Oh Harry! Cocktail

Oh Harry! Cocktail
Saturate 1 lump of Sugar with Raspberry Syrup or Grenadine. (sugar cube saturated with Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
1/3 Vermouth. (Dolin Blanc Vermouth)
2/3 Hooch Whisky. (Buffalo Trace Unaged Whiskey)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

I needed to pick up something from Slanted Door this last Friday, so I thought I would take the chance to annoy the bar staff there, with a particularly annoying Savoy recipe.

“Hooch Whiskey”? What is that? The recipe doesn’t say what sort of vermouth. Doesn’t even really tell you what to do with the sugar cube, or the point of saturating it with syrup.

Fortunately, Jennifer Colliau, of Small Hand Foods was behind the bar and said, “What if we use Blanc Vermouth and just make this a “White Man” with a sugar cube?”

I dunno, as much as I like White Manhattans, this didn’t quite work. A bitters soaked cube would have made a lot more sense, or as Jennifer pointed out, some sort of sparkling wine to act upon the cube and circulate the flavors.

Maybe if we had muddled the cube into the drink?

I dunno, I still think even then the “Oh Harry!” doesn’t quite live up to its name.

It’s definitely no, “Oh sweet mystery of life, I have found you,” type of drink.

But maybe, you took what you could get during prohibition.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Mr. Manhattan Cocktail

Hey, wait, “Mr. Manhattan,” that sounds familiar! Why, yes, we made the Mr. Manhattan with Neyah White at NOPA a couple years ago. Well, who’s going to complain about making this Julep-ish cocktail again. Heck, it was so warm this week, I’m even going to leave it on cracked ice.

Mr. Manhattan Cocktail
Crush 1 Lump of Sugar in a little water. (1 Demerara Sugar Cube)
Crush 4 Leaves of Fresh Green Mint.
1 Dash Lemon Juice. (Squeeze Meyer Lemon Juice)
4 Dashes Orange Juice. (Squeeze Blood Orange Juice)
1 Glass Gin. (2 oz Bols Genever)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Or build and add crushed ice, stir, and garnish with mint sprigs.

I have a pretty serious, “one and done,” policy with Savoy Cocktails, and sometimes it is a struggle to get home, get everything together, and make the damn cocktail.

However, looking at this video, I see a lot of mistakes were made in the execution of this version of the Mr. Manhattan.

My first mistake was being literal and using a sugar cube. There’s no reason, really, to use a sugar cube in a cocktail. They just don’t dissolve well enough unless you spend about a half an hour muddling the damn thing. Use simple syrup, superfine, or at least caster sugar any time you are mixing drinks. My second mistake was that it’s really apparent I over squeezed the Meyer Lemon and undersqueezed the orange. I should have been using a measuring cup, so the juice wasn’t going right into the drink. Last, I used the stupid wrong spoon to mix with. I should have grabbed the spoon with the disk end, so I could do a good job of churning up this julep-ish version of the Mr. Manhattan.

All the same, this wasn’t bad at all, if a bit dry. There are definitely a lot of good points to the Genever Mr. Manhattan and I strongly recommend it as a drink. Just do a better job of mixing it than I did.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Karl K. Kitchen Cocktail

Cocktails Suitable for A Prohibition Country.

The following cocktails are especially suited for those countries where they make the best of Prohibition, and where the ingredients for making them are obtainable without much difficulty.

Karl K. Kitchen Cocktail
1/4 White Grape Juice. (1/2 oz Santa Cruz Organic White Grape Juice)
4 Dashes Grenadine or Raspberry Syrup. (1 teaspoon Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
3/4 Scotch Whisky. (1 oz Famous Grouse, 1/2 oz John Mark and Robbo’s Smokey Peaty One)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

You know, there’s this discussion, is someone who mixes up drinks a Bartender or a Mixologist? Generally, we say, someone who makes up drinks and doesn’t work behind a bar can call themselves a Mixologist, if they want to use a made up, vaguely scientific, name for what they do. Well, instead of “Dipsologist”.

So, I guess Karl K. Kitchen was out of Dry Vermouth during prohibition and used White Grape Juice instead.

Right now, I’m going to go on the line and say, “Karl K. Kitchen, that was a very bad idea.”

Pretty sure you qualify as neither a Bartender or a Mixologist.

I mean, I was expecting this to be bad, but it is just really bad.

Well, OK, it isn’t quite as bad as the completely inexplicable Wembley Cocktail (No. 2), with its combination of Scotch, Dry Vermouth, and Pineapple Juice, but still, pretty darn bad.

Karl K. Kitchen, of the New York World, is not a metropolitan but a cosmopolitan newspaper man, who from Petrograd to Paducah is rated as one who is distinctly ‘in the know.’”

Back to the newroom for you, Mr. Kitchen, you know a bit less than you think.

If this cocktail is any indication, I will be longing for “Non-Alcoholic” libations pretty shortly. It’s no wonder people would drink just about anything during Prohibition.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Zed Cocktail

Another month, another Savoy Night. Always great to work with the bar and service staff at Alembic. Over the couple years we’ve been doing them, getting to know these awesome people has been a highlight of this whole project.

