Spanish Town Cocktail

Spanish Town Cocktail
5 Glasses Rum. (2 oz Saint James Ambre)
1 Dessertspoonful Curacao. (1 barspoon Clement Creole Shrubb)

Pour into shaker, add a large quantity of ice, and shake thoroughly. Grate a little nutmeg over each glass as serve.

I always enjoy when the Savoy Cocktail Book is vague. Rum? Goodness, the length and breadth of types of Rum makes the variations on this cocktail nearly infinite. Of course it is just a slightly orangey and sweet glass of cold, diluted rum.

As with the Gin in the Southern Gin Cocktail, whether you will enjoy the Spanish Town is nearly entirely dependent on whether you enjoy the Rum you make it with.

Pick one you enjoy sipping, and you might discover interesting characteristics you hadn’t noticed before.

Personally, I really enjoy St. James’ Ambre, a Rhum Agricole from Martinique. It’s not quite a sipping rum, but has such interesting earthy, cane character it is one of my favorites. You can almost taste the cane fields burning. Unfortunately, the distributor has dropped the brand and is no longer importing it into the US. If you have some, or its older siblings, enjoy it while you have it.

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.

Soyer au Champagne

Soyer-Au-Champagne Cocktail
1 Liqueur Glass Ice Cream. (Scoop Tahitian Vanilla Gelato)
2 Dashes Maraschino. (2 dash Luxardo Maraschino)
2 Dashes Curacao. (2 dash Brizard Curacao)
2 Dashes Brandy. (2 dash Germain-Robin Brandy)
Stir well together in medium size glass and fill with Champagne (Blanquette de Limoux, Cuvee Berlene 2005). Add slice of pineapple or orange, 1 cherry or strawberry.

Well, first off, First & Hope I’m afraid Soyer au Champagne did not, first appear, “in the 1949 Esquire’s Handbook for Hosts.” At the very least, both Harry McElhone’s “Harry’s ABCs” and “Barflies and Cocktails” contained it prior to the Savoy Cocktail Book.

In fact Ted Haigh in, “Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails,” the Soyer au Champagne, sez the drink is, “circa 1888,” well before any of the books above were published.  It certainly is similar to a lot of drinks put forward by the esteemed William “The Only” Schmidt in his awesome book, “The Flowing Bowl”.

Ted, though puts forth the idea of serving this in a coupe, instead of a chimney as I did, with a lot less ice cream.

Let’s examine Harry McElhone’s recipe, as I feel certain that is where Harry Craddock found this monstrosity.

Soyer au Champagne

In a large tumbler put 1 measure of Vanilla Ice Cream. 2 dashes Maraschino. 2 dashes Curacao. 2 dashes Brandy.

Fill balance with Champagne, stir well. and add a slice of Pineapple, a slice Orange, and a slice of Lemon. 2 Cherries. 2 Strawberries.
(A very popular beverage on the Continent.)

Hm, wow, Harry proscribes an f-ing baroque nightmare garnish scenario for this puppy! Geez, pineapple, orange, lemon, 2 cherries, and two strawberries!? Is he joking? In addition he sez, “large tumbler,” which I guess is more akin to a modern water glass?

Anyway, the other month at someone at Alembic ordered this. We hadn’t invested in Vanilla Ice Cream, so we made do with simple and cream. I didn’t think it was exactly awful, but Danny thought it was possibly the worst thing he had ever put in his mouth.

Making this again, I found it odd. When I first made it, I thought it was kind of tasty, but maybe too concentrated, so added more sparkling wine. Ooof, as I dried it out a bit more with the sparkling wine, it just got worse. There’s a balance here, surprisingly, and too much champagne really ruins the cocktail.

Maybe Ted is right, in picking the coupe. At least that way you can’t over pour the champagne.

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.

