Dream Cocktail

Dream Cocktail

1/3 Curacao. (3/4 oz Cointreau)
2/3 Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Maison Surrenne Petite Champagne Cognac)
1 Dash Absinthe. (Dash Verte de Fougerolles Absinthe)

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

I’d read this recipe yesterday, and made it from memory. Ended up Accidentally subbing Cointreau in for Curacao. It is already plenty sweet, so I’m not sure I entirely regret the accident.

I’ve made so many Gin cocktails with Absinthe, it’s very interesting to see how it reacts to the Brandy. With Gin the synergy is almost always around the anise flavors of the Absinthe and Gin. With Brandy, different flavors come out. I’d call this a a very flowery cocktail. It reminds me of orange blossoms.

However, in the absence of any other mitigating elements, the combination of Brandy and Cointreau is a little harsh. I would guess Grand Marnier or Curacao with the Brandy would be a bit smoother.

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.

Douglas Cocktail

Douglas Cocktail.

1/3 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
2/3 Plymouth Gin. (1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin)

Shake (stir, please) well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze orange and lemon peel on top.

Finally tracked down some tovolo silicon ice cube molds and experimented with them. I think 1 1/2 inch or so cubes. I can see how these would be of benefit for shaken cocktails, as they don’t shatter like regular automatic freezer ice. I think the IKEA ones are even larger, aren’t they?

In any case, they are much harder to break than the regular cubes because of their size. So for cracked ice, I guess I’ll stick with regular automatic ice for the time being.

The Douglas Cocktail is a perfectly fine dry Martini variation. I have to admit I miss the orange bitters, Absinthe, Italian Vermouth, etc. of the many other Martini variations, so dunno if it would go on the short list.

Also, boy, martinis without garnishes are tough to make exciting looking or even get the camera to focus on. Guess I should have left the twists in the drink!

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.

Savoy “Cocktails”

Danger! Cocktail Geekery Ahead!

Received an email with the following question:

“I was reading the SAVOY Book while looking for a recipe, and found that Harry C. was not much intrigued for the use of Bitters, there aren’t many recipes with them in the cocktails. What you think about it?”

As this is a pretty common question, I thought I’d post my answer.

One of the things that has interested me is figuring out which cocktails were actual Savoy/Craddock cocktails and which were included from other books.

One person I know has described “The Savoy Cocktail Book” as the first example of cocktail recipe “shovelware”. That is to say, The Savoy Cocktail Book collected the recipes from a number of pre-prohibition cocktail books and included them verbatim without crediting the authors.

That we know of so far the big sources for recipes for the Savoy Cocktail Book were:

Drinks, by Hugo Ensslin
ABC of Cocktails, by Harry McElhone
Cocktails: How to Mix Them, by Robert Vermeire
Here’s How, by Judge Jr.

He also nominally cribbed from Jerry Thomas and/or Harry Johnson.

To be honest, I imagine Harry Craddock’s involvement with the “Savoy Cocktail Book” as showing up at the editor’s office with a big stack of books and recipes. I really think that is about it. Unless he enjoyed referring to himself in the third person and quoting himself, he didn’t write the introduction or the conclusion. One of the wine sections was by Colette. I’ve no idea who wrote the other parts or comments to various recipes. It’s a bit of a mystery, but I suspect it wasn’t Craddock.

The first thing we discover from comparing the source material with the Savoy Cocktail Book is that Craddock, or his editors, were not a particularly careful transcribers of others’ recipes or methods. Whether this is due to the fact that some recipes were transferred verbally or they just did a bad job of transcribing and proof reading the book, I do not know. It is certainly not beyond the pale that bitters were just left out of a number of recipes.

Another odd thing about the Savoy Cocktail Book is that it calls just about every drink a “Cocktail” whether it includes bitters or not.

In most pre-prohibition cocktail books, no one would have called a drink which didn’t include bitters a “Cocktail”. In fact, many drinks which did include bitters weren’t even cocktails. Crustas, for example.

By the time of the Savoy Cocktail Book, it seems like the word “Cocktail” had become more or less synonymous with almost any alcoholic drink that wasn’t wine or beer. Basically anything alcoholic that was shaken with ice and served was a cocktail, according to the “Savoy Cocktai Book”.

Anyway, of the drinks that we know or suspect are Craddock’s, you’re right, few include bitters. Leap Year, Corpse Reviver No. 2, Kick in the Pants…

One thing to remember, though, is that many of the aperitifs, Kina Lillet for example, may have been more bitter at that time than their current incarnations. Others commonly used, like Hercules and Caperitif, may also have been somewhat bitter.

