H.P.W. Cocktail

For a few years, maybe in the 1980s, Tanqueray made another gin supposedly based on a formula they made in the 19th Century. It was called “Malacca” and discontinued a number of years back.

Because many people feel it is the closest gin formula to a certain style of “Old Tom Gin” bottles are highly prized by booze aficionados, often drawing close to a hundred dollars on eBay. It is also one of the great white whales those of us who lurk in liquor store aisles keep our eyes out for.

Sadly, I still have never seen a bottle of Malacca Gin here in San Francisco. However, some Internet friends (Thanks Mike and Jenny!) ran across a few bottles and were kind enough to share. Who am I to say no?

H.P.W. Cocktail

1/2 Italian Vermouth. (1 1/2 oz Vya Sweet Vermouth)
1/2 Tom Gin. (1 1/2 oz Tanqueray Malacca)
(dash Mesquite Gum Syrup)

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

Robert Vermeire, in his book, “Drinks: How to Mix Them,” has an interesting note about the H.P.W Cocktail:

This cocktail was invented by the famous bar-tender “Charlie,” of the Racquet Club in New York, as a compliment to the prominent millionaire member of the Club, Mr. Harry Payne Whitney.

Millionaire is a bit of an understatement, as at his death in 1930, Harry Payne Whitney was estimated to be worth $62,808,000. His wife, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney was no slouch either. Daughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, she was a sculptor and patron of the arts who later went on to found the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Yep, that’s another perfectly fine Martinez type variation.

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–Scaldis Noel

Every once in a while I’ll walk into the Bayshore BevMo and see a grocery cart full of clearance items in front of the store.  Usually I don’t pay much attention as it is most often filled with awful industrial liqueurs or grape-juice-plus-oakdust type wines.  However, a couple weeks ago I was pleased to see a few bottles of Scaldis Noel.

And how could you pass that discount up?

Scaldis Noel is a very strong (12%!) Belgian Ale, best described as similar to an English or American Barley Wine style ale.  It is surprisingly easy to drink for its strength and gains tremendous complexity and interest as it warms in the glass.

It was a perfect after dinner complement to our meal of pork tenderloin, roasted potatoes, roasted apples, and sauerkraut.

Hanky Panky Cocktail

Hanky Panky Cocktail

2 Dashes Fernet Branca.
1/2 Italian Vermouth. (1 1/2 oz Vya Sweet Vermouth)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Tanqueray Gin)

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

This is from a document I got from the Savoy Hotel:

…the American Bar at The Savoy was in situ by 1898 while the newly rebuilt Claridge’s which opened in the same year, had a separate bar, distinct from its other public rooms. Even The Berkeley had an American Bar by the early years of the next century.

The first of a string of famous barmen in The Savoy’s American Bar was actually a barmaid, who had begun her employment at Claridge’s in 1899 . Ada Coleman’s father had known Richard D’Oyly Carte, and when he died, D’Oyly Carte suggested that she might care to earn her living by working in the bar at Claridge’s, which had been newly opened in 1898. “Coley” came over to the American Bar at The Savoy in July 1903, and retired in December 1924. Her most famous creation was the Hanky Panky, which she invented for Sir Charles Hawtrey, and which was so named by him.

Much has been written about Ms. Coleman by such luminaries as the ladies of Lupec, (By Jove! Now That’s The Real Hanky-Panky) and Dr. Cocktail (In his column in Imbibe! Magazine), so I won’t cover that much. Besides, the above quote is all I’ve got to go on.

Though, in my usual stickler manner, I will note that the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel opened in 1898, and Ms. Coleman did not join as head barman until 1903. She wasn’t the first head barman, just, “the first in a string of famous barmen,” as the quote above notes.

As usual, I think it is worthwhile to pick a gin with some spine, if you’re going to go Fifty-Fifty in a cocktail.

I’ve made the Hanky Panky before and enjoyed it. I can’t say I thought, previously, that it was a great drink, just a very good drink. Something about this combination of ingredients, or my mood, really worked on the evening when I made it as above.

Maybe all the Gin and Sweet vermouth cocktails I’ve been making over the last couple weeks have given me better perspective, but this classic of Ms. Coleman’s is definitely worth risking the consequences of a dalliance.

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.