South Side Cocktail

South Side Cocktail
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon. (Juice 1/2 Lemon)
1/2 Tablespoonful of Powdered Sugar. (Heaping teaspoon Caster Sugar)
2 Sprigs Fresh Mint.
1 Glass Dry Gin. (2 oz Tanqueray Gin)
Shake well and strain into medium size glass. Add dash of siphon soda water.

These days, the South Side is almost always made as an up cocktail, with no soda. A mint Gimlet.

However, the Savoy version of the drink includes, “a dash of siphon soda water,” which is more or less how I made it.

Looking at Harry McElhone’s recipe for the South Side makes the drink’s origins as a minty Fizz even clearer:

“Juice of 1 Lemon, 1 teaspoon of Sugar, 2 or 3 sprigs of Fresh Mint, 1 glass of Gin (Gordon). Shake well and strain into a medium-size tumbler, and add Syphon.”

Double the lemon, decrease the sugar, and serve it in a “medium-size” tumbler. Basically a fizzy, ginny, minty, lemonade.

Depending on the weather, I can see the merits of either version. A hot day, you’re sitting on the porch in the country. Sipping the long version sounds awfully appealing. Dark day in a metropolitan city, sitting at the bar, who has time for that sort of thing? All we need is the flavored booze, thank you very much, and we will be on our way to our next engagement.

Guess it depends on your mood.

Are you just passing through or here to stay?

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.

What’s Up Double E, Spring 2010

Life continues apace, with plenty of craziness to go around.

First off, Imbibe Magazine printed my Nocino recipe in their last issue, which was pretty fun, especially since they included an original drink recipe with it. Funny story, I actually sent them two recipes. When I was working on some cocktail recipes for the Nocino, I came up with two, one that I liked better, and one that Mrs. Flannestad liked better. There was a deadline for the article, so I just sent both cocktail recipes in to the magazine unnamed. When the issue came out, I discovered that they had named the cocktail the “Matrimony Cocktail”! For the record, the recipe they printed in the magazine was Mrs. Flannestad’s favorite of the two.

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Bartenders in San Francisco have a crazy amount of events. It’s kind of silly, really, how many contests, gatherings, and industry shin digs happen in this town. Since I live a double life as a bartender and desk jockey, I don’t get out to a lot of these events. You know, usually they are during the day, or on a “school night”. The other month, though, I got word of an event sponsored by Absolut. Two things, piqued my interest. First, one of my cocktail writer heroes, David Wondrich, was going to speak, and second, Grant Achatz, the chef at Alinea in Chicago, was designing the menu. Well, geez, how could I not go to something like that? Alinea is often bandied about as one of the top restaurants in the US, this would probably be as close as I would ever get to dining there! Near the beginning of the event they told us there would be a little contest. They asked us to identify, by smell alone, the contents of 8 opaque glasses. I did my best, nothing seemed that hard, but I so rarely win contests of any sort, I figured, eh, whatever. After the amazing, outstanding, and mind-blowing dinner, they announced the winners. I was one of the two people who got the most right! The Prize? Dinner at Alinea with Simon Ford and the other winners from New York and Washington, DC. Holy crap! I think I have just been playing the wrong contests all these years…

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In terms of work, well, it goes on.

I started working at Heaven’s Dog in January of 2009. From January through September, I worked full time at my day job and picked up shifts as I could at Heaven’s Dog. Starting in September, I dropped a day at my day job and started working regularly on Sunday nights at Heaven’s Dog. It was an interesting experiment, but it didn’t work out. I am not super great at money management. So, for the time being, I am keeping Sundays, but re-joining the legions of food service employees who work 6 days a week, hoping to get the finances back on an even keel. Mentioning that I was already kind of missing my two weekend days off with Mrs. Flannestad, Daniel Hyatt at Alembic said, “You just gotta make that one day count.”

