Brandy Fix

Fixes.

In making fixes be careful to put the lemon skin in the glass.

Brandy Fix
Pour into a small tumbler 1 teaspoonful of sugar, 1 teaspoonful of water to dissolve the sugar, Juice of 1/2 Lemon, 1/2 Liqueur Glass of Cherry Brandy, 1 Liqueur Glass of Brandy. Fill the glass with fine ice and stir slowly, then add a slice of lemon, and serve with a straw.

Oft times, people looking at the two pages of the Savoy Cocktail Book with the Daisies on one side and the Fixes on the other, will have the question, “What is the difference between a Fix and a Daisy?”

If we say a “Daisy” is Spirits, Citrus, Sweetener, Ice and Soda Water, then the only real difference between the Daisy and the Fix is the presence of Soda Water in the recipe for the Daisy.

Looking at some old recipe books:

While the 1862 edition of Jerry Thomas’ Bartender’s Guide did not include Daisies, he did include a section of “Fixes and Sours”.

Brandy Fix.
(Use Small Bar Glass)

1 table-spoonful of sugar;
1/4 of a lemon;
1/2 wineglass water;
1 wineglass brandy.

Fill a tumbler two-thirds full of shaved ice. Stir with a spoon and dress the top with fruit in season*

*The Santa Cruz fix is made by substituting Santa Cruz rum instead of brandy.

Gin Sour
(Use Small Bar Glass)

The gin Sour is made with the same ingredients as the gin fix, omitting all fruits except a small piece of lemon, which must be pressed in the glass.**

**The Santa Cruz sour is made by substituting Santa Cruz rum instead of gin. In making fixes and sours be careful and put the lemon skin in the glass.

For Jerry Thomas, then, a Sour is a Fix without a fruit garnish.

From Harry Johnson’s 1888 “Bartender’s Manual”:

Gin Fix
(Use a large bar glass)
1/2 tablespoonful of sugar;
3 or 4 dashes of lime or lemon juice;
1/2 pony glass of pineapple syrup; dissolve well with a little water, or squirt of selters;
Fill up the glass with shaved ice;
1 wine glass of Holland Gin.

Stir up well with a spoon, ornament the top with fruit in season, and serve with a straw.

As usual, Mr Johnson is slightly more ornamental than Mr Thomas with his sweetener choices, but the two recipes are more or less the same. Sugar, Citrus, and Spirits served on fine ice and ornamented with “fruit in season”.

While we are at it, we might as well check Cocktail Bill Boothby, from 1908:

Fix.

Fill a punch glass with fine ice and set it on the bar. Then take a medium size mixing-glass and put in it one dessertspoonful of sugar, the juice of one lemon, a jigger of whiskey and enough water to make a drink large enough to fill the punch glass containing the ice. Stir well, pour over the ice in the punch glass, decorate and serve with straws.

With Boothby, I think the words, “punch glass” are particularly telling. A Fix is a single serving punch, mixed a la minute, and served over fine ice.

OK, back to the Savoy. The most troubling part of the Savoy Brandy Fix recipe is the “Cherry Brandy”. What do the authors mean, Cherry Liqueur or Cherry Eau-de-Vie?

Well, let’s try it both ways and see what we get.

Brandy Fix (Kirsch)

1 1/2 oz Artez Folle Blanche Armagnac VSOP
3/4 oz Clear Creek Kirsch
Juice 1/2 Lemon
1 teaspoon Rich Simple Syrup
Peel 1 Lemon
Grapes
Lemon Slice

Shake on cracked ice and pour into a wine glass decorated with whole lemon peel. Garnish with fruit in season and lemon slice.

Huh, that’s actually not awful, in fact kind of tasty. The Cherry Eau-de-Vie diversifies the flavor and increases the intensity of the Brandy’s taste in the drink.

Brandy Fix (Heering)

1 1/2 oz Artez Folle Blanche Armagnac VSOP
3/4 oz Cherry Heering
Juice 1/2 Lemon
1 teaspoon Rich Simple Syrup
Peel 1 Lemon
Grapes
Lemon Slice

Shake on cracked ice and pour into a wine glass decorated with whole lemon peel. Garnish with fruit in season and a lemon slice.

On the other hand, this IS kind of awful. Maybe my Heering is past its prime, but this tastes rather too much like cough syrup for me to be comfortable with. I can only imagine this would be even more medicinal with Gin or Genever. I might be wrong, but I’m going to side with Eau-de-Vie for the Brandy Fix.

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.

6 thoughts on “Brandy Fix

  1. Pingback: This Week in the Blogs | The Mixoloseum

  2. Why did you put a full ounce of heering and of eau-de-vie in these? The recipe has “1/2 Liqueur Glass of Cherry Brandy, 1 Liqueur Glass of Brandy,” whereas you used equal parts. With the ratio you used, I don’t doubt that the Heering one was awful.

    That said, I also think it’s quite likely that your Heering is past its prime. I’ve found that it does not keep particularly well at all (even compared to other fruit liqueurs), which is unfortunate since I don’t exactly go through it quickly (the quarterly Blood and Sand doesn’t really make a big dent). I think I’m going to have to (yet again) throw out my remaining half bottle and get a new one. This time I’ll keep it in the fridge. I wish that it came in a 375.

    As an aside, that looks like an awfully fancy brandy for a drink like this. Don’t you have any E&J?

    • Oops, good point regarding measurements.

      I usually use 1 1/2 oz for a “liqueur glass” and thus it should have been 3/4 oz for the “half liqueur glass”.

      I still think it would have been too sweet, especially as the sweetness was perfectly fine in the Kirsch version.

      The brandy is a little fancy, but it was on clearance at K&L Wines, so not expensive. I was trying to think of a Brandy that would be appropriate for a 19th Century drink and didn’t feel like splurging on the new Pierre Ferrand 1840 offering. This single varietal Armagnac didn’t seem that far off.

  3. Pingback: Gin Fix « Savoy Stomp

  4. Pingback: Santa Cruz Rum Fix « Savoy Stomp

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