Waterbury Cocktail

Waterbury Cocktail*
2 Dashes Grenadine. (1 tsp Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
1/2 Teaspoonful Powdered Sugar. (1/2 tsp Caster Sugar)
The Juice of 1/4 Lemon or 1/2 Lime. (Juice 1/4 Lemon)
The White of 1 Egg. (1/2 Egg White)
1 Glass Brandy. (2 oz Chateau Pellehaut Armagnac Reserve.)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

*Yes, Sir! A stem-winder.

A “stem-winder”? What on earth is a stem-winder?

From Word Detective.com:

It all goes back to the humble watch. Before there were electronic battery-powered wrist watches, before there were manually wound (or self-winding) mechanical watches, before there were even watches worn on one’s wrist, there were pocket watches. And if you go way back, those pocket watches were wound with a separate tiny key. This may sound cute, but it was a major drag, because the process was awkward and the key was easily lost. So in 1842, when the French watchmaker Adrien Philippe (co-founder of Patek-Philippe) invented a “keyless” watch that was wound by turning its “stem” (a knurled knob on the side of its case, today called the “crown”), it was such an improvement that it won Philippe a Gold Medal at the French Industrial World’s Fair.

It’s hard to imagine today, but the new “stemwinder” watch became an instant public sensation of almost delirious intensity, the iPod of its day. It was so popular, in fact, that within a few years the term “stemwinder” entered the lexicon as a synonym for anything excellent and exciting. By the end of the 19th century, “stemwinder” was being used to mean, first, an energetic person, then a rousing public speaker, and finally an especially inspiring speech itself.

Hm, is the Waterbury Cocktail, in fact, so “excellent and exciting”, as to justify the term, “stem-winder”?

Well, it is a nicely spirit forward sour, of the sort which has become largely unfashionable these days. Certainly, it would be more a la minute to make this with the juice of a half lemon (3/4 oz) rather than the juice of a quarter lemon and increase the sugar slightly.

But when you’ve got a nice Brandy, like this Pellehaut Armagnac, why cover it up with extra citrus?

It is interesting to play around with the sweet and sour ratios for a sour, rather than apply the same one to every spirit or drink.

PS. Bummed this is the last of my Pellehaut Armagnac. I think it will be back to the slightly cheaper Osocalis, at least for a little while.

PPS. Jesse informs me, there will be no Notoberfest this year. I am seriously bummed, but he did get married, I hear that takes a lot of time from planning other events, and is working on launching his own beer brand concentrating on barrel aged fruit beers: Old Oak Beer. I suppose I can cut him some slack. However, if you feel the need to get some Jesse learning and beering on, you might want to check out this workshop he is presenting Dec 12 in collaboration with Local:Mission Eatery, Holiday Beers. “At the December gathering, we’ll be focusing on holiday beers, and pouring some of my favorites, including Anchor’s Our Christmas Ale, Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale and He’Brew Jewbelation 14, plus a few more surprises, including bottles pulled from my own cellar…I’ll be working with Chef Jake to pair these beers up with some great treats, including a cheese pairing (the cheese pairing we’re serving is particularly exciting) and hearty winter fare. We’ll also be tasting the ingredients that go into beer, learning about the brewing process, and generally having a good time with beer, food and conversation.”  Sounds tasty!

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.