Cocktails Food & Drink Lifestyle

Don't Despair, Improvise: Mixing Up a Quarantini

By Eric Twardzik

Jul 13, 2022

Don't Despair, Improvise: Mixing Up a Quarantini


Now more than ever, it's important to remember the simple pleasures that brighten each day. Should you find yourself in need of a stiff drink, but without the proper ingredients, don't despair - improvise.


It goes without saying that we are living through interesting times. And like other moods of the calendar, interesting times can demand a strong drink.

What makes these times all the more interesting is the strange—but necessary—need to self-quarantine. And there lies the conundrum: a quarantine seems an excellent time to sit back with a stiff cocktail, yet it also raises obstacles to the cocktail-making. 

For instance, let’s say you’ve finished a long day working from home and find yourself in need of a martini. Luckily, a good bottle of London Dry or perhaps Plymouth Gin is at hand. But then disaster strikes: there’s no dry vermouth. 

That, or the vermouth you opened a few months back has gone vinegary. And owing to the quarantine—or perhaps a run on aromatic wines at the bottle shop—acquiring more vermouth is out of the question.

What’s a drinker to do? Despair? Certainly not. Improvise? Yes!

You begin to explore the back of the fridge, bumping into half-forgotten jars and bottles for a substitute. Marmalade? Not quite. Pickle brine? You can’t be serious.

Then you find it: a jar of seldom-used Luxardo cherries leftover from a months-earlier Manhattan kick. Maybe you dip your finger into the sweet syrup that preserves the cherries and recall that… it’s pretty good. 

Before you have time to realize what’s happening, you add a quarter teaspoon of the stuff to a stirring glass with gin and ice. And then you top it with a few dashes of the Angostura Bitters you’ve got hanging around, because it feels like the right thing to do. You stir and strain, and soon raise the invention to your lips.

To your surprise, it’s got all the bones of a good martini—bracing and gin-forward—yet it also packs the bitterness you’d expect from a dry vermouth thank to the bitters, plus a subtle touch of fruit that makes up for the herbaceous qualities the sans-vermouth cocktail is missing.

Kicking back and forgetting the news, you take pride in your Quarantini. As you should; because in the coming weeks or months we may all have to strive, make do, and invent, and perhaps most importantly, not forget about the simple pleasures that brighten each day. And if you care to practice, the cocktail hour is a fine place to start. 


The Drake’s Quarantini

2 ounces gin

¼ teaspoon Luxardo Maraschino Cherry syrup

2 dashes Angostura Bitters  

Luxardo cherry, for garnish (optional)


Add all ingredients to a stirring glass filled with ice. Stir until well-chilled (about thirty seconds), and then strain into a chilled coupe glass. Optional: garnish with a Luxardo cherry, if you’re in the mood.

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