Rose Cocktail (French Style Nos. 1-3)

As these Rose Cocktail (French Style) are all pretty much variations on the same thing, it seemed sensible to tackle them all in the same post.

The components seem to be booze (gin and/or kirsch), red sweet fluid (Cherry Heering, Grenadine, or Syrup Groseille) and French Vermouth.

Rose Cocktail (French Style No. 1)

Rose Cocktail (French Style No. 1)

1/4 Cherry Brandy. (1/2 oz Cherry Heering)

1/4 French Vermouth. (1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth)

1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz Plymouth Gin)

Stir well and strain into cocktail glass.

The first of the French Rose Cocktails is the most “Martini-like”. Not bad, but a bit plain, along the lines of a slightly fruity Dry Gin Martini.

Rose Cocktail (French Style No. 2)

Rose Cocktail (French Style No. 2)

1/4 Cherry Brandy. (1/2 oz Cherry Heering)

1/4 Kirsch. (1/2 oz Clear Creek Kirsch)

1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz Plymouth Gin)

Stir well and strain into cocktail glass.

French Rose Cocktail No. 2 is the booziest, being 3/4 booze and 1/4 liqueur. If you make this, give it a good long stir. Even then, I didn’t find it all that appealing.

Rose Cocktail (French Style No. 3)

1 Teaspoonful Grenadine.
1/2 French Vermouth.
1/2 Kirsch.

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

That sounds OK, but looking through Harry McElhone’s “Barflies and Cocktails”, I found the following receipt:

Rose Cocktail (French Style No. 3)

Rose Cocktail

2/3 French Vermouth (1 1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth)
1/6 Kirschwasser (1/2 of 3/4 oz Clear Creek Kirsch)
1/6 Syrup Groseille (1/2 oz 3/4 oz Homemade Grenadine).

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass, with cherry. Original Recipe by Johnny, of the Chatham Bar, Paris.

Now to me that is something interesting, along the lines of the Rose Cocktail (English Style) or the Chrysanthemum Cocktail. A nice, light, vermouth heavy cocktail, not overly sweet. With a good quality vermouth, this makes quite a pleasant appetizer, and it is more than worthwhile messing around with the proportions to find the exact ratio which is exactly to your taste.

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.

Boothby’s Ten Commandments: III. Always appear pleasant and obliging

Boothby

As I mentioned before, Anchor Distilling recently reprinted the 1891 edition of “Cocktail Boothby’s American Bar-Tender“.

As someone who is somewhat involved in the bartender trade, I always enjoy going through old books and reading the advice that appears. Usually, I am amazed at how little has changed. How valid pieces of advice contained in a book from 1891 can be 118 years later.

So I thought I would go through Boothby’s “Ten Commandments” for bartenders one by one and see which ones still make sense for the 21st Century.

IMG_3852

III. Always appear pleasant and obliging under all circumstances.

As you probably know, there are a bunch of relatively unrelated skills which bunch up under the title, “Bartender”. Making drinks, keeping track of money, serving food, taking orders, etc.

Probably the most important talent is the knack appear a “pleasant and obliging” host to your guests.

Some times it’s easy, some times it hard. Depends on your mood and the guest you are serving. But ideally, the guest shouldn’t know either way.

I guess that is Boothby’s point of using the phrase, “Always appear pleasant and obliging,” rather than, “always be pleasant and obliging”.

I’ve had a sucky day, I’m broke, my car broke down, my wife just yelled at me for staying out late the night before, the bar back called in sick, and a party of 20 just walked in the door.  I’m about to go down in flames.

As a bartender, those are my problems.  It’s part of the job to leave my problems at the door and do my best to facilitate my guests’ pleasant evenings, no matter the circumstances.  That can be hard.

It can also be challenging to figure out exactly how best to serve your guests.

Some want to be left alone.  Some come in to talk.  Some come in to flirt.  Some come in to make out with their date.  Some come in to get hammered.

It is not my job to judge.

But it is my job to serve them all.

Personally, I have the hardest time with figuring out exactly how and when it is appropriate to break the ice when I can see a guest has some interest in communication beyond ordering their drinks and food.  Most of my coworkers have a quiver full of handy jokes, anecdotes, and trivia to deploy in exactly these sorts of situations.  I’m still working on it.

