Tantalus Cocktail

Tantalus Cocktail
1/3 Lemon Juice. (3/4 oz Lemon Juice)
1/3 Brandy. (3/4 oz Pellehaut Armagnac)
1/3 Forbidden Fruit Liqueur. (3/4 oz Homemade Forbidden Fruit)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Harry McElhone, in his book, “Barflies and Cocktails,” notes this is a “Recipe by Jack Bushby, Cecil Bar, Paris.”

Such a great name, this is one of those cocktails I keep hoping will be exceptional, yet I have not quite got it there yet, mostly, I believe, due to my lack of proper Forbidden Fruit Liqueur.

Long defunct, like their Creme Yvette, Forbidden Fruit was a proprietary liqueur made by Jaquin et Cie, a Philadelphia company. Allegedly the primary flavor elements of Forbidden Fruit were Pomelo, (aka Chinese grapefruit, jabong, lusho fruit, pompelmous, papanas, or shaddock,) an ancestor of the modern Grapefruit and honey.

Like Grapefruit, Pomelo come into season in the Winter, usually December or January and sticks around through March or April. Ripe Pomelo are incredibly fragrant, almost musky. My personal suspicion is that a truly great Pomelo liqueur would have to be distilled to capture that fragrance and leave behind the bitterness.

Sadly, I don’t have the option to distill, so I have to make do with infusion.

Doubly sadly, I missed Pomelo season this year by a week or two. They were all gone from the Alemany Farmers’ Market by the time I realized the Tantalus was coming up.

So, instead I used a couple different kinds of Grapefruit, one of which was a Pomelo cross, and sweetened it with Orange Blossom Honey. It’s OK, but I believe my weird compulsion to add ginger and spices may have been a mistake. Came out kind of weird and spicy hot. There is also a rather strong bitter aftertaste, which I am not entirely sure is inappropriate, though I think unavoidable in an infused liqueur.

Anyway, my choices and circumstances end up making this cocktail not entirely appealing, just kind of weird. I keep hoping the liqueur will settle down, I know the heat of the ginger will oxidize out, but am not sure what will happen with the Cardamom.

Well, until I get the whole Forbidden Fruit thing sorted out, you may want to instead make this luscious, (and also amusingly named,) creation of Audrey Saunders’, The Tantris Sidecar (recipe via Chuck Taggart’s Gumbopages):

The Tantris Sidecar

1 ounce V.S. Cognac (e.g. Hennessey or Courvoisier).
1/2 ounce Busnel Calvados.
1/2 ounce Cointreau.
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice.
1/2 ounce simple syrup.
1/4 ounce green Chartreuse.
1/4 ounce pineapple juice.
Granulated sugar.

Rub a little lemon around the outside of a chilled cocktail glass and dredge it in the sugar, leaving a nice even stripe of sugar around the rim of the glass.

Combine all liquid ingredients with cracked ice in a cocktail shaker and shake for 10-12 seconds. Strain into the sugar-rimmed glass.

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.

6 thoughts on “Tantalus Cocktail

  1. I’m working on some bitters in which pomelo is the primary ingredient. But I, like you, missed the season by just a few weeks. I recently found some out-of-season pomelos at a local Asian megamart, but their zest (what I’m really after) takes more like grapefruit than pomelo… not sure which variety it was.

  2. Combier Distillery is making a pamplemousse liqueur that is rumored to hit the shelves soon. As per Neyah White, this might be the perfect fit for that forbidden fruit liqueur.

    • Nice, I’m a fan of Combier’s products. I’ll have to give it a try, though it will probably be missing the alleged honey and vanilla aspects. I always forget to make forbidden fruit during Pomello season, and really, steeped citrus liqueurs are never that awesome.

  3. What about instead of steeping doing the method where the fruit is suspended above the spirit in cheese cloth? The container is sealed and the alcohol vapor acts as a solvent extracting out the oils from the citrus without all the bitterness like you get from steeping. I read about this technique on Columbine Quillen’s site. Here is the link to the post about the technique. http://qmixalot.com/pdx-cocktail-camp-how-to-extract-flavors-to-make-tinctures-and-bitters

      • Yes it would take a large vessel. Next time that I see them available in the store I will have to try making some of this… I just acquired a unopened 50ml bottle of Forbidden Fruit, so I will have something to compare it too.

        The method works really well though. I just did a orange bourbon. All that rich orange flavor minus the bitterness from steeping. Its excellent!

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