Best Gravy Evar

While I’m not someone who usually enjoys a meal of liver or spleen, I’ve always enjoyed a little bit of giblet flavor in things like dirty rice.

Lately, I’ve been adding a bit of chicken giblets to a stuffing I use for winter squash. Very tasty.

Anyway, so I was reading about this week’s chef’s dinner at Magnolia Brewpub and it said they were serving the turkey with Giblet gravy.

And frankly, I’m all about the gravy, stuffing, and potatoes at Thanksgiving.  I really don’t care that much about the turkey, except it is needed to flavor the gravy.

So…

I simmered 1/2 pound of chicken livers in chicken stock to cover with a bay leaf and a sprig of winter savory.

When the chicken livers were cooked through, I strained the liquid through a chinois and added more stock to make 2 cups.

Deglazed the Turkey roasting pan with a cup of white wine. Strained this through a chinois and added to Chicken liver cooking liquid.

Minced one of the chicken livers.

Made a roux based on 2 TBSP of butter.

Added liquid above to roux. Added minced chicken liver. Salt and pepper to taste.

Mrs. Flannestad exclaimed, “This gravy is great and I don’t even like gravy!”

Ahem, I then had to break it to her that it had chicken livers in it.

Definitely “Best Gravy Evar”!

Another of our favorite things is “pudding cake”.

I had a little pie pumpkin I bought around Halloween that has been sitting on the counter for a month now. Wanted to do something with it, but wasn’t up for full on pie.

On a whim, searched the internet for “pumpkin pudding cake” and found this:

Chocolate Pumpkin Pudding Cake

The instructions were a bit odd, but it was the only from scratch Pumpkin Pudding Cake I could find.  All the others called for things like boxed cake mix.  Only after it was too late into the process did I realize it was a vegan recipe.  I guess “VWAV” stands for “Vegan with a Vengeance”.  Sounds a bit menacing to me.

I’m sure they won’t be thrilled to be included in a post that involves chicken livers.

Well, so it goes.

Damn was the cake tasty though.

I was really surprised how rich and tasty it was without involving eggs or butter.

H. and H. Cocktail

H. and H. Cocktail*

2 Dashes Curacao. (Brizard Orange Curacao)
1/3 Glass Kina Lillet. (3/4 oz Cocchi Americano)
2/3 Glass Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz No. 209 Gin)

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

*Happier and Happier? or Hoarser and Hoarser? or Hazier and Hazier?

If you know anything about me by now, you know that any excuse to combine Gin and Cocchi Americano is a fine excuse to have another drink.

Definitely Hazier and Happier!

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.

Hakam Cocktail

Hakam Cocktail

1 Dash Orange Bitters. (light dash Regan’s and Fee’s Orange Bitters)
2 Dashes Curacao. (Brizard Orange Curacao)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz Tanqueray Gin)
1/2 Italian Vermouth. (1 oz Vya Sweet Vermouth)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Orange Peel.)

The last of this trifecta of Dry Gin and Italian Vermouth Cocktails, I found the Hakam the most enjoyable of the three.

I guess the question is, “Hey, isn’t this just a Martinez?”

I suppose, since technically a Martinez is supposed to be made with Old-Tom Gin, it’s not.

Still, the Hakam is well within spitting distance of the Martinez.

Who can complain about that?

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.

Gypsy Cocktail


Gypsy Cocktail

1/2 Italian Vermouth. (1 1/2 oz Vya Sweet Vermouth)
1/2 Plymouth Gin. (1 1/2 oz Plymouth Navy Strength Gin)

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

I haven’t found Plymouth Gin to stand up particularly well against Dry Vermouth in Fifty-Fifty type cocktails, let alone sweet vermouth, so I thought the Gypsy might be a fine opportunity to call in the big guns.

The Plymouth Gypsy was really quite good, I have to say. Really kicked up the smell of the gin, vermouth, and lemon twist. But I wouldn’t recommend making any serious commitments for the rest of the evening, if you’re going to start out on this level…

There are a bunch of Cocktails that go by the name “Gypsy”. The most famous is probably the Vodka Gypsy: 1 3/4 oz Vodka, 3/4 oz Benedictine, and a dash of Aromatic Bitters. The next most famous is probably Dominick Venegas’ Gypsy: 1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin, 3/4 oz St. Germain, 1/4 oz Green Chartreuse, and 1/2 oz Lime Juice. I haven’t tried the Vodka Gypsy, but Mr. Venegas’ St. Germain drink is quite tasty.

