Seventh Heaven Cocktail (No. 1)

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Seventh Heaven Cocktail (No. 1)
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
2 Dashes Maraschino. (5ml Luxardo Maraschino)
1/2 Glass Caperitif. (1 oz Dolin Blanc)
1/2 Glass Dry Gin. (1 oz North Shore Distiller’s #6)
Stir well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel on top. Add a cherry (Amarena Fabri Cherry).

I still have no real information about what Caperitif might have been. As far as I know, it was thought to be a deep golden Quinquina made in South Africa (thus CAPE, as in Cape Town, peritif.) Lately I have been sticking to the Dolin Blanc mostly because, well, I like Dolin Blanc, and the cocktails which call for Caperitif are tasty when made with it.

This is no exception. In fact, if a Manhattan made with White Whiskey and Dolin Blanc is a “White Manhattan”, this is pretty darn close to a “White Martinez”, no?  Actually, it IS nearly identical to one of my favorite Martini variations, The Imperial Cocktail, and I prefer the amarena cherry as a garnish to the olive.

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.

Continuing Nomenclature Debate

More comments on the Nomenclature/Aviation/Sensation Debate.

From Gaz Regan:

Hi Guys:  re the ratios in my Aviation.  I always hold that recipes are mere guidelines, they aren’t meant to be taken literally.  and everyone should make drinks either they way they like or best, or the way their customers like it best.  Do you think that Lobster Newburgh is cooked using exactly the same recipe by all chefs worth their salt, for instance?  And do you think that that recipe is the same one used at Delmonico’s when the dish was created in the (1800s?).

Thanks to whoever wrote I try very hard never to take things personally, and whenever I’m proved wrong about something, I try to see that as a learning experience.

From Michael Lazar:

Perhaps it’s not just drink size that’s at play. Reading old recipes you see, time and time again, that ingredients like liqueurs and juices are used in quantities so small that they can be no more than accents against which to experience the character of a primary spirit. (The various “improved” cocktails come to mind here.) In more modern cocktails these same ingredients are regularly used in quantities that bring them squarely into the foreground. Perhaps this represents a difference in peoples’ palates one hundred (or more) years ago and/or a simply a practical consideration in a time when such things may have been rarer and more expensive.

As I mention in the comments of one of the posts, I have to admit one of my pet peeves is Martinis and Manhattans whose vermouth is neglected or reduced to the point of irrelevance.

Why even call it a Martini or a Manhattan if it doesn’t have vermouth?

It’s just cold booze.

Not the same as the Aviation issue, as the reverse is true. More booze, more liqueur, less citrus.  But I maintain that ratios are sometimes as important in a cocktail as actual ingredients.

In some cases, we have gotten to the point where some drinks have gotten so far from their origins, that we nearly need to make up new drink names to be able to serve them as they were originally formulated. Happened to me recently, when someone asked me for a Casino Cocktail. Originally an actual cocktail (sugar, bitters, spirit, liqueur) with a dash of lemon, sort of a Crusta without the Sugar Crust, in modern practice, it has morphed into a bittered Gin Sour.  A bartender asked me for it, so I figured it would at least be academically interesting for him to have it made in the early 20th Century manner.  In fact, it just freaked him out, and sadly, I had to throw out the delicious drink and make him a boring old bittered gin sour.

I’ll admit to tweaking recipes myself. Some recipes are, in fact, so horrible as to be undrinkable in any world I live in. Check the Savoy version of the Mule’s Hind Leg or Applejack Rabbit, for example. There might be the idea of a good drink there, but the literal recipes are literally awful.

Living in the 21st Century, we are in a very lucky spot, indeed, not only to be able to stand on the shoulders of the research and life experience of true giants like Gaz Regan, Dale DeGroff, David Wondrich, Ted Haigh, Robert Hess, and others, but also to have relatively easy access to much of the source material for what has come to be the “canon” of modern drinks. We have Greg Boehm and Cocktail Kingdom to thank for that.

Along those lines, I work in a bar whose recipes are based on those of Charles Baker, Jr.  The fact of the matter is, I work in a bar where we make drinks designed by Erik Adkins, with some of the same ingredients as those that were included in Charles Baker, Jr’s drinks of the same name.  This is really for the best, as Erik Adkins designs much tastier drinks than Charles Baker, Jr ever did.  Well, almost ever.

