The Pre-successful is a beautiful, graceful cocktail in a martini glass, garnished with bok choy and a cranberry.

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

If you’ve been following along, you know by now that Rosso Vermouth is a hill I’m going to die on. We don’t get along, but I keep trying to make it work. There just has to be a good cocktail in that bottle before it runs out!

I had an idea that if I combined it with something stronger in flavor, it might be convinced to sit in the back seat for once. Don’t laugh, but we still have leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving – which is amazing and absolutely will not go bad – and I thought this might do the trick.

The cranberry sauce is one I learned to make from my aunt Sheila. It’s made from apples, cooked cranberries, sugar, and walnuts. I put some in the blender with Rosso Vermouth, then transferred the mixture to my impromptu cocktail shaker…it’s a glass jar. I’m at my house in Tacoma to do laundry and I have no shaker, folks! I shook the cranberry-rosso mixture by hand with gin and ice.

It Just Might Work!

And it looked beautiful in the glass, even festive for the season! The garnish is the heel of a bok choy that I saved because it looked like a flower. I put it together with a raw cranberry and it looks so nice…like a corsage.

I felt the anticipation build – would this be The One that would lift the curse of the Rosso Vermouth?

By taste, it’s the best Rosso cocktail I’ve had – but folks, the bar is low. (Well, Look What You Made Me Do was the best, but there was hardly any Rosso Vermouth in there! I don’t know if I can count it at all). I could certainly taste the Rosso, though it was relegated more to the background. Its syrupy taste dulled the cranberry sauce, making it taste a little less tart and also a little less sweet. The bright-sweet of the cranberry sauce became a deadened-sweet with the Rosso Vermouth moving in. So-so, but something to to keep in mind for next time.

The bigger problem is that even though I blended it twice, I still had to chew every sip, and I hate to chew my drinks.

A Gorgeous Fail

So this will go down as another Rosso Vermouth FAIL – but a very beautiful fail, and certainly a step in the right direction.

Bonus points for anyone who recognizes the title from The Good Place.

“I wasn’t a failed DJ. I was pre-successful.”

Jason Mendoza


  • 3 heaping Tbsp. of Aunt Sheila’s cranberry sauce
  • apples, walnuts, cranberries, sugar

  • Liquors
  • 2 oz. Rosso Vermouth

  • 2 oz. Gin

  • Garnish
  • Bok Choy heel

  • Raw cranberry


  • Muddle the cranberry sauce; when that doesn’t work, put it in the blender with Rosso Vermouth. Twice (that still won’t work!).
  • Put blended mixture in a glass jar that doubles as a cocktail shaker, along with gin and ice. Shake until satisfied.
  • Pour, garnish, and chew!
Failed on December 15


  1. Elizabeth A DENOMA12/17/2020 | Reply

    Oh! I don't think that I've seen this one - maybe you intentionally spared me. You have more Rosso Vermouth optimism than I do!

    • admin12/18/2020 | Reply

      Yes - I removed the bottle of Rosso Vermouth to Tacoma...but it's slow may or may not come back! But I'm determined not to be bested by this damn fortified wine!

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