We’re going to do all the hard work for you. We’re going to test out the different recipes for each drink, find the one that tastes the best, and bring it to you so you can make them at home.

Our first great cocktail is one that most American’s aren’t familiar with: The Cowboy Martini (aka The Cowboy Hoof). The drink was invented by Dick Bradsell, one of the great UK bartenders whose sensibility for creating easy and delicious drinks has had a major impact on cocktails, not just in the UK but in the US as well. This drink is exceptionally easy to make and, like most of Dick Bradsell’s drinks, is delicious and easy.

The Cowboy Martini
by Dick Bradsell
3 oz of Gin (we picked Tanqueray)
1/2 oz simple syrup
7 mint leaves
3 dashes of orange bitters (we used Regan’s Orange Bitters)

Shake the ingredients with ice, strain, and serve in a pre-chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist or a mint leaf.

For the Cowboy Martini we picked Tanqueray London Dry Gin because we feel that Tanqueray’s strong juniper core stands up well to the mint and gives the drink some great structure. For the bitters we used Regan’s Orange Bitters No 6. For us it’s the gold standard for orange bitters.  The secret to making a great Cowboy Martini is that you need to shake really hard (about 20-30 hard shakes depending on your ice). Also be sure to fill up your shaker with a lot of ice. Shaking with too little ice or shaking too softly really doesn’t result in the best drink. The other secret, and we recommend you do this with ANY drink you shake with mint, is to use a second fine mesh strainer (in addition to the Hawthorne Strainer) when you pour it into your glass. Chunks of mint really mess up the cocktail.