To a certain extent I look at my responsibilities at the Underhill-Lounge, as similar to my responsibilities to Mr. Adkins.  When I am working in his bar, I make his drinks with his recipes.  If someone asks me for a Clover Club at Heaven’s Dog, I don’t make them a Savoy Cocktail Book Clover Club, I make them an Erik Adkins Clover Club.  Similarly, if I am going to make an Aviation Cocktail on the Underhill-Lounge, I’m not going to make the recipe from Heaven’s Dog, I’m going to research and make what I think the drink’s creator might have intended.  I’m going to make Hugo Ensslin’s Aviation.

I think it is important, with the resources we have available today, to examine the drinks we are making, and question why we are making them the way we are.

If I didn’t do that, I’d still be making Old-Fashioneds with muddled fruit and 7-Up, instead of understanding the history behind the drink and what it means for an Old-Fashioned to be an actual “Cocktail”.

When I am looking at a new recipe in the Savoy Cocktail Book I have several steps I go through before making it.

First I check to see if the recipe is wrong.  In many cases, ingredients, especially garnishes, got left out of the Savoy Cocktail Book.  There also appear to be plenty of typos.  To assess this, I check the book I suspect was Craddock’s source for the recipe.  In the case of the Aviation, I check Hugo Ensslin and discover that there is an ingredient missing.

Second I ask myself if the ingredients included in the recipe have changed in some significant manner, since 1930.  The answer to this is almost always, “yes”, but some, like Lillet, more than others, say Dry Gin.

Third, I ask, has popular taste changed, to the extent this recipe is no longer a commonly made class of drinks.  In the Savoy Cocktail Book, there are plenty of examples of whole classes of drinks that have gone more or less extinct between 1930 and 2010.  Unsweetened sours, for example.  Or cocktails made up of 2/3 Gin, 1/3 Dry Vermouth, and a dash of this or that.  Or Dry Aromatic drinks made with Brown Spirits, like the Brooklyn.

Fourth, I ask if the recipe is just bad.  Pretty much any drink whose source is Judge Jr’s tome “Here’s How” falls into this category.  Earthquake, Hurricane, Mule’s Hind Leg, Corn Popper, etc.  “Here’s How” is just a bad, bad cocktail book full of bad, bad cocktails, underscoring just where cocktail making was at during Prohibition in America.

Last, I ask myself, even though I initially don’t like it, is there some way to appreciate the drink for what it is.  Again, the Aviation is a fine example.  The lightly, or slightly, sweetened sour is a category of drink which has, more or less, gone extinct since the beginning of the 20th Century.  Why?  Is there still something there to appreciate?  With the Aviation, I think the answer is yes.  It is an aperitif cocktail, designed to stimulate the appetite, if you add too much sweetener, you lose that.  You may draw a different conclusion.  That’s fine, but if I don’t appreciate your heavily Maraschino-ed version of the Aviation when I stop by your bar or house, now you know why.

And to get back to some of Gaz’ initial points, bartenders are not exactly chefs.  We are first, and foremost, hosts.  We talk to our guests, asking and assessing what they want to drink, hoping to gain their trust.  A chef does not have this luxury, nor does he have as much freedom to improvise or change his menu.  If the guest wants a Lemon Drop, the guest is going to get the best damn Lemon Drop I can make, made with fresh squeezed lemon and organic simple syrup.  If the guest enjoys that Lemon Drop, maybe next time they will trust me enough to try something more exotic.  Or maybe not.  Maybe they just like Lemon Drops.  It’s their choice, they’re paying, and, as a host and bartender, I am serving them, not my own ego.

Nomenclature Debate

Comment on the “Sensation Cocktail” from The Conceirge regarding the never ending “Aviation Debate“.

I see from your link that you credit Gary Regan with the 2oz gin, 1/2 each of Maraschino and lemon juice recipe for Aviation. To my taste, even with Luxardo, Gary Regan does a fine job with this recipe (leaving aside any nomenclature debates). When you make aviations with 1/2oz of Luxardo Maraschino, are you using 2oz of Gin? If so, perhaps your fancy lemons are not as sour as the ones from the Concrete Jungle. :)

I don’t know who initially re-jiggered the Aviation, but Gary seems like a tough guy who can take a little lively discussion without taking it too personally.

Let’s take a look at the original Aviation Recipe, from Hugo Ensslin’s “Recipes for Mixed Drinks”:

Aviation Cocktail

1/3 Lemon Juice
2/3 El Bart Gin
2 dashes Maraschino
2 dashes Creme de Violette

Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain and serve.

I’m sorry but I don’t think completely changing the ratio of a drink and leaving out an ingredient is a “nomenclature” issue.