And the fact of the matter is, there are some people I get along with and some people I don’t.  In normal life, I usually get to avoid hanging out with the people I don’t get along with.  In the service professions, I gotta get past that and “appear pleasant and obliging” to folks I wouldn’t normally be caught dead chatting with.

But, like I said, I’m working on it, because, really I never know.  Sometimes the people I think I’m going to hate serving turn out to be the highlight of the evening.  And, on the other hand, the ones I thought were going to be a pleasure, sometimes turn out to be the biggest pain in the ass of the night.

Not that any of you are really a pain.  You’re all wonderful and fascinating specimens of this human race.  I love you all equally.

Hm.  Getting around to that, one thing that I do think is really important to the job, is the ability to find the glorious, diverse splendor of the human race interesting.  I would think it would be pretty tough to even appear pleasant and obliging, if you didn’t at least have an active interest and curiosity about your fellow man.

Rose Cocktail (English)

Rose Cocktail (English)

Rose Cocktail (English)
1 Dash Lemon Juice.
4 Dashes Grenadine. (1 Generous Bar Spoon Homemade Grenadine)
1/4 Apricot Brandy. (1/2 oz Rothman and Winter Blumme Marillen Apricot Eau de Vie)
1/4 French Vermouth. (1/2 oz Noilly Prat Original Dry Vermouth)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz Plymouth Gin)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Frost edge of cocktail glass with castor sugar.

OK, I cheated. While it is unclear whether this recipe should be made with Apricot Liqueur or Apricot Eau-de-Vie, I just couldn’t justify the sugar rim if I made it with Apricot Brandy. And boy is it good with Apricot Eau-de-Vie. Such a nice combination of flavors.

Just on the edge of tart with fruit coming from the grenadine and eau-de-vie. A balance near what you’d expect from a red wine like a Pinot, it is tart and dry enough that the sugar rim makes sense. Highly recommended, one of the tastier cocktails I’ve made in a while, despite the somewhat finicky measures and obscure ingredients.

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.

Rolls Royce Cocktail

Rolls Royce Cocktail

Rolls Royce Cocktail.
1 Dash Benedictine.
1/4 French Vermouth. (1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth)
1/4 Italian Vermouth. (1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz Beefeater Gin)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass. (Orange Peel.)

Oh sweet, delicious Carpano, how happy I am to have you back! Ahem.

Another “perfect” Martini variation, and another delicious cocktail. An Orange Peel just seemed like an interesting idea, as a counterpoint to the herbal richness of the Benedictine.

Certainly a cocktail worth playing around with. Might even be good with Genever.

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.

Rock and Rye Cocktail

Rock and Rye Cocktail.
1 Glass Rye Whisky or Canadian Club. Dissolve 1 Piece of Rock Candy in it. The Juice of 1 Lemon can be added if desired.

Here’s another one that has made no sense to me. How do you dissolve a piece of rock candy in room temperature whiskey?

I started doing a bit of research about this and found a bunch of different recipes, from those as simple as the above to those which included spices and honey infused into the whiskey.

Looking over the more complicated recipes and articles, the consensus seemed to be that Rock and Rye should be flavored with Horehound and citrus. In addition, it seemed like Rock and Rye was considered some sort of home remedy for chest ailments like coughs and sore throats.

I found a couple recipes for straight horehound candies and horehound cough syrup. At that point, it occurred to me that there was no reason I couldn’t adapt my usual punch method to this beverage, substituting the horehound syrup for the tea syrup.

750ml Wild Turkey Rye
Zest 1 Lemon
Zest 1 orange
1 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Horehound
1 TBSP fresh Lemon Balm (Melissa officianalis)
1 tsp. Fennel Seed, crushed
1 Pound Honey
Rock Candy

Infuse Peels in Rye Whiskey for 24-48 hours. Bring water to a simmer, add spices, and remove from heat. Steep 15 minutes. Strain out solids. Add Honey and cool. Strain Rye off of peels and combine with spiced syrup. Filter into a clean sealable bottle. Add rock candy to bottle until it does not dissolve.

Rock And Rye

OK, as many of the horehound syrup and horehound candy recipes predicted, this is pretty bitter. Not exactly in an unpleasant way. More in a green, sagey, menthol-ish, and fairly pleasant way. Kind of like dandelion greens. Some friends also commented it was pretty sweet. I don’t see a way around that. The whole point of the “rock” in the bottles of rock and rye, is that the solution is so saturated that further sugar crystals won’t dissolve.