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.

Guard’s Cocktail

Guard’s Cocktail

2 Dashes Curacao. (scant barspoon Senior Curacao of Curacao)
1/3 Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Vya Sweet Vermouth)
2/3 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Tanqueray Gin)
(dash Regan’s Orange Bitters)

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

Odd how cocktails with similar ingredients sometimes pile up. Just a bit ago we had two cocktails in a row involving peach bitters and mint. The next three cocktails are all Gin and Sweet Vermouth.

Just got this Vya Sweet Vermouth and am still deciding what I think. So far, in this cocktail, it’s not really grabbing me. I think I need to try it side by side with Dolin Sweet and Carpano Antica and maybe in some Manhattans.

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.

Grenadier Cocktail

Grenadier Cocktail

1 Dash Jamaica Ginger. (6 drops Eclectic Institute Ginger Herbal Extract)
1/3 Ginger Brandy. (3/4 oz Canton Ginger Liqueur)
2/3 Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Cerbois VSOP Armangac)
1 Teaspoonful Powdered Sugar. (1/2 teaspoon Rich Simple Syrup)

Shake (stir, please) well and strain into cocktail glass. (Brandied Cherry wrapped in ginger slice.)

One of my favorite descriptions from the Cocktaildb is that of “Jamaica Ginger“:

Defunct generic USP grade liquid ginger compound used medicinally as an antispasmodic and in drinks as a ginger flavoring, added in dashes. Prohibition saw Jamaica ginger abused in much larger quantities as an additive to “bathtub gin” and other crudely-distilled and foul-tasting products prepared for scofflaw drinkers. This often led to cases of temporary semi-paralysis, known as “jake-leg”, an ironic variation of the term “jack-leg”, meaning the stagger around without control.

Figure the Ginger Herbal Extract from the hippie coop is about equivalent.

According to wikipedia, “A grenadier (French for “Grenademan”) was originally a specialized assault soldier for siege operations, first established as a distinct role in the mid to late 17th century. Grenadiers were soldiers who would throw grenades and storm breaches, leading the forefront of such a breakthrough.”

After all that drama I dunno if this cocktail is quite all that menacing. It’s got a little heat from the ginger extract and is a pleasant enough use of Brandy. My embellishment here, the cherry wrapped in a very thin slice of fresh ginger, does act pretty grenade-like.

Interestingly, from a recent NY Times article, there’s a new bar in Brooklyn called “Jake Walk”!

Cocktails and Cheddar, Jessica Grose

On any given evening in Carroll Gardens, several neighborhood denizens will stop on Brooklyn’s bustling Smith Street in front of the JakeWalk’s large picture window, peering into the smallish, packed rectangular bar….While the cured meat and cheese offerings (including fondue) are a major pull for locals, the potent cocktails and free-flowing whiskey certainly add to the JakeWalk’s allure. (The bar is named for the wonky walk induced by drinking jake liquor, a kind of moonshine made from Jamaican ginger and served in pre-21st Amendment dives.)

Well, that sounds like fun, Jamaica Ginger based cocktails or not.

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–Route des Epices

When shopping at one of my favorite local stores for unusual beers (Plump Jack in Noe Valley), the manager pointed out a beer which had just arrived from Canada. Route des Epices from Brasserie Dieu Ciel in Montreal.

Unusually this beer is a rye based beer flavored with black and green peppercorns.

Being a big fan of both rye and pepper, I couldn’t resist giving it a try.

The first thing that surprised me about it was how dry a beer it was. It’s pretty dark in color, so I was expecting something a bit sweeter.

Next thing I got was a bit of black pepper burn at the back of my throat.

I continued to puzzle over the combinations of flavors. As it warmed, more of the black and green pepper flavor expressed themselves in the beer. Almost a woody, musty, earthy flavor.

Nice tingle on the tongue, as well, from the heat of the peppercorns.

Certainly like no other beer I’ve ever tried before, but on the whole, I’d rate it more as interesting than outstanding.

Brasserie Dieu Ciel makes another beer which they flavor with Hibiscus Flowers. Also an interesting enough idea that I’d try it at least once.