The Ensslin Aviation recipe is 2 parts Gin, 1 part Lemon, and (generously) 1/8 part Maraschino Liqueur and 1/8 part Creme de Violette (Not Yvette!).

Changing the Aviation to 4 parts gin, 1 part lemon, and 1 part Maraschino isn’t “nomenclature”, it’s disrespecting the person who created the recipe.

I will say I think part of the problem is size.

An Ensslin Aviation made with a 2 oz (total) pour, chilled to perfection, is a bracing tonic, something to get your appetite and saliva going when you feel a bit down.

An Ensslin Aviation made with a 3 oz pour gets warm, catches in your throat, and is basically undrinkable half way before you are done.

As pour sizes have increased, many of these “tonic” drinks have had to be re-jiggered with more liqueur and simple syrup to allow them to be drinkable for people who like to linger over their (sadly warm and disgusting) cocktails.

September Morn Cocktail

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September Morn Cocktail.
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon or 1 Lime. (Juice 1/2 Lemon)
1 Tablespoonful Grenadine. (1 Tablespoon Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
The White of 1 Egg. (1/2 oz Egg White)
1 Glass Bacardi Rum. (2 oz Havana Club Anejo Blanco)
(Dry shake liquid ingredients, add ice and…) Shake well and strain into medium size glass.

Not sure how you want to look at this. A Clover Club with Rum instead of Gin? A Bacardi Cocktail with Egg White? Either works, I guess.

The name of this drink probably comes from a “scandalous painting”.

From an article by Bonnie Bell: The September Morn Story.

On a September morning in 1912, French painter Paul Chabas finished the painting he had been working on for three consecutive summers. Thus completed, it was aptly titled “Matinee de Septembre” (September Morn). As was typical of his style, the painting was of young maiden posed nude in a natural setting. This time the icy morning waters of Lake Annecy in Upper Savoy formed the natural setting and the maiden was a local peasant girl. The head, however, had been painted from the sketch of a young American girl, Julie Phillips (later Mrs. Thompson), which he had made while she and her mother were sitting in a Paris cafe. Apparently, he had found her profile to be exactly what he was looking for. The completed painting was then sent off to the Paris Salon of 1912 to be exhibited. Although the painting won Mr. Chabas the Medal of Honor, it caused no flurry of attention. Hoping to find a buyer, the artist shipped the painting overseas to an American gallery.

It was here in America that the painting was destined to receive undreamed of publicity and popularity. One day in May of 1913, displayed in the window of a Manhattan art gallery, it caught the eye of Anthony Comstock, head of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. Horrified by what he saw, he stormed into the store, flashed his badge, and roared: “There’s too little morn and too much maid. Take her out!” The gallery manager, however, refused to do so. The ensuing controversy was given wide publicity by the press and the painting was simultaneously denounced and defended across the entire country. Meanwhile, curious crowds filled the street outside the shop straining to see the painting that caused such a stir.

More information here:

The September Morn Hoax

As for the cocktail, it is quite tasty, especially when made with a flavorful grenadine and rum.  Chuckle, I suppose it is the pink, fleshy color of the drink and the painting, which whomever invented it was thinking of.

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.

Sensation Cocktail

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Sensation Cocktail.
3 Dashes Maraschino. (7.5ml Luxardo Maraschino)
3 Sprigs Fresh Mint. (3 Fresh sprigs Kentucky Colonel Mint, from backyard)
1/4 Lemon Juice. (3/4 oz Lemon Juice)
3/4 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Beefeater’s Gin)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Garnish with spanked mint tip.)

EDIT. Note the amounts for the ingredients in this drink should have been 7.5ml Maraschino, 3 Sprigs Mint, 1/2 oz Lemon Juice, 1 1/2 oz Gin.

Robert Vermeire notes, in his book “Cocktails: How to mix them”, that this is a “Recipe by James Berkelmans, Paris.”

I’ve actually always been fond of the “Sensation Cocktail”. Short, sharp, and tart, it also has a pretty hilarious name, sounding like it relates to some sexual accessory. The “Sensation” is really Aviation Cocktail, with mint in place of Creme de Violette. For whatever reason, it just doesn’t quite have the “magic” of an Aviation. Making it for modern drinkers, I usually throw a quarter to a half an ounce of simple in there just to take a bit more of the edge off the tartness of the lemon, but even so, I find few people who really appreciate it. An example of a good, but slightly pedestrian cocktail. Not as tasty as many of its close relatives.  Heck, Jeffrey Morganthaler has practically made a career out of a version of this drink made with simple syrup instead of Maraschino. Well, that, his scintillating wit, boyish good looks, and, most importantly, stylish neck wear.

