Café De Paris Cocktail

Cafe des Paris Cocktail

Café De Paris Cocktail

The White of 1 Egg
3 Dashes Anisette (1 Barspoon Anis del Mono)
1 Teaspoonful of Fresh Cream
1 Glass of Dry Gin (2 oz Boodles Gin)

Shake well and strain into medium size glass.

Kind of underimpressed with this one. Maybe I overshook and it got a bit diluted? Anyway, I felt like the anis could have been a bit stronger, and the cocktail a bit sweeter.

Cafe de Paris is a famous nightclub in London.

The Prince of Wales was a well known guest in the early days, somehow insuring the club’s success. Hmmm… Wait a sec. Seems familiar somehow… Something about Prince Harry and a treasure box, Mahiki tiki bar becoming successful in London. Do the British never get tired of these characters?

Anyway, my favorite story from the Cafe de Paris website:

In 1939 the Café was allowed to stay open even though theatres and cinemas were closed by order. People gossiped their way through the blackout and the Café was advertised as a safe haven by Martin Poulson, the maitre d’, who argued that the four solid storeys of masonry above were ample protection. This tragically proved to be untrue on March 8th 1941 when two 50K landmines came through the Rialto roof straight onto the Café dance floor. Eighty people were killed, including Ken ‘Snakehips’ Johnston who was performing onstage at the time and Poulson whose words had come back to haunt him. Had the bomb been dropped an hour later, the casualties would have been even higher.

The Ken Snakehips Johnson Story. I’ll take that over a story about the English monarchy any day.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Cablegram Cocktail

Cablegram Cocktail

Cablegram Cocktail

Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1/2 Tablespoon Powdered Sugar (1/2 teaspoon caster sugar)
1 Glass Canadian Club Whisky (2 oz Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey)

Shake well, strain into long tumbler (1/3 filled with ice) and fill with Ginger Ale (Reed’s Ginger Brew).

Along with the Bull-Dog, another very good long drink featuring ginger ale. This one is a whisk(e)y sour plus ginger ale.

I felt like the ginger and lemon would need a whisk(e)y with a bit more spirit than Canadian, so I went with the younger Sazerac. Worked quite well.

The recipe in the Savoy doesn’t mention ice in the serving glass at all. However, every other recipe I read suggested building it over ice or straining it over fresh ice.

I dunno if the ginger ale in England was less sweet or if they just liked sweeter drinks; but, I’m not entirely convinced this needed any extra sugar at all. With the Reed’s, I think you could just build it in the glass with ice and leave out the extra sugar.

Googling this recently, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they have re-vived the Cablegram at Vessel in Seattle. It was even referenced in some reviews of the venue as one of their more outstanding cocktails. Of course it involves house made ginger ale and such. Still, nice to see a bar bringing back obscure classic cocktails!

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

BOTW–Old Viscosity

So, as I was cranking the rocking new HDU CD, Metamathics, in a feeble attempt to drown out the incredibly loud Kenny Chesney concert at ATT Park, I started thinking of taking pictures of the jambalaya I was making. But then I realized that I had already documented jambalaya bachelor dinners thoroughly: Bachelor Dinner

Which of course, looking at the date, 29 June, 2007, led to the realization that I’ve been doing this blog thing now for over a year. First actual post was 27 May 2007.

Nothing like the 10 years(!) Metagrrrl has been at it or even the three years that Paul Clarke has been blogging. But still, not bad.

Old Viscosity Label

To celebrate, I cracked open a bottle of Port Brewing Old Viscosity.

Their coy back label gives some indication of the type of beer it is.

Old Viscosity Label Detail

That is, strong, dark, and tasty. A bit sweet for my exact preferences, but a nice 22 oz experience all the same.

Old Viscosity Beer


Cabaret Cocktail

Cabaret Cocktail
Cabaret Cocktail

1 Dash Absinthe (Verte de Fougerolles)
1 Dash Angostura Bitters
1/2 Dry Gin (1 1/2 oz Boodles Gin)
1/2 Caperitif (1 1/2 oz Dubonnet Blanc)

Shake (stir, please) well and strain into cocktail glass. Add a Cherry.

Boodles and Absinthe go very well together. As I am well known for enjoying Martini variaions, it will probably be no surprise to anyone that I quite enjoyed this cocktail. Though, I could do without the cherry.

My Lillet Blanc was getting tired tasting, so I thought I would give Dubonnet Blanc a try as a Caperitif Substitute. It’s an interesting difference and a nice change. The citrus is much stronger in the Lillet, and it also seems sweeter.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Gin and Wormwood

It’s odd, I still find otherwise sensible people parroting the “thujone hype” about Wormwood and Absinthe.

A couple points which I will repeat.