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Speaking of Daniel Hyatt and Alembic, we’ve now been doing Sunday Savoy Nights for over a year. Crazy. I missed one Sunday when I was out of town, but they have developed into a nice little Sunday night event for Alembic. Alembic has also started a couple fun new programs, one around cask finished bottled beer and another around having a special punch every Sunday. The food is as good as ever. I know I am a bit suspect as a semi-employee, but the guys in the kitchen really are executing food as good as any well known restaurant you can name in San Francisco, and they are doing it in a tiny kitchen at the back of a cocktail bar. It’s really awesome. Since its opening, Alembic has been one of my favorite bars in San Francisco and I continue to be grateful and humbled that they let me come in and play one Sunday a month.

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Mrs. Flannestad and I celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary with a trip to Spain and Portugal. Talk about crazy! Too much good food and drink to even list, but my two favorite meals were at Casa Marcelo in Santiago de Compostella and Pasadis del Pep in Barcelona.  Both were amazing.

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That’s about it, hope you continue to enjoy the site! There will be some surprises coming this year, and, if I’m lucky maybe I’ll even finish this pesky Savoy Cocktail Project. Or at least get to the “End of Cocktails”.  See you around!

Southern Gin Cocktail

Southern Gin Cocktail
2 Dashes Curacao. (5ml/1tsp Brizard Orange Curacao)
2 Dashes Orange Bitters. (2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters)
1 Glass Dry Gin. (2 oz Junipero Gin)

Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass. (Squeeze Orange Peel over glass and drop in.)

Wow, well, while, like the Aviation Cocktail, this comes from Hugo Ensslin’s “Recipes for Mixed Drinks”. Unlike the Aviation, I don’t think you’ll be seeing it on any bar menus in the near future. Talk about your gin Cock-tails, this is exactly that, a literal 19th Century style “Gin Cocktail”. If you don’t really enjoy the gin you’re mixing with, this cocktail is not going to fix it.

Most importantly, should you order this cocktail tonight, May 23, during the next Savoy Night at Alembic Bar? You know, with an Old Tom or Genever, this might be an interesting cocktail. But with a Dry Gin, this is pretty much just a big, cold, glass of slightly orangey gin. Unless you’re ready to deal with that, this is probably not the cocktail for you.

Hope to see you tonight from 6PM on, at Alembic Bar, next to the Red Vic, in the Upper Haight!

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.

Soul Kiss Cocktail (No. 2)

Soul Kiss Cocktail (No. 2)

1/6 Orange Juice. (1/2 oz Orange Juice)
1/6 Dubonnet. (1/2 oz Dubonnet Rouge)
1/3 French Vermouth. (1 oz Carpano Antica)
1/3 Canadian Club Whisky. (1 oz Thomas Handy Rye Whiskey)
1 Slice of Orange.

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Uh, oops, it appears I misremembered the type of vermouth in this cocktail while making it and didn’t notice until now.

Shoot, I blame the lovely, funky, music from Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, along with a strange tendency to make Rye Whiskey Cocktails which call for Dry Vermouth with Sweet Vermouth.

I have the same problem with the Brooklyn. Every time I think about making it, I try to remember, this cocktail is made with Dry Vermouth. But then every time I make it, somehow Sweet Vermouth ends up in the mixing glass. It’s just weird. Then I make a Brooklyn correctly, and think, yep, you know, I prefer this with Sweet Vermouth. Just like the Old Pal vs. the Boulevardier.

I will note that, as with most cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book calling for “Canadian Club”, the source recipe for this cocktail, “Harry’s ABC,” calls for Rye Whiskey, not Canadian. And I think that is the correct choice.

This was a rather popular drink among those who tried it. “Tastes like a Manhattan,” was one comment, and they asked for the recipe. I really liked it, as well. It is a kind of fruity, but not too fruity, Manhattan.

Anecdote: Last Savoy night, one of the servers ordered a “Soul Kiss Cocktail” without specifying 1 or 2. Tim asked me which to make. I said, “No 2 has Rye Whiskey, that’s the one I would make. In fact, I would go so far as to call that a defining philosophy. If it has whiskey, it is the right choice.” He agreed.

