Rock and Rye Cocktail

Rock and Rye Cocktail.
1 Glass Rye Whisky or Canadian Club. Dissolve 1 Piece of Rock Candy in it. The Juice of 1 Lemon can be added if desired.

Here’s another one that has made no sense to me. How do you dissolve a piece of rock candy in room temperature whiskey?

I started doing a bit of research about this and found a bunch of different recipes, from those as simple as the above to those which included spices and honey infused into the whiskey.

Looking over the more complicated recipes and articles, the consensus seemed to be that Rock and Rye should be flavored with Horehound and citrus. In addition, it seemed like Rock and Rye was considered some sort of home remedy for chest ailments like coughs and sore throats.

I found a couple recipes for straight horehound candies and horehound cough syrup. At that point, it occurred to me that there was no reason I couldn’t adapt my usual punch method to this beverage, substituting the horehound syrup for the tea syrup.

750ml Wild Turkey Rye
Zest 1 Lemon
Zest 1 orange
1 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Horehound
1 TBSP fresh Lemon Balm (Melissa officianalis)
1 tsp. Fennel Seed, crushed
1 Pound Honey
Rock Candy

Infuse Peels in Rye Whiskey for 24-48 hours. Bring water to a simmer, add spices, and remove from heat. Steep 15 minutes. Strain out solids. Add Honey and cool. Strain Rye off of peels and combine with spiced syrup. Filter into a clean sealable bottle. Add rock candy to bottle until it does not dissolve.

Rock And Rye

OK, as many of the horehound syrup and horehound candy recipes predicted, this is pretty bitter. Not exactly in an unpleasant way. More in a green, sagey, menthol-ish, and fairly pleasant way. Kind of like dandelion greens. Some friends also commented it was pretty sweet. I don’t see a way around that. The whole point of the “rock” in the bottles of rock and rye, is that the solution is so saturated that further sugar crystals won’t dissolve.

After running the finished product past a few more friends, LeNell Smother’s name came up as someone who made Rock and Rye. As a Rock and Rye evangelist, even. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to drop her a note, so I sent her the following question, “Recently reached the letter ‘R’ in the Savoy Cocktail Book and am researching Rock and Rye. When talking to some friends about it, your name came up as someone who had made an interesting version. I sort of treated it like a punch. I infused rye whiskey with lemon and orange peels. Made a horehound, lemon balm, and fennel seed syrup sweetened with honey. Combined the two and added rock candy to the bottles. It turned out at least interesting, but I have no real idea if it is even close to what rock and rye is supposed to taste like. How do you make it?”

She responded:

No “supposed” to taste like, in my opinion, as this was something folks just made and had sitting on the back of the bar. Not rocket science distillation. And probably everybody made it a bit differently. Some folks just sweetened up the rye with maybe lemon and nothing else…I make my rock and rye slightly different every time. It’s like cooking for me. I have a basic “recipe” but fuck around depending on what’s on hand. Sometimes I put more pineapple, sometimes none at all. Dried apricot? Raisins? The horehound can get too bitter for some people but I like it to balance out the sweetness plus it goes along with the cough suppressant notion.

Yes, funny! I was getting over some chest congestion just when making this recipe came up. Thus I can say with some authority that a rock and rye toddy is really good for chest congestion and a cough. Give it a try.

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.

Roc-A-Coe Cocktail

Roc-A-Coe Cocktail

Roc-A-Coe Cocktail.
1/2 Sherry. (1 oz Bodega Dios Baco Amontillado Sherry)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz North Shore Distiller’s No. 6)
Stir well and strain into cocktail glass. Add a cherry.

Not really much to get too excited about here. With a gin and a sherry you enjoy, this is not a bad appetizer cocktail. On the other hand, there’s nothing particularly deep going on. A dash of orange bitters, maybe, and an orange twist would do much to point up the details on this one.

I guess the name is a pun on “rococo“. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine.

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.

Boothby’s Ten Commandments: II. See that your finger nails are always clean

Boothby

As I mentioned before, Anchor Distilling recently reprinted the 1891 edition of “Cocktail Boothby’s American Bar-Tender“.

As someone who is somewhat involved in the bartender trade, I always enjoy going through old books and reading the advice that appears. Usually, I am amazed at how little has changed. How valid pieces of advice contained in a book from 1891 can be 118 years later.

So I thought I would go through Boothby’s “Ten Commandments” for bartenders one by one and see which ones still make sense for the 21st Century.

Fingernails.

II. See that your finger nails are always clean and your person presents a tidy appearance.

While you can’t always judge a book by it’s cover, I’m afraid it is inevitably the first thing it is judged by.

You’ll usually find me dressed in Levi’s Denim, Woolrich flannel, and work boots. I am nowhere the stylish dresser that many Bartenders are. No diamond pins, stylish hats, or pointed shoes typically adorn my twig-like frame.

However, for Savoy Cocktail Book night at Alembic, I usually wear a vest, a nice white shirt, and one of my father’s old silk ties. Semi-ironic, I suppose. But I like to think of the ties as somewhat totemic.