After running the finished product past a few more friends, LeNell Smother’s name came up as someone who made Rock and Rye. As a Rock and Rye evangelist, even. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to drop her a note, so I sent her the following question, “Recently reached the letter ‘R’ in the Savoy Cocktail Book and am researching Rock and Rye. When talking to some friends about it, your name came up as someone who had made an interesting version. I sort of treated it like a punch. I infused rye whiskey with lemon and orange peels. Made a horehound, lemon balm, and fennel seed syrup sweetened with honey. Combined the two and added rock candy to the bottles. It turned out at least interesting, but I have no real idea if it is even close to what rock and rye is supposed to taste like. How do you make it?”

She responded:

No “supposed” to taste like, in my opinion, as this was something folks just made and had sitting on the back of the bar. Not rocket science distillation. And probably everybody made it a bit differently. Some folks just sweetened up the rye with maybe lemon and nothing else…I make my rock and rye slightly different every time. It’s like cooking for me. I have a basic “recipe” but fuck around depending on what’s on hand. Sometimes I put more pineapple, sometimes none at all. Dried apricot? Raisins? The horehound can get too bitter for some people but I like it to balance out the sweetness plus it goes along with the cough suppressant notion.

Yes, funny! I was getting over some chest congestion just when making this recipe came up. Thus I can say with some authority that a rock and rye toddy is really good for chest congestion and a cough. Give it a try.

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.

Roc-A-Coe Cocktail

Roc-A-Coe Cocktail

Roc-A-Coe Cocktail.
1/2 Sherry. (1 oz Bodega Dios Baco Amontillado Sherry)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz North Shore Distiller’s No. 6)
Stir well and strain into cocktail glass. Add a cherry.

Not really much to get too excited about here. With a gin and a sherry you enjoy, this is not a bad appetizer cocktail. On the other hand, there’s nothing particularly deep going on. A dash of orange bitters, maybe, and an orange twist would do much to point up the details on this one.

I guess the name is a pun on “rococo“. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine.

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.

Boothby’s Ten Commandments: II. See that your finger nails are always clean

Boothby

As I mentioned before, Anchor Distilling recently reprinted the 1891 edition of “Cocktail Boothby’s American Bar-Tender“.

As someone who is somewhat involved in the bartender trade, I always enjoy going through old books and reading the advice that appears. Usually, I am amazed at how little has changed. How valid pieces of advice contained in a book from 1891 can be 118 years later.

So I thought I would go through Boothby’s “Ten Commandments” for bartenders one by one and see which ones still make sense for the 21st Century.

Fingernails.

II. See that your finger nails are always clean and your person presents a tidy appearance.

While you can’t always judge a book by it’s cover, I’m afraid it is inevitably the first thing it is judged by.

You’ll usually find me dressed in Levi’s Denim, Woolrich flannel, and work boots. I am nowhere the stylish dresser that many Bartenders are. No diamond pins, stylish hats, or pointed shoes typically adorn my twig-like frame.

However, for Savoy Cocktail Book night at Alembic, I usually wear a vest, a nice white shirt, and one of my father’s old silk ties. Semi-ironic, I suppose. But I like to think of the ties as somewhat totemic.

My father was a Funeral Director in the Midwest. His uniform was the dark suit, tie, and wing tips just about every day of his life. He was so much the better “people person” than I am, that I like to think some of his skills might carry over when I am wearing his ties. As if, somehow, the clothes might make the man. Or at least, I might be more cognizant of the sort of “people person” I can or should be, by wearing his ties.

Funny, eh?

I spent most of my youth wearing ripped jeans and untucked flannel shirts, irritating the hell out of my ex-Marine, Funeral Director Father, now here I am ironing shirts and wearing his ties.

It is interesting that Boothby uses some military-like terms in his commandments and.  Classic bartending does often seem to involve the sort of neatness and precision associated with close order drills.

Is it any wonder quality cocktails didn’t get along with the loosey goosey, let it all hang out, keep on truckin’, 1970s?

But to get back to the “finger nails”, my boss at Heaven’s Dog, Erik Adkins, always says, “My hands are my tools,” and, indeed, that is very true. We use them to squeeze twists, handle fruit, measure booze. Grungy fingernails and unkempt hands are as unappealing in a barkeep as they are in a doctor.

