Boothby’s Ten Commandments: IX.


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.

IX. After using a bottle or tool always replace it before doing anything else. Make this a rule that should never be broken; and, when you are rushed with business, you will never be compelled to hunt for this or that, but you will always know just where it is.

If there is any one thing, especially, that previously working as a line cook helped me with as a bartender, it is exactly this.

The idea of getting your station set up exactly the same every night, everything in reach, supplies topped up, and keeping it clean and in order for the length of your shift.

Fancy cooks use the French term “mise en place” or just “mise” for this, which means, more or less, “everything in its place”.

Ideally, you’d be able to close your eyes and make the drinks without much of a problem.

Look, as a bartender, you have to juggle a lot of things in your head. The drink orders from the dining room, the people standing in front of you, customers’ money, customers’ drinks, customers’ food orders, the last thing the wait staff asked you for. All that stuff you have to keep straight.

If you can take one thing out of your head, so you don’t have to think about it, don’t have to look for that bottle during a busy shift, you should do it. Setting up your station adequately and keeping it organized is the best way to do that.

Andrew Bohrer explained this much more “poetically” in his post, Get Your Fucking Mise in Order.

Stanley Cocktail

Stanley Cocktail
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)
1/3 Rum. (3/4 oz Rene Alambic Rum)
1/3 Gin. (3/4 oz Ransom Old Tom Gin)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Oh, fun! This recipe specifies neither the type of Rum nor Type of Gin! Carte Blanche!

I found this odd Alambic Rum at a small liquor store in the city of Napa, California. I have no idea about the nature of the beast, other than that the bottle notes it is, “Distilled by Solomon Tournour Co. Capella, CA 95418.” It is, for an 80 Proof Rum, rather flavorful and delicious. It appears to have some color, so must have seen at least some small amount of time in the barrel. I keep going back and forth on whether I think it is Molasses or Sugar based. My guess is Molasses, but it is very well distilled and tasty. It does almost taste like a Rhum Agricole.

Anyway, funky Napa R(h)um, and what Gin to mix with?

Ha! Obviously it needs a funky Gin! And as funky Gins go, I can’t think of one more appropriate than Ransom Old Tom, from Portland!

What does this combination of unusual ingredients result in?

Well, it sure as hell isn’t a Bacardi Cocktail!

Kind of Tasty, though, if I don’t say so myself! Mr. Stanley may have been on to something!

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.

Spring Feeling Cocktail

Spring Feeling Cocktail
1/4 Lemon Juice. (1/2 oz Lemon Juice)
1/4 Green Chartreuse. (1/2 oz Green Chartreuse)
1/2 Plymouth Gin. (1 oz Plymouth Gin)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

I knew when I read this recipe that it would be something that Mrs. Flannestad would be particularly taken with. In fact she liked it so much that we blew threw the nearly empty Green Chartreuse bottle in no time. She has promised to buy another, as I primarily use it for her favorite cocktails, The Last Word and now Spring Feeling.

Well, that’s not entirely true, I do often use it for Manhattan variations I myself enjoy. But volume-wise, we go through a lot more in her cocktails.

I mentioned this cocktail to a couple bartender friends, and they usually said, “Oh, like a Last Word…” Well, it is a bit like a Last Word in that it involves Gin, Green Chartreuse, and Citrus. However, it is a much, much drier cocktail, being half Plymouth Gin and equal parts Lemon and Green Chartreuse.

In fact, I think I kind of like it a bit more than the traditional equal parts Last Word Cocktail.

Well, you may, or you might not. But it is a fun cocktail to order, with that great name. “I’d like a Spring Feeling, please.”

Memorize the proportions, and give it a try the next time you are out.

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.

Spring Cocktail

Spring Cocktail
3 glasses Gin. (3/4 oz Junipero, 3/4 oz Genevieve)
1 glass Quinquina. (1/2 oz Bonal)
1 Glass Benedictine. (scant 1/2 oz Benedictine)
Before shaking (I’d stir) add a dash of bitters and serve with an olive (Nicoise Olive).

As usual, to convert this “party cocktail” to a single serving, I am dividing the “glasses” in half and then counting them as ounces.

I never quite know what to use when a recipe calls for “Quinquina”. I don’t know if there was a specific product called “Quinquina” at the beginning of this century or if there was a specific brand of Quinquinas which was used when this appeared in cocktail recipes. To me, Quinquinas are a class of French wine based aperitifs which contain Quinine. Unfortunately, this is a fairly wide variety of products, from Lillet Blanc to Dubbonet Rouge. If you cast your net a bit wider, there are about a million wine and neutral spirit based beverages from around the world which potentially qualify as “Quinquinas”, due to the fact that they contain Quinine as a bittering agent. All have very different results when used in cocktails.

Haus Alpenz has begun importing an interesting wine based Gentian and Quinine aperitif called “Bonal”.

From their website:

Since 1865, this delicious aperitif wine has stood apart for its exceptional complexity, delightful flavors and stimulating palate. Serious to its role as aperitif, it was known as “ouvre l’app├ętit” – the key to the appetite. Found popular with sportsmen, Bonal became an early sponsor of the Tour de France. It is made by an infusion of gentian, cinchona (quinine) and renown herbs of the Grand Chartreuse mountains in a Mistelle base. Traditionally enjoyed neat or with a twist; also may enhance classic drinks in place of sweet red vermouth.

