An Engineer’s Guide to Cocktails

Hi!

An Engineer friend of mine, Kevin Liu, has written a book.

It is called “Craft Cocktails at Home“, but it should really be called, “An Engineer’s Guide to Cocktails”.

Lest you forget, a couple of Engineers made a very funny video a while back about the care and feeding of Felis silvestris catus for the literal minded. They called it, “An Engineer’s Guide to Cats”. I include it here, on the off chance that you have not laughed out loud recently.

From my initial skimming of the book, like the video, Kevin also manages to balance the geeky, the amusing, and the ridiculous in his new guide to Cocktails.

Also! The Kindle eBook version will be available for free! (Free, as in Beer!) from 28 Feb 2013 through 02 Mar 2013 on Amazon:

Craft Cocktails at Home on Amazon

Check it, and you will soon be using phrases like, “Orthonasal Olfaction,” in everyday conversation, not to mention enjoying perfectly clear ice in every cocktail!

I include a brief sample of the writing style, here, for your enjoyment.

Why Some People Hate the Taste of Alcohol and What You Can Do About It

I have a friend named Wes who cannot stand the taste of alcohol. At all. And I know it’s not his fault. He’s always a good sport, tasting every single drink I’ve made for him. Each time, he smiles, as if confident this time, this drink, he’ll find something he’ll genuinely enjoy and know exactly what to order at bars forever. For me, it’s like watching a car wreck in slow motion. I carefully study his face, looking for a sign, the slightest hint of a smile that indicates he’s pleased, satisfied, or at least indifferent. But, every time it ends the same. Wes’s face tightens with disgust, his eyes squint, and his tongue hangs limp from his defeated mouth. Wes drinks Bud Lime and Corona. I drink the leftovers of Wes’s cocktails. Once in a while, I’ll mix up something exceptionally light and he’ll happily accept a glass in the privacy of the home bar, knowing he’ll never be able to bring himself to ask for an Amaretto Sour or a Dark and Stormy (hold the stormy) in public. Poor Wes.

So, go buy Kevin’s book. Or download it for free on Amazon and buy Kevin a drink the next time you see him, for all the work he has done in the service of cocktails, and the advancement of mankind.

Apple Amaro

As you may recall, I was making a bit of an effort in January to drink as little as possible.

However, the Apple Ginger Tea Toddy was kind of awesome.

While I was drinking it the second, or third, time, I thought to myself, “Self, you know this isn’t too far from my Hercules recipe. What if I made a chilled bitter beverage with apple juice instead of wine?”

And why do people who don’t drink, often end up as an afterthought at bars, with kind of shit choices?

It’s like vegetarian’s in restaurants, there’s no reason vegetarian food can’t be as delicious, or even more delicious, than food with meat, if you put a little effort and thought into it. And salt, salt, for goodness sake, and seasoning herbs.

Why can’t people who don’t drink have interesting bitter aperitif or digestiv beverages?

Apple Amaro

Apple Amaro

500ml Apple Juice
250ml Gingerzizer Ginger Apple Beverage (or Apple Juice, a little honey, and some crushed ginger root)
Peel 1 Tangelo (hey, it’s what we have, pick any orange relative in your fridge.)
1 Cinnamon Stick
3 Green Cardamom Pods, Crushed
6 Cloves, Crushed
1 tsp Coriander Seed, Crushed
1 tsp Fennel Seed, Crushed
1 tsp Gentian Root
1 tsp Cinchona Bark
1 scant tsp Angelica Root
1 scant tsp Calamus Root
1/4 Cup Sugar
2 tsp Chinese Black Tea
?2 TBSP Cider or White Wine Vinegar

METHOD: Bring all ingredients other than tea and vinegar to a simmer. Turn off heat, add tea and steep for 15 mins. Taste and add vinegar to bring acidity up to the level of a young red wine. Chill.

I initially made it without the sugar or vinegar, but without the sugar, the bitterness was quite off putting. Without the vinegar, it lacked impact on the palate.

I had the Angelica & Calamus for another project, common ingredients in old vermouth recipes and sometimes Gin. I think the Angelica might have been a mistake, it has a floral, curry thing going on that is a little off putting in combination with the other spices. I’d probably leave both of them out next time.

On the whole, it is an interesting first effort. Ideally, I want to figure out a way to make a Sanbitter Syrup, as replacement for that discontinued product. It’s a start and the Apple Amaro is pretty darn tasty with a little Rye Whiskey. Don’t tell the vegetarians.