My father was a Funeral Director in the Midwest. His uniform was the dark suit, tie, and wing tips just about every day of his life. He was so much the better “people person” than I am, that I like to think some of his skills might carry over when I am wearing his ties. As if, somehow, the clothes might make the man. Or at least, I might be more cognizant of the sort of “people person” I can or should be, by wearing his ties.

Funny, eh?

I spent most of my youth wearing ripped jeans and untucked flannel shirts, irritating the hell out of my ex-Marine, Funeral Director Father, now here I am ironing shirts and wearing his ties.

It is interesting that Boothby uses some military-like terms in his commandments and.  Classic bartending does often seem to involve the sort of neatness and precision associated with close order drills.

Is it any wonder quality cocktails didn’t get along with the loosey goosey, let it all hang out, keep on truckin’, 1970s?

But to get back to the “finger nails”, my boss at Heaven’s Dog, Erik Adkins, always says, “My hands are my tools,” and, indeed, that is very true. We use them to squeeze twists, handle fruit, measure booze. Grungy fingernails and unkempt hands are as unappealing in a barkeep as they are in a doctor.

This is another 19th Century Commandment still valid for the 21st Century.

Robson Cocktail

Robson Cocktail

Robson Cocktail.
1/8 Lemon Juice. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Lemon Juice)
1/8 Orange Juice. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Orange Juice)
1/4 Grenadine. (3/4 oz Homemade Grenadine)
1/2 Jamaica Rum. (1 1/2 oz Appleton V/X Rum)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Actually, this is exactly what I would consider a “Planter’s Punch”, as opposed to those two earlier “Planter’s Cocktails” (No. 1 and No. 2).  Multiple Citrus, check.  Grenadine, check.  Jamaican Rum, check.  Yep, that’s a “Planter’s Punch” all right.

Tasty, too, though you could probably go with something a bit more distinctive than the Appleton V/X.  Coruba might be awesome, or Haus Alpenz’ Smith and Cross Jamaica Rum, if you were feeling adventurous.

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.

BOTW–High Tide

High Tide.

Port Brewing’s High Tide Fresh Hop India Pale Ale located at local bottle shop City Beer Store.  I can never pass up trying a Fresh Hop beer.

In glasses.

All about the grapefruit in the nose and taste.  Nicely balanced, though, and not sharp.  Very drinkable.

Dinner.

Experimental Roasted Pumpkin and Apple Risotto with sage.  Pretty tasty.  Salad of Arugula and Persimmons.  Portobello Mushroom Sausages.

Rob Roy Cocktail

Rob Roy Cocktail

Rob Roy Cocktail.
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1/2 Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Carpano Antica)
1/2 Scotch Whisky. (1 1/2 oz Pig’s Nose Scotch)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Lemon Peel.)

Particularly for Saint Andrew’s Day, to open the evening for the usual enormous annual gathering of the Clans at the Savoy.

First tried this with the well established Famous Grouse Scotch. Not sure if my bottle has gotten a bit tired, as it has been around a while, or what, but didn’t thrill me. Got a lot of high alcohol in the flavor and nose, and not much flavor.

Pig's Nose Scotch

Retried with the mini of Pig’s Nose sent to me by a firm promoting that brand, and found the cocktail much improved. Some nice pear-like flavor in that Scotch and better body. Not sure if it’s worth a third again the price of the Grouse, but if money were no object it would be a nice choice. Given I was mixing with Carpano Antica, I changed the Scotch to Vermouth ratio from fifty-fifty to two-one.

Lombardino's

I guess by now you’ve figured out that I’m kind of a weirdo.  I often order things just out of curiosity about how they taste, with nothing more than a rumor or a feeling.

Back when I was growing up in the Midwest, my family and people I knew didn’t really drink cocktails or go out to bars.  I had one uncle who always ordered a Gimlet when we were out for dinner and one aunt who always ordered a screwdriver.  Beyond that, I was in the dark.

When I got old enough to drink, we were talking about the TGIFridays and Chichis dark days of the cocktail.  In the 1980s, Long Island Iced Teas and blended Margaritas full of saccharine sweet sour mix were the order of the day, and I partook gladly.

However, one night I was out at a childhood favorite Italian Restaurant, Lombardino’s. It was an awesome place, with a model of the Trevi Fountain in the front, a little paper mache dog who barked when you pulled it’s chain, a wishing well, plastic grapes hanging from the ceiling, and little balconies on the walls with dolls dressed as Italian characters. I loved it. And frankly, the food was pretty good. I always ordered the Manicotti. But back to the story. One night I was out with some High School friends and the Rob Roy caught my eye and I ordered it, likely getting a big glass of scotch and sweet vermouth on the rocks. I would like to say my life changed at that moment, but I don’t really remember. I remember the big, bulky, amber colored glass it came in more than the cocktail itself. Still, it was the first proper cocktail I ordered in my life, and I like to think it aligned me a bit with the vermouth happy path I am currently on.