So to make a proper version of a Savoy cocktail with Kina Lillet, if you’re using modern Lillet Blanc, it isn’t an awful idea to include a dash of orange bitters, a dash of angostura bitters, and a dash of simple syrup in the cocktail.

Hope this helps!

Erik Adkins

This is the third in an ongoing series of bartender features on the Underhill-Lounge.

Previously, I had experimented by asking the bartender at Montgomery Place to make me a Bombay Cocktail No. 2, but this just seemed to result in a grumpy bartender.

To make it less of a shock, I thought I would contact some local bartenders and give them a choice of the dozen or so Savoy Cocktails that might be coming up in the book.

Surprisingly, some actually were game.

When I was giving Josey Packard my spiel trying to convince her to appear in Savoy topic, it turned out another of the patrons at the bar was a bartender, Mr. Erik Adkins.

Mr. Adkins is the bar manager at The Slanted Door here in San Francisco.

I told him how impressed I was with the bar program at the Slanted Door and he said he reads eGullet. Oh ho!

We exchanged contact info, and I filed him away as someone to contact for participation in the Savoy Topic.

After I finished the last bartender feature, I started mailing around looking for someone to participate next.

Of the people I mailed, Mr. Adkins responded and said he was opening a new bar in Oakland with a classic cocktail menu. Let’s meet there!

Flora is a new restaurant in a beautiful deco building a block away from the 19th Street BART station in Oakland. When Mr. Adkins and I met up early Friday evening, it had been open for exactly 6 days! The cocktail menu is composed of about a dozen pre-prohibition classics and a few original cocktails.

Erik is the bar manager at the Slanted Door in San Francisco. He is also working as a bar consultant for Flora, a cocktail bar in a vintage deco building in downtown Oakland.

Doctor Cocktail

1/3 Lemon Juice or Lime Juice. (3/4 oz Lemon Juice)
2/3 Swedish Punch. (1 1/2 oz Carlshamm’s Flagg Punsch)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

I continue my Swedish Punsch evangelizing, toting the Carlshamm’s Flagg Punsch a friend smuggled back from Sweden from bar to bar.

This is a pretty rich cocktail, modernizing would probably be a matter of slightly drying it out with a decent white rum, say 1 oz Flagg Punsch, 1/2 oz rum.

Erik Adkins’ comments:

dr. cocktail was good. not subtle or complex but that exotic arrack flavor came through without too much of the ‘agricole rhum’ harshness that the 100 proof arrack delivers.

Dolly O’Dare Cocktail

6 Dashes Apricot Brandy. (1 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 French Vermouth. (1 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel on top.

For this one, we tried two variables. Tanqueray 10 Gin, Plymouth Gin, Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot, and Haus Alpenz Marillen Apricot Eau-de-Vie.

For my money, the Tanqueray 10 and Orchard Apricot was the most enjoyable. Others preferred the drier, more martini-esque nature, of the Plymouth and the Eau-de-Vie. Interestingly, the other two, the Plymouth/liqueur and Tanqueray/Eau-de-Vie fared the worst. An interesting illustration of how relatively minor tweaks such as the brand and character of gin can have a big impact.

Erik Adkins’ Comments:

the dolly o dare! great name and a good drink. i made one for gus, an alembic regular and one of the soms at the slanted door, and he loved it. i agree with you that the tanq 10 with the apricot liquor worked the best. although the 10 with the eau-de-vie wasn’t bad either. the liquor gave the drink some needed body and the orange peel lent a lot too. the alpine complexity of the gin , with a hint of richness from the apricot, with the dry vermouth finish worked for me. a nice light aperitif style cocktail.

Q: What are the biggest challenges to presenting classic cocktails to modern audiences?

one of the big challenges with selling classic cocktails is getting people to take the first sip of something new. most people have only had gin in tepid overly large martinis and maybe a gin and tonic from a syrupy soda gun. and almost no one knows that vermouth is delicious. if they have ever had more than a few drops in a drink it has almost surely been oxidized. sadly the more drinks that i put on the list at the slanted door with gin, cognac, whiskey or rum the more people order the ‘safe drinks’. as bartenders we are being forced to be subversive to sell good drinks. i’ve been quietly pouring 4 to 1 martinis and gin drinkers love them. there’s nothing greater than watching a group of young ladies drinking clover clubs because you don’t carry midori.

Finally, Mr. Adkins was kind enough to send along one of the drinks he created for Flora:

carter beats the devil

2 oz el tesoro reposado
1 oz lime
1/2 oz organic agave nectar (rainbow bulk)
1/2 oz del maguey minero mescal
20 drops (eye dropper) of chile tincture

served up

chile tincture: fill a jar with de-stemmed intact thai chilles and cover with wray & nephew overproof for two weeks.

carter was a 1920s era magician from oakland. his biography is entitled carter beats the devil.