I would describe the flavor as similar to a more extreme version of dry or blanc/bianco vermouth. The botanicals seem more herbal than spice based. There seems to be little citrus. The middle flavors are similar to savory, culinary herbs with a strong gentian bitterness at the fore and lingering quinine bitterness in the finish. Quite nice.

Well, give a boy some new booze and ya gotta mix with it, especially when it seems appropriate in the recipe.

Scouring the refrigerator, I discovered I was out of Green Olives. Horror! How do things like this happen? In fact the only olives I had were Nicoise olives. Well, ya gotta do what you gotta do.

Thinking about these flavors and with the generic specification of “Gin”, I was reminded a bit of the savory combination of Junipero and Genevieve I had enjoyed in the Some Moth. Let’s try that again.

Huh, actually, the Nicoise Olive is quite tasty in the Spring. The savory brininess working well with the funk of the genevieve and complexity of the Bonal. About all I’d say is even a scant half ounce is a little much Benedictine for me. I think my ideal for this would be about 3/4 oz Junipero, 3/4 oz Genevieve, 3/4 oz Bonal, 1/4 oz Benedictine. Your Mileage May Vary.

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.

Spion Kop Cocktail

Spion Kop Cocktail

Spion Kop Cocktail
1/2 French Vermouth. (1 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1/2 Caperitif. (1 oz Cinzano Bianco)
(1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro)
Stir well and strain into cocktail glass. (Squeeze Lemon Twist over glass and drop in.)

Like just about every other Savoy Cocktail with a funny name and the proprietary South African Quinquina CAPEritif, this cocktail appears to be named after a battle during the Boer War. According to the Wikipedia entry:

The Battle of Spion Kop (Dutch: Slag bij Spionkop; Afrikaans: Slag van Spioenkop) was fought about 38 km (21 miles) west-south-west of Ladysmith on the hilltop of Spioenkop along the Tugela River, Natal in South Africa from 23-24 January 1900 . It was fought between the South African Republic and the Orange Free State on the one hand and British forces as during the Second Boer War during the campaign to relieve Ladysmith and resulted in a British defeat.

Strange that all these cocktails in an English cocktail book seem to be named after embarrassing defeats for the British.

Anyway, my current favorite substitute for Caperitif is a Blanc/Bianco Vermouth. Unfortunately killed my bottle of Dolin Blanc and was a bit skint when approaching this cocktail. So the Cinzano Bianco will just have to do. But when I was thinking a bit more about it, I felt Blanc/Bianco vermouth to be a bit lacking in the Quinquina department. Caperitif is, after all, supposed to be a rich yellow Quinquina.

When talking to Amanda at Cask Store the other month she was lamenting the fact that she couldn’t find Amaro Montenegro in California. Likewise, it saddened me. I’ve been to liquor stores and Italian Delis in Providence and NY whose Amaro selection blew my mind. In California, aside from Torani Amer and a couple other of the larger brands, we generally get bupkiss.

How happy to get a note the other week from Drew at Plump Jack Noe Valley that Amaro Montenegro was finally, and inexplicably, returning to California, “for the first time in forever”!

Hm, handy! A quinine heavy Amaro lands in my hands just as I am approaching this post! What is a boy to do but mix with it?

Goddamn if that isn’t tasty! Admittedly, it’s on the light side, having no booze, but really nice flavor. A great feature for the Amaro and the vermouths. Highly recommended.

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.

Spencer Cocktail

Spencer Cocktail
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1 Dash Orange Juice.
1/3 Apricot Brandy. (3/4 oz Brizard Apry)
2/3 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass Add a cherry (Toschi Amarena Cherry) and squeeze orange peel on top.

Very mellifluous: has a fine and rapid action: for morning work.

With such a positive description, I had high hopes for this one. I went with a relatively soft, fruit friendly gin with the Plymouth and hoped for the best.

I dunno, not sure if it is the gin choice, or the sad deserted 5 year old bottle of Brizard Apry, but I really wasn’t feeling this. Funny, I think Brizard Apry was one of my first great ingredient quests, predating the Savoy Project. Just as I started looking for a bottle, it disappeared from the shelves. I must have bothered the liquor store manager for 6 months before it finally became available again.

The Spencer is just kind of bland and sweet. Maybe a more generous hand with the bitters? Or perhaps the Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot would be an improvement. I have had very good luck with it in the past. Unfortunately, I need a new bottle.

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.

Special Rough Cocktail

Special Rough Cocktail

1 Dash Absinthe. (1 dash Lucid Absinthe)
1/2 Applejack (known in America as “Jersey Lightning”). (1 oz Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy)
1/2 Brandy. (1 oz Germain-Robin Fine Alambic Brandy)

Serve very cold.

Cough, yes, that is a little rough!

And people claim that drinking all booze drinks is a modern phenomenon…

The Special Rough Cocktail is not awful, strictly speaking, but it’s also not, well, a subtle or delightful, sophisticated beverage. A short, sharp, shot of cold high proof booze is what it is.

Whether that is appealing to you, may depend on your philosophy of drinking, but as the bard says, “There are more things in heaven and earth,” Robert, “Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

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.