Most importantly, should you order this cocktail during the next Savoy Night at Alembic Bar, May 23rd, 2010? Well, damn. If you order it from me, there’s still a fighting chance that I will again have a brain fart and make it with Italian Vermouth instead of Dry Vermouth. Probably one of the more competent Alembic bartenders will make it “correctly”. You might have to take your chances with this one. Pretty sure it is a good cocktail either way.

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.

Soul Kiss Cocktail (No. 1)

Soul Kiss Cocktail (No. 1)
1/6 Orange Juice. (1/2 oz Orange Juice)
1/6 Dubonnet. (1/2 oz Dubonnet Rouge)
1/3 French Vermouth. (1 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1/3 Italian Vermouth. (1 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

What a name, eh? We happened to be listening to Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings new CD while listening to this, if there is more appropriate music for mixing a “Soul Kiss”, I don’t know what it is.

Most importantly, should you order this cocktail during the next Savoy Night at Alembic Bar, May 23rd, 2010? You could certainly do worse, and I think especially with the Punt e Mes we play with at Alembic this will be a rocking choice. It is not a super stiff drink, more of a slow start to the evening or something to even your keel after a couple big drinks. Nice and tasty, though.

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.

So-So Cocktail

So-So Cocktail
1/6 Grenadine. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
1/6 Calvados. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Calvados Moritz)
1/3 Italian Vermouth (3/4 oz Carpano Antica)
1/3 Dry Gin. (3/4 oz Northshore Distiller’s No. 6)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

According to Harry McElhone in his book, “Barflies and Cocktails,” this cocktail was, “Invented by Mr. P. Soso, the popular manager of Kit-Kat Club, London.”

Hm, Harry, that sounds a bit facetious.

Again, I believe we have the Gin acting as an extender to the rather more flavorful and expensive Calvados.

Most importantly, should you order this cocktail during the next Savoy Night at Alembic Bar, May 23rd, 2010? Well, strictly speaking the So-So isn’t awful. It is, however, rather sweet. If I were you, I would stick with a straight ahead Apple or Grape Brandy Manhattan, and skip the So-So altogether. Say, perhaps, the often unjustly ignored Corpse Reviver No. 1. Or, if you have your heart set on Apple Brandy and Grenadine, try Mrs. Flannestad’s favorite: The Jack Rose Cocktail.

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.

Sonza’s Wilson Cocktail

Sonza’s Wilson Cocktail

1/2 Gin. (1 oz Square One Botanical*)
1/2 Cherry Brandy. (1 oz Clear Creek Kirsch)
4 Dashes Lemon Juice or Lime Juice. (10ml Lemon Juice)
4 Dashes Grenadine. (10ml Small Hand Foods Grenadine)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Well, after using Tequila in the last cocktail, what do I have to lose?

This is another cocktail in the “Rose” family, which, by all rights should be composed of 1 oz of Gin, 1 oz of Cherry Heering, dashes of lemon, and dashes of Grenadine.

I’m sorry, but that didn’t sound very appealing at all. So I decided to throw that idea to the wind, and give this a twist.

Square One Botanical is a vodka infused with various botanicals and then distilled. But for the fact that it has no Juniper, it could almost be a gin. When I decided to use Kirsch for this, I also thought, hm, Square One Botanical!

However, as Square One Botanical did not exist in 1930, I suppose I should think of another name…

How about this?

Rosa californica**

1 oz Square One Botanical
1 oz Kirsch (Cherry Eau-de-Vie)
2 10ml/2tsp. Lemon Juice
2 10ml/2tsp. Grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

And goddamn, I was as right with this idea as I was wrong with the Sonora. Floral, light, and delicious. Very nice. Though, technically, if I really want to make a cocktail called “Wild California Rose”, I should be using a Kirsch from this state. Doesn’t St. George make one?