The magician aspect seems particularly apt.

Flora had been open only 6 days before I was in to meet up with Mr. Adkins and had only received their liquor license the day before. I was there early in the evening, and was fascinated to watch as experienced bartenders tried to transform the awkwardness of unfamiliarity into the graceful dance of professional bar service. I don’t know if they quite succeeded that night, but, I have no doubt that, within the month, patrons will be startled as magically re-animated suits of armor crash up to the bar to enjoy one of Flora’s well made Martinis and bartenders offer them bunches of flowers pulled from their sleeves.

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–Adventures in Drinking

Kind of a crazy short week this week, and very little beer drunk. Or maybe too much to pick a specific beer?

When I got to work on Tuesday morning, Mrs. Flannestad called to say, “I hate to break it to you, but you’ve got jury duty today!”

Ran out of work and down to the courthouse, only to be told to go back to work and come back Wednesday.

Got to the court on Wednesday and was called into the courtroom for jury selection.

Sigh. Tedium ensues, as in this completely minor case (alleged shoplifting of something with a value of less than $400) both the young prosecutor and defense lawyer swing for the fences. Sigh. Fortunately, they didn’t dismiss enough people to get to me, so I don’t end up being interrogated. I can go home, my jury service over for a year.

I was kind of downtown, so I thought I’d salve the hurt at not being chosen for the jury by stopping at Slanted Door for one of their refreshing cold tall Pimm’s Cups. Indeed, as delicious as the last time I had one.

Had a very interesting and enlightening discussion with a Cognac, Armangac, and Calvados importer who stopped by with some products for them to try.

Anyway, a good evening out, great conversations, and some very tasty drinks. And I even made it home on time, well OK a little late, to make dinner for Mrs. Flannestad. A pretty tasty pasta with romano beans, chanterelle mushrooms, and mixed small tomatoes.

Thursday, we did actually have some beers. For the first time we stopped by Magnolia Brewpub for their weekly fried chicken night. Plenty of tasty beer and some even better fried chicken. Juicy and perfectly cooked.

Friday, we stopped at Pauline’s for Pizza and then on to Zeitgeist (Rated one of America’s Best Bars by Esquire Magazine. Really.) for a work related celebration. Speakeasy Hunter’s Point Porter and a pitcher of Poppy Jasper. I may have drunk too much.

Saturday, the Bay Area heat wave continued. We were both tired of eating out and looking forward to a meal at home. However, the temperature made me unwilling to turn on the oven or stove. Instead I repeated the grilled Arctic char on a bed of shiso and served it with grilled corn, a tomato salad, and potatoes cooked in foil on the grill. For me corn grilled in the husk is one of those summer treats that takes me back to my childhood in Wisconsin. It was so hot, I actually got Mrs. Flannestad to consent to drinking a bottle Navarro Pinot Gris! Woo, white wine for a change.

(Picture by Mrs. Flannestad)

We also had our last two cans of 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon. I dunno, even well chilled I still get a fair bit of canny taste.

So that was the week. Trying to get psyched for another Monday morning.

Corpse Reviver, Re-Revisited

Danger! Cocktail Recipe Geekery Ahead!

One of the things that has been puzzling me lately is the relationship between the James Beard edited version of Patrick Duffy’s “The Official Mixer’s Manual” and the 1948 edition of “Bartender’s Guide…by Trader Vic”.

There are a number of recipes which both books share that are sort of unusual. The Corpse Reviver with Swedish Punsch and the Aviation with Apricot Brandy come to mind.

Initially, in the “Corpse Reviver, Revisited” post, I suggested probably Beard, or some other earlier editor of Duffy made these changes, and Trader Vic then replicated them.

Turns out, it may have been the other way around.

Doubleday published* both the 1947 edition of “Bartender’s Guide…” and editions of “The Official Mixer’s Manual” from 1948 onwards.

I asked around a bit and while talking to Ted Haigh, he mentioned that Duffy’s “Official Mixer’s Manual” didn’t get expanded and revised until Beard’s edition in the 1960s. The last Copyright date on my Duffy/Beard is 1958, but it contains information on wine vintages up until 1961.

So it seems like these changes to the vintage recipes came from the Trader Vic book, and then were carried forward when Beard edited Duffy.

For what it is worth, it looks like Stan Jones’, in his “Jones Complete Bar Guide”, also got much of his corpus of pre-prohibition cocktails from the 1947/48 Trader Vic. Though he altered many of the recipes.