Wormwood contains a compound called Thujone. This compound is toxic in large doses, (as is most everything you can possibly consume, including water.) Experiments with lab animals show large doses may cause convulsions. However, the LD50 (Median Lethal Dose) for Thujone is around the same as that of Caffeine and many other substances which are “Generally Regarded as Safe”. No scientific evidence has ever been found for any sort of hallucinatory experience resulting from consumption of Absinthe or Thujone. Unless you count Delerium Tremens.

It would be impossible to consume enough of Absinthe (or similar) to result in a large enough dose of Thujone to reach anywhere near toxic levels for humans. Even with those Absinthe (or Absinthe-like substances) which tout their high levels of Thujone. Alcohol is far more toxic than Thujone (or Caffeine,) meaning, you would die of alcohol poisoning long before you reached anywhere near toxic levels of Thujone in your system.

Another point, Wormwood (Artemesia absinthium) is very, very bitter. A substance in it called “Absinthin” is among the most bitter substances known. Of those plants commonly consumed or used medicinally, only Rue is more bitter than Wormwood. Placing a piece of wormwood leaf on your tongue is not a pleasant experience. However, because properly made Absinthe is a distilled spirit, not unlike Gin, most of the organic substances, including the Absinthin are left behind in the still. Thus Absinthe is not a particularly bitter beverage, (depending on your perspective and whether or not you’re a “super taster”.) In any case, it’s no Campari or Aperol.

A last point, proper distillation of Absinthe leaves almost no trace of Thujone in the final product. Almost all modern distilled Absinthes, and all vintage Absinthes which have been tested to date, fall below the levels of Thujone which the EU declares safe. Most would even probably test safe by the standards which the TTB (US Alcohol and Tobacco Trade and Tax Bureau) currently requires. Thujone does not like to be carried by the alcohol vapors along with the other desired elements. It only starts to come across in the still very late in the distillation, as the temperature rises enough for water and other undesirable elements to make their way into vapor. The only practical way to make a beverage with a large amount of Thujone is either by infusion or by adding Wormwood extract.

Interestingly, however, many old bar books contain recipes like the following, from from a 1934 edition of “Harry Johnson’s 1882 New and Improved Bartender’s Manual and a Guide for Hotels and Restaurants”.

Gin and Wormwood: (Use a small bar glass.) Take six to eight sprigs of wormwood, put these in a quart bottle and fill up with Holland gin; leave this stand for a few days, until the essence of the wormwood is extracted into the gin. In handing out this, pour a little of the above into a small whiskey glass and hand it with the bottle of gin to the customer to help himself. This drink is popular in the eastern part of the country, where the wormwood is used as a substitute for bitters.

My initial impression is these recipes were really more intended as hair of the dog type tonics than recreational beverages, but I’m game.

Gin and Wormwood

I infused about a cup of Tanqueray Gin with a sprig of wormwood and a sprig of the indomitable mint which grows in our community garden for a couple weeks.

1 tsp wormwood infused gin and 2 oz Oude Genever. That was OK. Kind of bitter, ginny, and, well frankly, room temp.

I moved a few years forward, adding a teaspoon of cane syrup, and things started getting better.

I added ice and a lemon twist, stirred it up for a few minutes.

Goddamn if that isn’t compelling in some inexplicable way.

Certainly not a modern cocktail by any stretch. But I like it. Funnily, the wormwood infusion seems to have real flavor comparisons to the Picholine olives I’ve been using lately in my cocktails.

Additional Resources:

Wormwood Society
Thujone: Separating Myth from Reality
The Virtual Absinthe Museum

Byrrh Special Cocktail

Byrrh Special Cocktail

1/2 Byrrh Wine (1 1/2 oz Byrrh 1875 Rare Assemblage)
1/2 Tom Gin (3/4 oz Junipero, 3/4 oz Boomsma Jonge Genever, Dash Simple Syrup)

Stir well and strain into cocktail glass

We’ve had a few defunct ingredients, so far: Hercules, Caperitif, East Indian Punch, Secrestat Bitters… But, for most of those, cocktaildb has had substitution recommendations.

“Tom Gin”, though, is one that has always stumped me.

There is still one made in the US by Boord’s. However, most opinions I’ve read don’t think much of that gin. The surly, and now deceased, barkeep at Aub Zam Zam in San Francisco did insist on making his Martinis with it, and calling for any other gin, got you kicked out the door of that establishment.

I’ve heard the now defunct Tanqueray Malacca was a fairly decent substitution for Tom Gin. Unfortunately, I’ve never run across that gin anywhere.

It’s been suggested to me, by persons who would know, that Junipero, slightly sweetened, isn’t a bad substitution. Of course I can’t leave well enough alone, so, as Old Tom Gin is regarded as the “missing link” between Genever and London Dry Gin, I threw in some Jonge Genever.