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.

Blog Housekeeping

Received the following question from a reader of the blog:

I notice that I/we can no longer read full posts in Google Reader (or other feed readers, I’d imagine). Is this because you’re now sporting ads from an ad network? (And if not, might you consider resetting the new and handsome looking blog back to full feeds?)

When we talked to our tax preparers this year, I decided I would try to write off some of the not insignificant costs for the blog.

Talking to them, however, they told me it is difficult to claim these expenses unless you are at least trying to make money off of what you are doing. Since I have never even tried to make a cent off the blog, I decided the easiest way to try to make money, would be to run an ad network. Not that the fairly meager traffic which crosses the blog will actually even make enough money to pay for the hosting.

What do people think of the Foodbuzz ads? They are often for giant companies like Quaker and whatnot, but I find them fairly tasteful and non-distracting. Besides, I do, in fact, have Oatmeal for breakfast every day, though from Bob’s Red Mill, not Quaker.

I briefly tried google ad words, but they kept putting up ads for things that I was trash talking in the posts, so that really didn’t work for me.

I have been experimenting with truncating the RSS feeds, not to drive traffic, but to prevent content theft. There are a lot of sites out there that harvest RSS feeds and republish them without credit. I guess they somehow make money from them using google ad sense. A number of my friends have fallen prey to these “sploggers”, as have I. Apparently the two best ways to prevent content theft are to include a copyright in your RSS feed and to truncate your feed.

How inconvenient is this for people?

I’m still experimenting with the settings of the “Better Feed” plugin so nothing is really written in stone at the moment.

Self-Starter Cocktail

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Self Starter Cocktail.
1/8 Apricot Brandy. (1/4 oz Destillerie Purkhart “Blume Marillen” Apricot Eau-de-Vie)
3/8 Kina Lillet. (3/4 oz Jean de Lillet Reserve, 2004)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz North Short Distiller’s Gin No. 6)
2 Dashes Absinthe. (2 Dash Lucid Absinthe)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

I guess I probably should have used Apricot Liqueur in this. It just seemed so much more appealing to me made with Apricot Eau-de-Vie. And indeed, I quite enjoyed it as above. A very enjoyable cocktail.  I suppose the Self-Starter would also be OK made with Lillet Blanc and Apricot Liqueur.

Figured I should finally start emptying this last bottle of Jean de Lillet, as Eric Seed has said that Cocchi Americano will finally be available from Haus Alpenz some time this spring. Heck, then he could have 2 products in this drink. Hm. I wonder if I can get a case discount?

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.

Piggerac

Bonus Sazerac!

I challenged myself to post 28 Sazeracs in 28 days for the month of February, but I’m not quite done. We’ve got a few bonus Sazeracs coming up that didn’t fit into the month of February.

I’ll try some different spirits, try some out at bars, and have some friends make them for me.

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Piggerac

1 1/2 oz Calvados Reserve, Roger Groult
1/2 oz Pork Belly Fat Washed Wild Boar, er Turkey, Rye
1/4 oz “Orchard Syrup”*
Dash Peychaud’s

Stir and strain into a chilled absinthe rinsed glass. Twist a fat swath of freshly cut lemon peel over the drink and drop in or discard as you prefer.

Tsunami Advisory.

One of the sort of ridiculous things about having a ridiculously cute dog, is that you often meet people at the dog park. Really, they just want to pat your dog, but for better or for worse, they also have to talk to you. For a while I’ve occasionally been getting sandwiches at Pal’s Takeaway in San Francisco. One morning I noticed that one of the men who worked there walked his dog in a park near my home.  We had chatted about our dogs, but not really made the connection between non-dog walk life and dog-walk life.   On one of my off days, when Monty and I were on the way to the beach, I stopped at Pal’s to get a Sandwich for lunch and said, “Hey, didn’t we meet the other day walking our dogs?”  Struck up an acquaintance of sorts.  Some time later, walking our dogs, we got to talking again and it turned out he was enormously fond of Rye Whiskey.  A man after my own heart!  Anyway, as we were jawing about booze, he mentioned he was curious about these meat infused whiskies he’d been hearing about.  I said, “Yeah, cool, fat washing is fun, but I think you need a really smoky bacon.  I tried it once with the Niman bacon and was pretty underwhelmed.”  “You want bacon?  I can get you bacon!  I cure and smoke my own!”