So while I still puzzle over the addition of Apricot Brandy to the Aviation, I may have Victor Bergeron to thank for the delicious, and kind of tropical tasting, Corpse Reviver No. 2 with Swedish Punsch.

*The Trader Vic I have is from 1948 and published by Garden City Books, but at the beginning it sez,”Garden City Reprint Edition, 1948, by special arrangement with Doubleday & Company, Inc., Copyright, 1947, By Doubleday & Company, Inc.”

Dodge Special Cocktail

The Dodge Special Cocktail

1/2 Gin. (generous 1 oz Beefeaters)
1/2 Cointreau or Mint. (Generous 1 oz Cointreau)
1 Dash Grape Juice. (Dash Twin Hill Ranch Grape Juice)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

This is another prohibition era libation from Judge Jr.’s “Here’s How”.

With Cointreau and the proportions above, this is so awful as to be puzzling. I would describe the flavor as, “orangey and slightly grapey aftershave”. The harshness of the Cointreau really stands out. I don’t know that mint would be much of an improvement. Maybe. Well, the cocktail is an attractive color.

Grape and orange isn’t a bad combo, though, so I poured the above down the sink and tried again. 3/4 oz Gin; 3/4 oz Cointreau; 3/4 oz Grape Juice; shake & strain. With a complex and slightly tannic grape juice, like the Twin Hill, this isn’t bad at all.

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.

Where’s Victoria

Back in June, 2008 (or July, 2007), I ran a Savoy bartender profile and drink making session with Victoria D’Amato-Moran.

Well, the good news is, as of the end of August, 2008, she is no longer at Monaghan’s in the Marina.  She has gotten a new job and will be working at a brand new restaurant located at Pier 1 1/2 here in San Francisco.

Opening September 18th, 2008, La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, to quote Victoria, “will focus on 12 different styles of Ceviche, (Cebiche), fresh fish, peruvian flavors, world wines and fantastic cocktails.”

Expect to find her there Tuesday through Friday, 11:00 AM until 5:30-ish.

Here’s wishing her the best of luck in this venture!

Josey Packard

This is the second in an ongoing series of bartender features on the Underhill-Lounge.

Previously, I had experimented by asking the bartender at Montgomery Place to make me a Bombay Cocktail No. 2, but this just seemed to result in a grumpy bartender.

To make it less of a shock, I thought I would contact some local bartenders and give them a choice of the dozen or so Savoy Cocktails that might be coming up in the book.

Surprisingly, some actually were game.

NOTE: Since writing this up, Josey has moved back to the East Coast. When I last talked to her, she was looking for a bartending gig in the Boston area. I will post an update when I know more. I still, however, recommend putting Alembic on your short list of bars to visit in the San Francisco Bay Area.

After about a month of travel, sickness, and scheduling conflicts, I finally was able to get together with Josey Packard at The Alembic Bar to make some Savoy Cocktails. While we were at it, I asked her a couple questions.

Josey’s BIO: I’m a frequent victim of agape: widely varying passions have led me to several different occupations. A vocalist by training, day jobs for me have included that of seamstress, auto mechanic, office manager, carpenter, editor, audio producer, and flooring installer. A keen interest in cocktail history led me to take up work behind the bar, and it is there where I find myself able to marry both vocation and avocation; I’m proud to call myself a bartender. I developed the signature cocktail for the Boston Athenaeum’s 200th anniversary celebration, and have finalized the recipe for two original cocktails, the Wolfhound and the Northern Spy.

Diki-Diki Cocktail

1/6 Grape Fruit Juice.
1/6 Swedish Punch. (Carlshamm’s Flaggpunsch)
2/3 Calvados. (Le Merton Vieux Calvados)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

For comparison, Josey wanted to try this with both white grapefruit and ruby red grapefruit juice.

I think Josey’s first comment was, “Wow, that’s an adult cocktail!” and her second was, “I could drink the hell out of this!” Given the relatively small amount of Grapefruit juice, we were both a bit surprised that the we preferred the touch of sweetness and additional fruitiness that the Ruby Red Grapefruit brought to the cocktail. It was a subtle difference; but, enough to be noticeable. In any case, I agree with Josey about this cocktail. Definitely one of the highlights so far of the letter “D.”

From Google, as far as I can tell, “Diki-Diki” is a Filipino adjective used to convey “very small.” There is also a small African Antelope called a “Dik-Dik.”

