The Diplomat cocktail is ideal to imbibe during secret liaisons involving international negotiations and other clandestine affairs. It’s also a tasty tipple that you can craft at home in just five minutes.
Although the Diplomat has been tantalizing taste buds since 1922, we weren’t familiar with this particular cocktail until a reader who’s also a dear friend brought it to our attention. Thanks Kevin!
That liaison (i.e. email) was the impetus we needed to discover and master the Diplomat cocktail. Well, that and few bottles of liquor.
What Is the Diplomat Cocktail?
Technically a ‘shim’ due to its low-alcohol content and omission of hard liquor, the Diplomat is a sophisticated sipper. The cocktail combines both dry and sweet vermouth and adds splashes of maraschino liqueur and Angostura bitters for good measure.
→ Read The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level if you like to drink cocktails without the risk of a hangover.
It’s also a truly international cocktail. Originally crafted in London, the Diplomat sports a Belgian inventor and includes ingredients hailing from Italy as well as Trinidad and Tobago
History of the Diplomat Cocktail
While the Diplomat sounds like a cocktail with an exciting past involving espionage and intrigue, its history isn’t a mystery. In reality, it’s quite mundane.
Our research traces the Diplomat back to bartender Robert Vermeire who included it in his iconic 1922 book Cocktails: How to Mix Them. Originally spelled ‘Diplomate’ due to its purported popularity within the French Diplomatic Service, Vermeire’s version included a 2:1 ratio of dry and sweet vermouth plus a splash of maraschino liqueur.
The Diplomat recipe evolved over the years to include a 1:1 dry/sweet vermouth ratio. At some point, Angostura bitters negotiated their way into the recipe too.
Diplomat Cocktail Ingredients
The ingredient list required to craft a Diplomat is both short and sweet:
Despite its low alcohol content, the Diplomat recipe includes four different liquors.
Dry and sweet vermouth, the Diplomat’s two primary ingredients, are both fortified wines infused with aromatic botanicals. Long associated with teetotalers and elderly aunts, vermouth has experienced a resurgance in popularity in European countries like Italy and Spain. It’s also is a key ingredient in drinks like the Manhattan, Negroni and Boulevardier.
While maraschino liqueur and bitters are supporting players in the Diplomat’s recipe, both balance the drink and are a must. We keep bottles of Luxardo maraschino and Angostura Bitters in our liquor cabinet for crafting cocktails like this one. They show up in quite a few recipes and never disappoint.
How To Make a Diplomat Cocktail
You don’t need any special skills or tools to craft a Diplomat cocktail at home. We use the following bartender tools in our recipe:
Don’t worry if you don’t have any or all of these tools. Each is inexpensive and you can improvise in a pinch.
→ Discover 10 necessary bar tools for lazy mixologists.
Step One: Measure the dry vermouth, sweet vermouth and maraschino liqueur.
We like to use a Japanese jigger but any jigger will suffice. You could also use a small angled measuring cup if you don’t have a jigger.
→ Click here to buy a Japanese jigger if you need a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.
Step Two: Pour the three liquids into a mixing glass or other vessel. We typically use the bottom of our Boston Shaker since it’s airtight and easy to use.
Step Three: Add a dash of Angostura bitters.
Step Four: Add ice and mix until the liquors are combined and chilled.
Step Five: Strain the stirred cocktail into a coupe glass. You can use a small martini glass or lowball glass instead if you don’t have a coupe glass.
→ Click here to buy coupe glasses with a gold rim.
Step Six: Garnish with either an orange twist or maraschino cherry. We typically have both on hand and choose based on our mood. Both options work equally well.
Diplomat Cocktail Recipe
Thirsty for More Cocktails?
Try our recipes for the Americano, Aviation, Bee’s Knees, Boulevardier, Caipirinha, Clover Club, Creamsicle, Daiquiri, Eggnog, French 75, G+T, Gibson, Gimlet, Hemingway Daiquiri, Manhattan, Martinez, Mauresque, Mint Julep, Mojito, Moscow Mule, Negroni, Old Fashioned, Pink Lady, Porto Tonico, Sidecar, Spicy Margarita, Tomate and Whiskey Ginger cocktails.
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.