A bit later, one night when I got home, there was a canning jar full of Fat Rendered from Cured Pork Belly and a Meyer Lemon sitting on our steps.

Obviously, I needed to revisit fat washing!

Keeping mind that he had said he really liked Rye Whiskey, I decided to forgo the usual Bourbon/Bacon axis and go with Wild Turkey Rye instead.  I followed the P.D.T. instructions, adding a generous ounce of hot pork fat to the rye, infusing for a few hours, then freezing to separate.  I also embellished, in my usual free association manner, adding a teaspoon of toasted caraway seeds to the Rye.  As I was tasting the final product, I was pretty sure that all I was tasting was pork, no smoke.  Interesting and very, very porky.

I brought the pork fat washed rye in to the most recent Savoy Cocktail Book night, where opinions varied.  Generally, the opinions were split between, “I can’t even think of drinking that,” and, “This is wrong, but I can’t stop drinking it.”

Amusingly, Daniel Hyatt had been making drinks for a Cochon 555 Event in Napa that day, so for him, it was a little beyond the pale.  “I’ve just had 10 plates of pork, and man, is this whiskey porky.” He did finish the glass, I believe, despite it probably not being in his best interest.  Anyway, as we were chatting about what to do with the pork fat washed rye and he mentioned cutting it with Calvados to temper some of the pork-i-ness.

Letting that percolate for a couple days, I decided to give it a try in a Sazerac mixed with Calvados.  But Calvados reminded me of Jennifer Colliau’s experiments with “Orchard Syrup“.  I’d always meant to give an Orchard Syrup a try, so figured: Pork. Caraway. Apples. Why the Hell Not?

*Tiny Orchard Syrup

1 cup Apple Cider
1/8 Cup Natural Sugar
1 Clove
1/2 teaspoon Caraway Seed

Reduce to 1/4 Cup and strain out spices.

Huh, that orchard syrup IS really tasty, I’d pour it over ice cream, no problem. Nice viscosity, too. Pectins?

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Anyway, should you dare drink a Piggerac, I hope you are imagining a perfectly browned whole suckling pig, apple in its mouth, crisp skin crackling as you cut, unctuous fat oozing through your fingers. Lift the haunch to your mouth. Go on, take a bite. You know you want to.

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.

Ash Tray Heart

It was midnight, and I’d made a couple bad drinks. Felt like rewarding myself with a Scotch Cocktail. Maybe an Affinity. Is that a Scotch bottle at the back? No? Oh, it’s Smith and Cross. Damn, all the Scotch is in the Basement. Hm. What the hell.

1 oz Smith & Cross
1 oz Punt e Mes
1 oz Dry Vermouth

But what can I do to make it a bit more Scotchy? Oh, I know! This Mezcalero Mezcal is damn smoky. True, only 168 bottles were imported into CA, so maybe just a rinse on the glass (with the rest going directly into my mouth).

Huh, goddamn that’s tasty. I should email Craig, as it’s something he’ll like. Name? Name?

Oh, hahahaha, I know!

“Ashtray Heart”

“Somebody’s Had to Much to Think!”

Scoff-law Cocktail

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Scoff-Law Cocktail.
1 Dash Orange Bitters. (1 Dash Regan’s Orange Bitters)
1/3 Canadian Club Whisky. (3/4 oz 40 Creek Three Grains)
1/3 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)
1/6 lemon Juice. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Lemon Juice)
1/6 Grenadine. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

For what it is worth, Harry McElhone’s Barflies and Cocktails calls for Rye, instead of the Savoy “Canadian Club”.  Even though, in deference to Mr. Craddock, I went with Canadian Whisky, generally, I agree with Mr. McElhone in these matters.

While researching the Scoff-Law, I turned up the following from the Chicago Tribune, January 27th, 1924: “Hardly has Boston added to the Gaiety of Nations by adding to Webster’s Dictionary the opprobrious term of “scoff-law” to indicate the chap who indicts the bootlegger, when Paris comes back with a “wet answer”—Jock, the genial bartender of Harry’s New York Bar, yesterday invented the Scoff-law Cocktail, and it has already become exceedingly popular among American prohibition dodgers.”

Made to the Savoy recipe, this is a pleasant, light, tart, easy drinking libation.  Many modern sources bump up the booze a bit more and often leave out the orange bitters.  I kind of like it the way it is, with the sweet/tart balance not dissimilar to a red wine.

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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.