A perfectly tasty, and slightly sweet gin cocktail. As far as “special” goes, I’d really have to give the nod to the plain old “Byrrh Cocktail” above as something truly special and unique.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Byrrh Cassis Cocktail

Byrrh Cassis Cocktail

Byrrh Cassis

1 Glass Byrrh (2 oz Byrrh 1875 Rare Assemblage)
1/2 Glass Creme de Cassis (1 oz Brizard Cassis de Bordeaux)

Use medium size glass and fill up with soda water. (Garnish with lemon peel.)

Sorry for the bad picture! I took several, they all looked OK on the back of the camera. Sadly, this one was the best, when examined on the computer.

Kind of sweet; but, perfectly tasty, if you like flavors like Cassis.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Byrrh Cocktail

Byrrh Cocktail

1/3 French Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat)
1/3 Canadian Club Whisky (1 oz 40 Creek Barrel Select)
1/3 Byrrh (1 oz Byrrh 1875 Rare Assemblage)

Shake (stir, please) well and strain into cocktail glass

Holy crap, is this good!

It tastes like a high proof, delicious burgundy* wine.

I’ve read descriptions of Byrrh that said it tastes a like Italian Vermouth. It doesn’t, really. It tastes more like a light and not very sweet port.

Of all the cocktails I’ve made so far from the Savoy, this one seems the most dangerous. It doesn’t taste strong at all, it seems like you’re drinking a slightly sweet glass of wine.

*By Burgundy here, I mean a fine wine from the French wine producing region of Burgundy, not the stuff that comes in jugs.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Byculla Cocktail

Byculla Cocktail

1 Liqueur Glass Ginger (3/4 oz Canton Ginger Liqueur)
1 Liqueur Glass Curacao (3/4 oz Brizard Orange Curacao)
1 Liqueur Glass Port (3/4 oz Warre’s Warrior Port)
1 Liqueur Glass Sherry (3/4 oz Lustau Don Nuno Dry Oloroso)

Shake (stir, please) well and strain into cocktail glass.

Too sweet to be anything other than a dessert cocktail. I like the flavor combination, though. Definitely filed away for future use.

Byculla appears to have been a popular neighborhood with the British of Mumbai (Bombay) from a period of around 1800 to the 1890. Race Track, Clubs, that sort of thing.

So decadent, that there was even a famous Byculla Soufflé:

The Byculla Soufflé – a very Edwardian dish, the pride of the Byculla Club in Bombay; a sweet mousse in which layers of cream are flavoured with different liqueurs – Chartreuese, Benedictine and Maraschino – and set with gelatine. Since the Byculla Club ceased to exist in 1920, to the best of my knowledge so did the Byculla Soufflé; but maybe some reader can correct me.

Yowza, a layered liqueur flavored soufflé sounds kind of fun!

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Chicken and Corn Chowder

Mrs. Flannestad has been a bit under the weather this week and requested chicken soup last night.

This is what I made…

Corn Chowder

Chicken and Corn Chowder

2 Chicken Leg Thigh Combo
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1/2 carrot, roughly chopped
1/2 celery, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
sprig thyme
few whole black peppercorns
1 whole clove

1/2 pound bacon
Olive Oil
1 onion, chopped
1 small bell pepper, chopped
1 small red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic
Dry Oregano
Dry Thyme
Bay Leaf
1 TBSP Chili Powder
2 TBSP White Flour

2 Russet Potatoes, Peeled and diced

1 Package Frozen Corn
1 Cup Half and Half
3 Green Onions, sliced
Cilantro, Chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste

Add Chicken to a pot, add onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf and thyme. Cover with water and bring to a simmer. Cook until chicken runs clear.

Meanwhile chop you veggies for the stew proper. Add the bacon to a heavy pot large enough to hold a quart or so of soup. You may need to add a touch of olive oil to get this started faster without burning the bacon. Render fat from bacon and cook until crispy. Reserve bacon. Remove most of the bacon fat from the pan and add chopped onion, bell pepper, and red pepper. Sweat over low heat until they begin to soften and add garlic and spices. Cover and sweat for a few minutes more. Add 1 TBSP bacon grease back in (or olive oil if you prefer), and add flour, stirring to cook for a few minutes. You are creating a roux.

Hopefully, before now, your chicken will be done. Pour off the cooking liquid, strain, and reserve. You should have a couple cups. If not, add extra stock to make it up. Add strained cooking liquid to the vegetables and roux above, whisking quickly. Bring to a simmer rapidly. Add potatoes and lower heat. Cook until potatoes are almost done.

Remove chicken from bones and dice. Add chicken, reserved bacon, corn, and green onions to the soup. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes stir in the half and half and check seasonings. When it again comes to a simmer, ladle into bowls and top with chopped cilantro. Serve with crusty bread.