The Story Behind The Rough Waters

From the Mandarin Oriental Singapore’s MO BAR comes this riff on the classic Metropole cocktail, made with Cognac, bitters, and sweet vermouth. The MO BAR calls it Rough Waters by the Coral Sea. The cocktail is aged in neutral and salt-cured American oak barrels, and garnished with edible squid ink coral.

We adapted MO BAR's recipe for home bartenders. Stirring a few drops of saline solution into the spirits adds complexity, not saltiness. Feel free to skip this step if it makes you uneasy, but we recommend giving it a try.


  • 1 ½ ounces Cognac
  • ¾ ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2 drops saline solution (recipe follows)
  • 2 drops of aromatic bitters, such as Scrappy’s


  1. Combine Cognac, sweet vermouth, bitters, and saline solution in a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Strain into a chilled cordial glass.

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Yield: 1
Updated: 2019-01-21

Saline Solution Ingredients

  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons water, room temperature

Saline Solution Directions

  1. Combine both ingredients in a bowl and stir until salt crystals dissolve, about 2 minutes.
  2. Use a dropper to add to drinks.
The Rough Waters Recipe