The Carmen

carmen (1)The Do Be Careful cocktail made with gin; Le Givre (or Hoar Frost) made with gin and dark rum; Pilgrim (interesting name for a cocktail) which used New England Rum, specifically, and a choice of either Cointreau or Grenadine. None of these cocktails are exactly like the Carmen. Close, but not quite. This particular mix of ingredients in these proportions are only found in David Embury’s book, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks as far as I can find. Which seems odd to me for some reason. It certainly is not a complicated recipe with obscure ingredients, so where was it hiding all this time? The first edition of Embury’s book was not published until 1948. His book is well worth the read, by the way. Far from being just a cocktail recipe book, it is one man’s opinion of what is good and what is not. And Embury is nothing if not opinionated. My endorsement is made easier by the fact that I tend to agree with him; at least in his philosophy if not always the ratios of his recipes. He has much to say about the concepts involved in “rolling your own” drinks; his quaint phrase for designing your own cocktails.


Celestine Galli-Marie as Carmen


2 oz Rum

1/2 oz Curaçao

1/4 oz Lime Juice

1/2 tsp Grenadine 

Shake with cracked ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

Embury gives you the choice to use either curaçao or Cointreau. I prefer the curaçao (Grand Marnier), but both are good. I have made some slight adjustments as the original proportions made the drink a bit sour for my taste. If you prefer a more sour drink, increase the lime juice to 1/2 ounce and reduce the curaçao or Cointreau accordingly. 

If you substitute lemon for the lime juice, you have a Morning Rose Cocktail.

Embury does not explain for whom this drink is named. Could it be Carmen Miranda? Bizet’s opera? It could have been Embury’s next door neighbor for all we know. Personally, I’m going for the opera, even if it doesn’t make any logical sense. I’m not seeing a lot of fiery gypsy in this cocktail. Still, it’s not wearing a bowl of fruit on its head, either, so I’m sticking with the opera. We want to keep the tone of these blog posts as snooty and highbrow as possible, don’t you know.

 I hope you enjoyed this post. There are plenty more where this came from. Have a look around or visit the Recipe Index for more great rum drinks. If you would like notification of future posts, please click the “Follow” button.

A votre santé!