Robert Vermeire, in his book, “Cocktails: How to Mix Them,” notes the following regarding this cocktail:

Diki-Diki is the chief monarch of the Island Ubian (Southern Philipines), who is now 37 years old, weighs 23 lb., and his height is 32 in. The author introduced this cocktail at the Embassy Club in London, February 1922.

Q: What ingredient have you been experimenting mixing with lately?

A: I’ve been experimenting with the Luxardo and Maraska Maraschino liqueurs. I was really surprised to discover how differently they work in cocktails and which gins work best with either one.

We had wanted to try the Desert Healer cocktail as well; but discovered the bar was out of ginger beer.

Devonia Cocktail
(6 People)

Pour into the shaker 4 glasses of Sparkling Cider (2 oz Two Rivers Gravenstein Apple Hard Cider) and 2 glasses of Gin (1 oz Gin.) Add some ice and a few drops of Orange Bitters. Shake lightly and serve.

The Devonia was particularly appealing as The Alembic Bar currently has a very nice Hard Cider from Two Rivers on tap. We first tried it with Plymouth Gin; but it was maybe a bit too adult. The Two Rivers Gravenstein cider is a very dry cider, almost like one of the French champagne-style ciders in character. Interesting, however, to compare the cider on its own with the cider, gin, orange bitters mix. Mixing the cider with the gin, really brought out the earthy, apple peel flavors of the cider, especially in the smell.

For a second try, Josey had the idea to try the Devonia with Anchor Distilling’s new Genevieve Genever-style gin. Even though we had no illusions that this cocktail is really a Devonia, we both preferred it. The complexity of the Genevieve worked well with the cider. And, I might add, the Genevieve is a really interesting taste all on its own. The young whisk(e)y character of the distillate comes across loud and clear in the smell, taste, and body of this new gin. Personally, I can’t wait to get a bottle myself and start experimenting with it.

Q: As Alembic is a restaurant and bar, have you found any particularly good food and cocktail pairings?

A: The obvious one is a Martini with our Catfish Cakes. The chef uses Gin in his Catfish cakes and Tonic in his tartar sauce. With a wet martini, it is a great combination. Another pairing that works very well is the Opera Cocktail with the Oxtails.

Q: Do you have an original cocktail or an old favorite you feel represents you and your style of mixing?

Northern Spy
2 oz. Applejack
1 oz. fresh apple cider (flash-pasteurized ok but no preservatives!)
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/4-1/2 oz. apricot brandy (amount depending on brand/sweetness)
Rim glass with cinnamon-sugar. Shake and strain into rimmed glass. Add a cranberry as garnish.
Note: this cocktail responds well to “royale” treatment, a.k.a. topping with champagne.

I am impossibly biased towards both The Alembic Bar and Josey Packard, so it is tough for me to even pretend impartiality here. Alembic is a great bar and Josey is a wonderfully engaged and engaging bartender.

If you’re in San Francisco and into cocktails, Alembic should be one of the two or three “musts” that goes on your “to do” list. You’ll find Josey there, usually earlier in the evening or during the day, 5 days a week.

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–Anne Marie’s Amber

Friday evening Mrs. Flannestad and I met up with our friends Robby and Mrs. Virus for a nice evening out.

We went for dinner at a new-ish upscale-ish Beer Bar here in San Francisco called Monk’s Kettle.

(picture by Mrs. Flannestad)

There was a beer from a Fairfax, CA, Brewery I’d never heard of called Iron Springs. Fairfax is a small town past San Anselmo on Sir Francis Drake in Marin. Kind of a scruffy hippy outpost on the outskirts of upscale communities like Corte Madeira and Sausalito. So, being Mr. “drink local beer,” and actually knowing folks who live in Fairfax, I figured I better give it a chance.

Called “Anne Marie’s Amber” it was a very good beer. No disrespect or slight to the brewery intended, but it tasted like really good, honest, home brew. To explain what I mean, I’ve had some good and bad beer that friends have brewed. But when unfiltered home brew beer is fresh and really good, there is nothing better. Magnolia Brewpub reminds me of really good home brew and I know part of it is because they don’t filter, just fine. And it isn’t bottled, just served fresh from the keg.

Anne Marie’s Amber reminded me of that. I can only describe the texture as almost chunky, there was so much chewy beer goodness. Plus, not over the top in sweetness, bitterness, or ABV, so you can drink a few without doing cartwheels down the street.

They have a number of very good beers on tap at Monk’s Kettle and a good list of Belgians and other beers in bottles. As far as the food goes, it’s no Hop Leaf, but at least they are trying. Excellent fresh baked soft pretzels…

(picture by Mrs. Flannestad)

…and some pretty tasty house made charcouterie.

(picture by Mrs. Flannestad)