This is another 19th Century Commandment still valid for the 21st Century.

Robson Cocktail

Robson Cocktail

Robson Cocktail.
1/8 Lemon Juice. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Lemon Juice)
1/8 Orange Juice. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Orange Juice)
1/4 Grenadine. (3/4 oz Homemade Grenadine)
1/2 Jamaica Rum. (1 1/2 oz Appleton V/X Rum)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Actually, this is exactly what I would consider a “Planter’s Punch”, as opposed to those two earlier “Planter’s Cocktails” (No. 1 and No. 2).  Multiple Citrus, check.  Grenadine, check.  Jamaican Rum, check.  Yep, that’s a “Planter’s Punch” all right.

Tasty, too, though you could probably go with something a bit more distinctive than the Appleton V/X.  Coruba might be awesome, or Haus Alpenz’ Smith and Cross Jamaica Rum, if you were feeling adventurous.

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–High Tide

High Tide.

Port Brewing’s High Tide Fresh Hop India Pale Ale located at local bottle shop City Beer Store.  I can never pass up trying a Fresh Hop beer.

In glasses.

All about the grapefruit in the nose and taste.  Nicely balanced, though, and not sharp.  Very drinkable.

Dinner.

Experimental Roasted Pumpkin and Apple Risotto with sage.  Pretty tasty.  Salad of Arugula and Persimmons.  Portobello Mushroom Sausages.

Rob Roy Cocktail

Rob Roy Cocktail

Rob Roy Cocktail.
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1/2 Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Carpano Antica)
1/2 Scotch Whisky. (1 1/2 oz Pig’s Nose Scotch)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Lemon Peel.)

Particularly for Saint Andrew’s Day, to open the evening for the usual enormous annual gathering of the Clans at the Savoy.

First tried this with the well established Famous Grouse Scotch. Not sure if my bottle has gotten a bit tired, as it has been around a while, or what, but didn’t thrill me. Got a lot of high alcohol in the flavor and nose, and not much flavor.

Pig's Nose Scotch

Retried with the mini of Pig’s Nose sent to me by a firm promoting that brand, and found the cocktail much improved. Some nice pear-like flavor in that Scotch and better body. Not sure if it’s worth a third again the price of the Grouse, but if money were no object it would be a nice choice. Given I was mixing with Carpano Antica, I changed the Scotch to Vermouth ratio from fifty-fifty to two-one.

Lombardino's

I guess by now you’ve figured out that I’m kind of a weirdo.  I often order things just out of curiosity about how they taste, with nothing more than a rumor or a feeling.

Back when I was growing up in the Midwest, my family and people I knew didn’t really drink cocktails or go out to bars.  I had one uncle who always ordered a Gimlet when we were out for dinner and one aunt who always ordered a screwdriver.  Beyond that, I was in the dark.

When I got old enough to drink, we were talking about the TGIFridays and Chichis dark days of the cocktail.  In the 1980s, Long Island Iced Teas and blended Margaritas full of saccharine sweet sour mix were the order of the day, and I partook gladly.

However, one night I was out at a childhood favorite Italian Restaurant, Lombardino’s. It was an awesome place, with a model of the Trevi Fountain in the front, a little paper mache dog who barked when you pulled it’s chain, a wishing well, plastic grapes hanging from the ceiling, and little balconies on the walls with dolls dressed as Italian characters. I loved it. And frankly, the food was pretty good. I always ordered the Manicotti. But back to the story. One night I was out with some High School friends and the Rob Roy caught my eye and I ordered it, likely getting a big glass of scotch and sweet vermouth on the rocks. I would like to say my life changed at that moment, but I don’t really remember. I remember the big, bulky, amber colored glass it came in more than the cocktail itself. Still, it was the first proper cocktail I ordered in my life, and I like to think it aligned me a bit with the vermouth happy path I am currently on.

Lombardino’s has recently been reinvented by a Madison couple, who decided the time was past for the Italian American food of the 1940s and 1950s. They’ve made an attempt to bring some authentic Italian food into the still very cool looking restaurant. Well, OK, they took down a lot of the really cool and really kitschy decorations, for which I may one day forgive them, but the fountain and the wishing well are still there, and the food, I suppose, is technically better. Still, I kind of missed the Manicotti the last time I was in.

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.