Lombardino’s has recently been reinvented by a Madison couple, who decided the time was past for the Italian American food of the 1940s and 1950s. They’ve made an attempt to bring some authentic Italian food into the still very cool looking restaurant. Well, OK, they took down a lot of the really cool and really kitschy decorations, for which I may one day forgive them, but the fountain and the wishing well are still there, and the food, I suppose, is technically better. Still, I kind of missed the Manicotti the last time I was in.

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.

Boothby’s Ten Commandments: I. Always be on time

Boothby

As I mentioned before, Anchor Distilling recently reprinted the 1891 edition of  “Cocktail Boothby’s American Bar-Tender“.

As someone who is somewhat involved in the bartender trade, I always enjoy going through old books and reading the advice that appears.  Usually, I am amazed at how little has changed.  How valid pieces of advice contained in a book from 1891 can be 118 years later.

So I thought I would go through Boothby’s “Ten Commandments” for bartenders one by one and see which ones still make sense for the 21st Century.

On time.

I. Always be on time to relieve the other watch. It is a good plan to make a practice of arriving a few minutes early so as to arrange your toilet and step to your station on time.

First, and probably most importantly, if you are late, you’re at the very least inconveniencing your coworkers.  If you’re not on time they will likely have to stay late or do some of your work for you.  Not a great way to win friends and influence people.

So here’s the other thing. When I go to my job at the University, I pretty much know what to expect ahead of time. Usually, most technology changes and meetings are scheduled weeks in advance.  Aside from hardware or HVAC failures there really aren’t many surprises.  Unless you have an early morning meeting, the consequences for being 15 minutes late are relatively minor.  Maybe you try to make it up by staying 15 mins late or coming in early another day.

With food service, you almost never know what is going to happen until you get to work and start your day.

You could get there and have 50 people walk in the door as soon as it is unlocked.  A full bar for all 8 hours of your shift.  Or you could have a good hour before business picks up.

If you’re not prepared to handle the worst the evening will throw at you the moment the door opens, you are just asking for a world of pain and grumpiness.

This is a 19th Century “Commandment” that still makes sense in  the 21st Century.

Richmond Cocktail

Richmond Cocktail

Richmond Cocktail.
1/3 Kina Lillet. (3/4 oz Lillet Blanc, Dash Angostura, Dash Clear Creek Kirsch, Dash Simple Syrup)
2/3 Plymouth Gin. (1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel on top.

Unfortunately, still without Cocchi Americano or anything similar. And the latest rumors I’ve heard put Haus Alpenz release of Cocchi Americano at sometime early next year.

Well, until then, we’ll continue along with our substitutions.

I didn’t have the Luxardo Maraschino handy, so instead grabbed the Kirsch this time. Hm. Ended up OK, but probably not something I would revisit.

In a lot of ways, I think probably dry vermouth, angostura, orange peel, and maraschino is the best choice, instead of involving Lillet Blanc at all.

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.

Boothby’s Ten Commandments

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

(Cocktail) Boothby’s Ten Commandments.

I. Always be on time to relieve the other watch. It is a good plan to make a practice of arriving a few minutes early so as to arrange your toilet and step to your station on time.

II. See that your finger nails are always clean and your person presents a tidy appearance.

III. Always appear pleasant and obliging under all circumstances.

IV. Avoid conversations of a religious or political nature.

V. When going off watch always dry and polish all the glassware and tools which you have used on your watch, and see that everything is in its proper place, so that your relief can work to advantage as soon as he arrives at his post.

VI. Sell all the liquor you can, but use as little as possible yourself.

VII. If you are troubled with sore feet, bathe them regularly. Avoid patched or ragged hosiery, and wear a comfortable shoe with a heavy sole. Light soles, low cut shoes or slippers should never be worn behind a bar.

VIII. Keep the floor behind the bar as dry as possible. It not only looks better, but you will find your health greatly improved by following this rule. Many bartenders contract rheumatism, neuralgia and many other serious complaints through carelessness in this report.

IX. After using a bottle or tool always replace it before doing anything else. Make this a rule that should never be broken; and, when you are rushed with business, you will never be compelled to hunt for this or that, but you will always know just where it is.

X. After a party has finished drinking, remove the glassware from the bar as soon as possible, and dry and polish the bar top immediately, never allowing a particle of moisture to remain. This is a very important rule.

From “Cocktail Boothby’s American Bar-Tender“, recently reprinted by Anchor Distilling from a first edition, 1891 edition, at the California Historical Society.

Re-Vigorator Cocktail

Re-Vigorator Cocktail

Re-Vigorator Cocktail.
1/2 Gin. (1 oz Plymouth Gin)
1/4 Kola Tonic. (Scant 1/2 oz Rose’s Cola Tonic)
1/4 Sirop-de-citron. (1/4 oz Lemon Juice, 1/4 oz Monin Lemon Syrup)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Cheating slightly, as I just can’t face these Kola Tonic and Sirop-de-Citron cocktails without a little bit of citrus juice.

This isn’t, strictly speaking, awful. On the other hand, it isn’t that great, either. Definitely on the Saccharine side, like a vaguely medicinal lemon flavored hard candy.

Good name, though!

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.