The Armistice cocktail is today’s Drink of the Day because it’s November 11. It’s a modern cocktail using classic ingredients, named after Armistice Day, Veteran’s Day or Remembrance Day depending upon where you are.
So if you need a Veteran’s Day cocktail we have you covered. By the way, November 12 is also National French Dip Day, so there’s an obvious snack to go with your drink.
Armistice Day History
As you know, World War I was a nasty event, and we’ve covered a few related cocktails like the Burnt Fuselage and French 75. Armistice Day itself is commemorated every year to mark the armistice signed between Germany and the Allies of WWI. The intent was to shut down the fighting while a final peace agreement was formulated. That armistice took effect at “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. So that’s why it’s observed on November 11.
Communications then weren’t what they are now, so the fighting didn’t end at 11AM and instead went until nightfall. The armistice then had to be extended from its original 36 day term to complete the Treaty of Versailles. That peace agreement got the job done and the conflagration was over.
The first Armistice Day was observed at Buckingham Palace and the practice spread to the Commonwealth of Nations states, the U.S., and others. At the time everyone thought that WWI was the war to end all wars, but that proved wrong because once World War II came along all bets were off.
Most member states of the Commonwealth broadened the name of the observation to Remembrance Day during or shortly after WWII . The U.S. chose Veterans Day and Dwight Eisenhower made it official in 1954. It’s a formal federal holiday in most places. In Europe, Great Britain and the Commonwealth the general practice is to observe two minutes of silence at 11 AM every November 11. In the U.S. an annual memorial service is held at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Armistice Cocktail
The Armistice cocktail was the brain child of Erik Hakkinen at the Zig Zag Café in Seattle. That’s not a place likely on the tip of your tongue, but it has been a strong influence in resurrecting classic cocktails. Particularly once Murray Stenson, a bartending legend, started working there.
They focused on classic cocktails and the Aviation was one of Zig Zag’s signature drinks, but then Murray found the recipe for the Prohibition-era Last Word in an old cocktail book. That classic drink was suddenly resurrected when people realized how good it is and word spread around the world. The Last Word is an important one to read as it’s our entry to the Mr. Potato Head school of bartending.
Erik Hakkinen went to work at Zig Zag in 2007 and along the way he created the Armistice Cocktail. Using rye whiskey as its base spirit, it’s a bit like a Brooklyn cocktail with Green Chartreuse replacing Amer Picon. Or a dry Manhattan with herbs added. The herbal element added by the Chartreuse plays well against the rye whiskey.
- Nick and Nora or coupe glass
- 1½ oz Rye whiskey
- ½ oz Dry vermouth
- ¼ oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
- ¼ oz Green Chartreuse
- 2 dash Aromatic Bitters of choice
- Add all ingredients to your trusty mixing glass.
- Add ice and stir to chill.
- Strain into pre-chilled cocktail glass. No garnish.