Savoy Cocktail Ingredient List

Using the tags I’ve created for the site, I’ve made a complete list of all ingredients and garnishes used in the Savoy Cocktail Book. I didn’t initially ‘tag’ all the ingredients in the cocktails, so I’ll add more as I find them. Hopefully, eventually, I’ll work it up into a glossary type thing as its own page: Savoy Cocktail Ingredients

One of those things I’ve been meaning to do, you know, just in case someone else wants to hold their own Savoy Cocktail Book Night.

KInd of makes me want to make up some ingredients for U, Y, and Zed.

Savoy Ingredients

–A–

Absinthe

Abricotine (Apricot Liqueur)

Absinthe Bitters (Wormwood Bitters)

Almonds

Amer Picon

Angostura Bitters

Anis del Oso

Anisette

Apple

Apple Brandy

Apple Jack

Apple Juice

Apricot

Apricot Brandy

Apricot Eau-de-Vie

Apricot Jam

Apricot Pit

–B–

Bacardi Rum

Baked Apple

Batavia Arrack

Beer

Benedictine

Black Pepper

Blackberry Brandy

Blue Vegetable Dye

Bourbon

Brandy

Byrrh

–C–

Calvados

Campari

Canadian Club

Canadian Whiskey

Caperitif

Cassis

Cayenne Pepper

Champagne

Chartreuse

Cherry Brandy

Cherry Heering

Cider

Cinnamon

Claret

Clove

Clove Syrup

Coffee

Cognac

Cointreau

Cream

Crème de Cacao

Crème de Cassis

Crème de Menthe

Crème de Noyau

Crème de Violette

Crème Yvette

Curacao

–D–

Danzig Goldwasser

Dry Gin

Dry Sherry

Dry Vermouth

Dubbonet (Rouge)

–E–

East Indian Punch

Egg

Egg White

Egg Yolk

–F–

Fernet Branca

Fine Ice

Forbidden Fruit Liqueur

French Vermouth

Fresh Cream

Fresh Mint

–G–

Genever

Ginger Ale

Ginger Beer

Ginger Brandy

Gomme Syrup

Gooseberry Syrup

Grand Marnier

Grape Juice

Grapefruit Jelly

Grapefruit Juice

Green Chartreuse

Green Crème de Menthe

Grenadine

Groseille Syrup (Red Currant Syrup)

Guinness Stout

Gum Syrup

–H–

Hard Cider

Hercules

Hollands Gin

Honey

Hooch Whiskey

Hot Water

–I–

Ice

Irish Whiskey

Italian Vermouth

–J–

Jamaica Ginger (Ginger Extract)

Jamaica Rum

–K–

Ketchup

Kina Lillet

Kirsch

Kirschwasser

Kola Tonic

Kummel

–L–

Lemon Juice

Lemon Peel

Lemon Soda

Lemon Syrup

Lillet (Blanc)

Limes

Lime Juice

London Gin

Lump Sugar

–M–

Madeira

Maple Syrup

Maraschino Cherry

Maraschino Liqueur

Milk

–N–

Nutmeg

–O–

Old-Tom Gin

OIives

Orange Juice

Orange

Orange Bitters

Orange Curacao

Orange Flower Water

Orange Marmalade

Orchard Syrup

–P–

Peach Brandy

Peach Eau-de-Vie

Pepper

Peychaud’s Bitters

Pimento Dram

Pineapple

Pineapple Juice

Pineapple Syrup

Plymouth Gin

Port Wine

Powdered Sugar (Superfine)

Pricota (Apricot Liqueur)

Prune Syrup

Prunelle Brandy

Prunes

–Q–

Quinquina

–R–

Raspberries

Raspberry Brandy

Raspberry Syrup

Red Currant Juice

Rose’s Lime Juice (Lime Cordial)

Rye Whiskey

–S–

Santa Cruz Rum

Scotch Whisky

Secrestat Bitters

Sherry

Simple Syrup

Sirop-de-Citron

Sloe Gin

Sparkling Moselle

St. Croix Rum

Strawberries

Sugar

Sugar Cube

Sugar Syrup

Swedish Punch

Sweet Cream

–T–

Tomato Catsup

–V–

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vinegar

Vodka

–W–

White Crème de Menthe

White Grape Juice

White Port Wine

White Wine

Whole Egg

Worcestershire Sauce

–Y–

Yellow Chartreuse

 

Gunnersbury Tube Station

“We hope you have a pleasant trip across the pond and are looking forward to a unique and fun-filled day touring London landmarks in the life of Harry Craddock.”