Most importantly, should you order this cocktail during the next Savoy Night at Alembic Bar, May 23rd, 2010? Well, unless you ask specifically for the underhill version, you will probably get the rather sickly sweet sounding exact Savoy recipe. I am also not sure if Alembic even has Square One Botanical. Seems like pretty dodgy chances.

*The Square One Botanical in this cocktail was sent to me by Square One. It works quite well in this cocktail. Unfortunately, it’s fairly unique, so I have no real substitution suggestions. Hendrick’s maybe, though it would be a very different drink.

**The “Scientific” name for the Wild California Rose. Hrm. OK, fine, Mr. Stickler man, it’s actually the Linnaean classification for the Wild California Rose.

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.

Sonora Cocktail

Sonora Cocktail
1 Dash Lemon Juice.
2 Dashes Apricot Brandy.
1/2 Applejack or Calvados.
1/2 Bacardi Rum.
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

So I actually got to making the Sonora Cocktail on May 5th this year, a.k.a. Cinco de Mayo, a holiday we in America tend to celebrate as if it were “Mexican Independence Day”. We eat fajitas with flour tortillas, drink slushy Margaritas, and slug down Corona with lime.  All very authentic.  If you are a tourist in Cancun.

To quote the wikipedia article about Cinqo de Mayo:

Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “fifth of May”) is a holiday held on May 5 that commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. It is celebrated primarily in the state of Puebla and in the United States. While Cinco de Mayo sees limited significance and celebration nationwide in Mexico, the date is observed nationwide in the United States and other locations around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day, the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico.

I am unclear why we Americans always seem to celebrate holidays which are relatively insignificant in their countries of origin (see St. Patrick’s Day), but we do, so there really isn’t much to do about the whole thing. Either embrace the madness or stay away from the mobbed bars on those days.

Anyway, here we have another drink where a relatively neutral, and inexpensive, spirit is probably being used as an extender for the rather more expensive one, in this case Calvados.  I figured, what the heck, it’s Cinco de Mayo and the cocktail is called “Sonora”, why not use a relatively neutral tequila in this puppy instead of Rum?  Though I was a bit worried about the vegetal notes in the Tequila and the Calvados clashing in an unpleasant manner.

2.5ml Lemon Juice (aka a half barspoon. mine happens to be 2.5ml, yours may not be.)
5ml Brizard Apry (aka a barspoon. mine happens to be 5ml, yours may not be.)
1 oz Groult Reserve Calvados
1 oz Tequila Ocho Plata*

Oof, that was not good.  As I suspected, the vegetal notes of the Calvados and the tequila are too much for this basically all booze concoction.  Let’s try that again.

5ml Lemon (aka a barspoon. mine happens to be 5ml, yours may not be.)
5 ml Brizard Apry
1 oz Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy
1 oz Tequila Ocho Plata*

Hm, not bad, but too sour, and still awfully boozy.  Substituting the less vegetal Laird’s Apple Brandy definitely improves this cocktail.  I could see some people enjoying this, *cough*David Embury*cough* but it isn’t my style.

shy 1/4 oz Lemon
long 1/4 oz Brizard Apry
1 oz Laird’s Bonded
1 oz Tequila Ocho Plata*

OK, I think this is a far as I can stretch the original recipe and still call it a Sonora-ish cocktail.  It’s not bad.  Still, at this point, I’m beginning to think the Sonora is a lost cause.  Can I just have a Manhattan, stat?  Even a Tequila Sour (aka Tommy’s Margarita) would make me happy?  Please?

Most importantly, should you order this cocktail during the next Savoy Night at Alembic Bar, May 23rd, 2010?  Well, it’s probably better with rum than it is with Tequila, still, it will be made to the Savoy Spec at Alembic, that is, pretty much all booze.  Unless you’re looking for a quick buzz, I’d avoid it.

*The Tequila Ocho Plata was sent to me by a marketing firm promoting the brand. Score!

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.