The Madras is one of those nice refreshing cocktails that can really be drunk at any time of year—or day for that matter. It is uncomplicated and easy, accessible and straightforward. A perfect drink if you’ve had a long day at work and don’t want to intellectually invest in appreciating a dauntingly complex cocktail. Plus it’s largely fruit juice, so of course it’s rich in vitamins and minerals—and sugar. The simplicity of the Madras makes it easy to whip up, even on a moment’s notice. There is also plenty of room to play around with flavored vodkas and the like if you’re feeling experimental.
A Little History on This Cocktail
Looking to order Massachusetts’ signature cocktail next time you visit your favorite neighborhood bar? Ask for a Cape Codder.
This vodka and cranberry classic was dreamed up by Ocean Spray cranberry growers in the 1940s. Originally called a “Red Devil,” the drink was renamed in the early ’60s and is served on the rocks in a highball glass with a slice of lime for garnish.
There are other Cape-inspired drinks that are variations on this simple thirst-quencher. A Rose Kennedy adds club soda while a Sea Breeze has grapefruit juice and a Bay Breeze has pineapple juice. Orange juice makes a Madras but the addition of peach schnapps turns it into a Sex on the Beach. Go Cosmopolitan with a splash of triple sec and a dash of lime juice.
Which is your favorite – the original drink or a variation of it? Let us know in the comments. Keep up with the conversation on social with #BestOfMass and check out the latest Neighborhood Bar updates at masslive.com/bestofmass.
Cocktails are named for all sorts of things, from exotic cities (Singapore Sling) to literary heroes (Hemingway Champagne, a combination of bubbly and absinthe). Not many, however, are christened after fabrics. The only one that comes to mind is the classic Madras, whose smudgy palette of orange and red recalls what happens to that preppy patchwork Indian cotton when its bright colors bleed in the wash—which is what used to happen back when the dyes were vegetable in origin rather than man-made. Given the drink’s Ivy League credentials, it stands to reason the recipe is included in The Official Harvard Student Agencies Bartending Course (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2000). Oh, and without the cranberry juice, it’s a Screwdriver.