In particular, I’ve learned a lot from a staff of bartenders that has been kind of enough to tolerate my awkward presence in their space once a month.

When I mentioned that I was just about done with the “Cocktails” section of the book, all but the “Zed”, Daniel Hyatt said, you have to save that one for us. So, after a medium Savoy Night I settled down on the other side of the bar and asked Danny Louie to whip me up a Zed Cocktail.

Half Calvados and Half “Hercules”, it’s a sort of Manhattan variation, I suppose.

Along with being one of the most technically gifted bartenders I know, Danny is working on getting a food truck together that will specialize in Asian Street Food. Called “TomKat” they are looking towards getting it up and running some time this spring. From what he’s told me, their chef will be tapping into some of his Mom’s recipes for the dishes and Danny plans to handle the front of the house.

Zed Cocktail
1/2 Hercules 5b.*
1/2 Calvados or Apple Brandy. (Chauffe Coeur Calvados VSOP)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Squeeze Lemon Peel over glass and drop in.)

Hm, you know this isn’t half bad. Maybe I just like Calvados and my take on “Hercules”, but this is a pretty good feature for both.

*Hercules #5b

1 Stick Cassia Cinnamon, crushed
2 tsp. Coriander Seed, crushed
3 Cardamom Pods, crushed
8 Whole Cloves, crushed
1 tsp. Quinine Powder
1 tsp Gentian Root
1/4 Cup Yerba Mate
Zest 2 Seville Oranges
1/2 cup Raw Sugar
750ml Quady Elektra
1/4 cup Osocalis Brandy

METHOD: Combine spices, peel, yerba mate and wine. Heat to 160 degrees. Filter through chinois and add Brandy. Let stand for at least a day and then enjoy chilled or where “Hercules” is called for.

Well, here it is, the Savoy Cocktail Index, with all entries, Abbey to Zed:

Savoy Cocktail Index

–End of the Cocktails.–

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. Hey, wait, this is the Zed. Well, all right, I might as well keep going through the rest.

Gin-Tastic Gin-i-nar

Notes and cocktail recipes from my Gin-Tastic Gin-i-nar at Heaven’s Dog.

Improved Holland Gin Cocktail

Take 2 dashes Boker’s (or Angostura) Bitters.
3 dashes gum syrup. (1 teaspoon 2-1 Simple Syrup)
2 dashes Maraschino. (Scant teaspoon Maraschino Liqueur)
1 dash Absinthe. (Absinthe is now available in CA! Stop Messing about with Absinthe Susbtitutes!)
1 small piece of the yellow rind of a lemon, twisted to express the oil.
1 small wine-glass of Hollands Gin. (2 oz Bols Genever or other Dutch style Gin)

Fill (mixing) glass one-third full of shaved (cracked is fine) ice, shake (stir please) well, and strain into a fancy cocktail glass, put the lemon peel in the glass and serve. The flavor is improved by moistening the edge of the cocktail glass with a piece of lemon.

Walk through history of Gin.
Families of flavored distilled spirits, anise in the Mediterranean, Caraway in Scandinavia, Juniper in Holland.
Sweetened infusions used medicinally.
Distillation adds to this, increasing shelf stability.
Holland Gin, based on essentially unaged pot still Whiskey.
Taste through common Gin botanicals.
English soldiers develops a taste for Gin while fighting for Holland during Eighty Years War, 1568–1648.
When they get back to England, English distillers and compounders begin to try to replicate the dutch gin with slim knowledge of the traditions. The result is the English Gin which has come to be called Old Tom.
Starting as a Genver Clone, it evolved into what would become London Dry Gin.
Ransom Old Tom closer to the early style of Old Tom Gin.

Martinez Cocktail (which may or may not be named after the California town of Martinez and may or may not have eventually evolved into the Martini.)

2 oz Ransom Old Tom Gin
1 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1 teaspoon Orange Curacao or Maraschino Liqueur (I used Cointreau)
2 Dash Orange Bitters
1 Dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice to chill and strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel over glass. Add a (preferably luxardo or toschi) cherry if you so desire.

Talk about the progression of Old Tom Gin, from Genever-like Ransom to a very nearly London Dry like, Hayman’s.
Plymouth, London Dry Gin
Plymouth is an interesting case, by all accounts it was a Genver style Gin up until some point in the 20th Century, “Flavored with the wash of whiskey distilleries”.

Aviation Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
teaspoon Creme de Violette
Generous teaspoon Maraschino Liqueur
1/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake well with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Prohibition, instead of hiding the flavor of badly distilled whiskey, questionable alcohol.
After Prohibition, vodka and then tequila became the dominant clear spirits.
Aside from gin and tonics and the odd stickler bartender who still put well gin in their LIIT, Gin became again the disreputable property of Stickler Martini drinkers and alcoholic old women.
In the 1980-1990s, as the vodka market became saturated liquor marketers and manufacturers happened upon the “luxury” gin as a differentiating category. With back bars stocked with 10s of basically similar vodkas with only brand loyalty really separating them, Gin was a way to have flavor be a differentiator. Bombay introduced Sapphire followed by Tanqueray introducing Tanq 10, both downplaying the juniper flavor of the Gin.
The success of these two brands paved the way for the re-launch of classic gins like Plymouth and Beefeater and the wave of New Western Gins with their esoteric flavor profiles.