“Your Journey officially kicks off on Friday, January 25th, when you will meet the team at Gunnersbury Station at 9:00 a.m., at which time you will depart for the first stop of the tour. Please note that the specific destinations of the day will be kept a surprise to all participants so we will only be allowed to unveil the start and finish points at this time.”

“Throughout the tour, we encourage you to engage the various hosts from Pernod Ricard USA and Chivas Brothers, as well as our special guest hosts, for insights into the story of Harry Craddock and the Savoy Cocktail Book, as well as the unparalleled history of Plymouth Gin.”

“‘From Slings to Smashes, Fizzes to Flips,’ we hope you enjoy your gin-inspired tour in memory of Harry Craddock.”

“Cheers!”

…and that was all I knew as I arrived at Gunnersbury Tube Station, January 25, 2013.

Myself and a couple bartenders, along with Camper English, arrived at about the same time and we were shepherded down the street and into a vintage London Black Cab, in this case Geoffrey Canilao and Stuart McCluskey.

Getting into the Cars

They even included Plymouth Gin fleece blankets, a good thing on this chilly winter day.

Plymouth Blankets

We grabbed some coffee and pastries, and as we waited for everyone to show up, it became apparent this would be a rather large group.

Gathering the Troops

Ah, Pook is HERE. I’ve always wondered…

Ah, Pook is Here

But, that isn’t the grave we are looking for…

Dorelli and Miller

Maximilian Warner gets the game going, with a welcome from Plymouth Gin and a summary of the day. Also on the podium are Nigel Barden and Anistatia Miller.

After Max’s introduction, Anistatia gets to the good stuff. In the first place, this IS Harry Craddock’s grave. Everyone had thought, up until very recently, that Harry had been cremated. However, calls to various cemeteries turned up this grave and date of death which matched Harry’s.

21 January 1963 and 24 January 2013; those are awfully close… Yes, this is the 50th anniversary of Harry’s Burial here at the Gunnersbury Cemetery.

It is, however, a shared grave. In his later years, Harry was not well, and did not seek the public light. Embarrassed a bit to end up on national assistance, this is his final resting place.

Harry's Grave

Our second revelation came regarding Harry’s national origin. He claimed to have been the last “American” Bartender to make a drink before prohibition took effect, but it turned out he was as American as John Lennon or Craig Ferguson.

He was born in Burleigh, Minchinghampton in England’s Cotswold’s on August 29th, 1875. The son of a Tailor and a Knitter, his first career was as a clerk. As with many people of that time, the US had its draw, and he took the trip the USA in spring of 1897. He bounced around the country a bit until he ended up in the Hotel trade in Cleveland, Ohio. First a waiter, he soon moved to bartender. With the portability of that trade, he relocated to Chicago, Illinois and landed a job at the Palmer House.

Erik L Pours Cocktail

Above, Erik Lorincz, the current head bartender at the Savoy Hotel, pours a drink for Harry.

Savoy Bartender Toast

Four of the living head Savoy Hotel Barmen, Victor Gower, Peter Dorelli, Salim Khoury, Erik Lorincz, and Anistatia Miller, raise a Lillet Cocktail, one of his favorites, to Harry’s memory.

At HarrysGrave

I’ve stolen this image from Max/Plymouth, as our whole group raises a glasses of Lillet Cocktails, to Harry.

Back in the cars

And with that, we pile back into the cabs and head to our next mystery destination!

A Little Hanky Panky

Well, clearly the first order of business on this trip should be to hie myself to the Savoy Hotel and enjoy a Hanky Panky!

Savoy Hotel Facade, night

Nice chat with personable Savoy Barman, Christian, originally from Northern Italy.

Christian Garnishes

He garnishes the Hanky Panky with a wide swath of Orange!

Enjoying Hankyp

Wonderful, to experience and dedication he takes to the craft, a wonderful Japanese style shake, hand cracked perfectly clear ice for stirred cocktails.

Tequila Drink

For the second drink, he chose to make us a drink he had made for an event matching Tequila with Japanese Food. Beautifully refreshing and light, it contained Matcha Green Tea, Citrus, and Tequila.

Pints at The Harp

Of course, the second priority must be pints of Real Ale! The Harp has a great selection of well kept cask ale, recommended if you are in the neighborhood.