At this point, I had a couple ideas about what to make for a Modern Gin cocktail and wanted to use Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength for the Gin. But I threw it open to the attendees, to see what they were interested in drinking. Interestingly, they came back with “Gimlet”.

Well, all right, then, have I got a Gimlet for them!

You see, as it turns out, just at this moment, and only until it is gone, there is some Small Hand Foods Lime Cordial at Heaven’s Dog.

Nobody REALLY wants to use Rose’s Lime Juice. It is full of High Fructose Corn Syrup, “natural” flavors, and artificial color. To remedy that, Jennifer Colliau has been working, off and on, on a lime cordial to replace Rose’s. But she hasn’t figured a way to make the economics work.

This batch required a case of organic Bears limes, at about $85, and only resulted in 2 cases of 375ml bottles of Lime Cordial.

As far as she can tell, there is no way that she could sell her lime cordial at a price that people would be willing to pay for lime syrup.

So this experimental batch was purchased by Heaven’s Dog and fantastic Gimlets are on the menu until it runs out.

Unfortunately, there’s no way you could replicate them at home, unless you make your own Lime Cordial. If I were to offer advice on somewhere to start, you might try my Sirop-de-Citron recipe with Limes instead of lemons.

So I offer you this Gimlet recipe instead:

West Coast Gimlet

1 1/2 oz Martin Miller’s Gin
3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake well with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with Lime Twist.

Parson’s Special Cocktail

One thing that I’m hoping to do this year is to get out a bit more to bars around town. While I’m at it, I plan to, ahem, challenge the talent a bit more than I have, by requesting that they make Savoy Cocktails.

For this outing, we met some friends in North Beach where we decided to have dinner at the new-ish Comstock Saloon. Well, it’s really only “new-ish” if you get out to North Beach as infrequently as Mrs. Flannestad and I do. Ahem, I think they’ve been open for at least 8 months.

Among the bars and restaurants that opened last year, a new trend was bars that take themselves seriously as cocktail destinations, yet have really very decent food. Both Bar Agricole and Comstock Saloon fall into this category. Where previously it had almost seemed that it was the restaurants which were leading the charge as destinations for amazing cocktails, now we are seeing places that are first and foremost cocktail destinations, yet are being written up also as food destinations.

That it incorporates “Saloon” in its name and is located in North Beach, gives you a good idea what to expect. Located in the space which was most recently the San Francisco Brewing Company, Comstock is a rowdy, fun bar with live music and weekend crowds. That you can also get “Beef Shank and Bone Marrow Pot Pie” or “Chicken Fried Rabbit” is an indication of where “Bar Food” is at these days in San Francisco. I’m all for it, especially when the food is priced as well as it is at Comstock.

Parson’s Special Cocktail
4 Dashes Grenadine.
1 Glass Orange Juice.
The Yolk of 1 Egg.
Shake well and strain into medium size glass.

For my first drink, to be a pain in the ass. I asked for “Barkeep’s Whismy” and specified “something brown”. I got back a very well made Brooklyn, one of my all time favorite drinks, and quite enjoyed it. As far as “Whimsy” goes, maybe a bit on the “safe” side, but hard to complain.

As I was perusing the menu, I noticed they had the new beer from Anchor Brewing, Brekel’s Brown. It proved to be a great companion to my Beef Shank and Bone Marrow Pot Pie.

After we finished dinner, the server asked us if there was anything else she could bring. I wrote down the recipe for the Parson’s Special and told her it was for a blog project I was working on.

A well executed drink came back, with the spice from their house Grenadine giving this rather plain recipe a well needed lift. Quite similar to what I remember an Orange Julius tasting like, I’m not sure I would order the Parson’s Special again, but I know I will return to Comstock Saloon to sample more of their food and drink menu.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Keep Sober Cocktail

Keep Sober Cocktail

1/8 Grenadine. (Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
1/8 Sirop-de-Citron (Sirop-de-Citron, homemade)
3/4 Tonic. (Clayton’s Kola Tonic)

Serve in long glass and fill with siphon soda.

This one isn’t bad either, ending up tasting rather like a Cherry-Coke, though it wouldn’t be awful to include a little citrus.

Another interesting experiment I tried was mixing in Trader Tiki’s Don’s Mix, instead of the Grenadine. You know, you have to support your friends. Anyway, I found that to be a quite interesting variation, a little spice and a little citric tang, gave this a bit more of a tropical theme and made it a pretty decent non-alcoholic cocktail.

Now if I could only convince Blair from Trader Tiki or Jennifer from Small Hand Foods to make a Kola Tonic, so I don’t have to order it from Barbados next time!

I mean, if you have to Keep Sober, it doesn’t mean you have to suffer.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.