The Intangibles

From dictionary.reference.com:

in-tan-gi-ble [in-tan-juh-buhl]
–adjective
1. not tangible; incapable of being perceived by the sense of touch, as incorporeal or immaterial things; impalpable.
2. not definite or clear to the mind: intangible arguments.
3. (of an asset) existing only in connection with something else, as the goodwill of a business.
–noun
4. something intangible, esp. an intangible asset: Intangibles are hard to value.

The other week I was out with Robby Virus, who plays in the band Project Pimento.  We were at the Rite Spot and he asked me what I found satisfying about bartending.

Since he is a musician, I tried to think about what would be similar between being a musician and tending bar.

The more I talked, and thought, about the job, the more I realized that it seemed like there were similarities.

There’s an “oevre” you have to master. Songs for musicians and drink recipes for bartenders.

There’s a craft you learn. Playing your instrument for musicians and making drinks for bartenders.

In both jobs, you are in the public eye, performing in some fashion. Appearance, style, and looking like you know what you are doing, (even if you don’t,) are important for both jobs.

In both jobs, you do your best to prepare. Then you just put yourself out there, without knowing what the evening will have in store. An empty bar or a zoo. A crowd that appreciates your craft or hecklers.

But what is it that makes bartending satisfying? The more I thought about it, the more I thought it was the interactions with your customers. It’s about the spark, the feelings, the interaction with the room. A night that is going well has an energy all its own. I coughed, and kind of half embarrassed that I would think something so “new agey”, said to Rob, “I think it is all about the Intangibles. The relationships you have the people you are serving and the feelings you get from doing it. It has to be similar for musicians, doesn’t it?”

Before Rob could answer, our waiter, who I hadn’t even known was listening to our conversation, said, “No, you’re right. I’ve done both jobs. I’ve been a musician and a bartender. That is what makes both jobs worth doing.”

R.A.C. Special Cocktail

R.A.C. Special Cocktail

R.A.C. Special Cocktail.
2 Dashes Orange Bitters. (Angostura Orange Bitters)
1/4 French Vermouth. (1/2 oz Dolin French Vermouth)
1/4 Italian Vermouth. (1/2 oz Punt e Mes)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz Plymouth Gin)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel on top.
Robert Vermeire has the following additional information in his book, Cocktails: How to Mix Them, “R.A.C. means Royal Automobile Club. This is the largest club in London, with over 16,000 members. (Recipe by Fred Faecks, 1914.)”

Unfortunately, I can find no trace of the honorable Fred Faecks on the Internet, so where he might have been bartending remains a mystery.

The Royal Automobile Club, on the other hand, is a bit less of a mystery.

If you know me, you know I enjoyed this cocktail. It is, after all, just a perfect Martini with an orange twist.

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.

Quelle Vie Cocktail

Quelle Vie Cocktail

Quelle Vie Cocktail

1/3 Kummel. (3/4 oz Kaiser Kummel)
2/3 Brandy. (1 1/2 oz Osocalis Brandy)

Stir well and strain into cocktail glass.

Brandy gives you courage and Kummel makes you cautious, thus giving you a perfect mixture of bravery and caution, with the bravery predominating.

Well, that really is a good quote. As Kummel is often considered a Russian liqueur and Brandy could represent France, the only thing I can think is that it might be a reference to France’s alliance with Russia before the First World War. However, sadly, a drink that doesn’t really live up to the promise of that quote. Interestingly modern, I suppose, being just booze and liqueur.

In any case, some Vermouth would go a long way towards making this a much more palatable drink. Some bitters wouldn’t hurt either.

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.

Queen Elizabeth Cocktail

Queen Elizabeth Cocktail

Queen Elizabeth Cocktail.

1 Dash Curacao (1/3 teaspoon Brizard Orange Curacao)
1/2 Italian Vermouth. (1 oz Punt e Mes)
1/2 Brandy. (1 oz Osocalis Brandy)

Stir well and strain into cocktail glass. Add 1 cherry. (Orange Peel.)

As the cocktail doesn’t call for any bittters, I cheated a bit and went with the Punt e Mes for this Queen Elizabeth Cocktail.

Nothing complicated or particularly deep, but quite tasty!

Definitely preferable to the previous Queen Elizabeth with Gin, Cointreau, Lemon, and Absinthe.

From the wikipedia, regarding the Queen:

Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (Elizabeth Angela Marguerite; 4 August 1900 – 30 March 2002) was Queen of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions from 1936 until 1952 as the wife of King George VI. After her husband’s death, she was known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, to avoid confusion with her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II. She was the last Queen of Ireland and Empress of India.

Assuming that that is the Queen Elizabeth we are talking about here, I’m a bit surprised. It is my understanding her favorite drink was Gin and Dubonet Rouge, rocks, with a slice of lemon.

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.

Queen Elizabeth Cocktail

Queen Elizabeth Cocktail

Queen Elizabeth Cocktail.
1 Dash Absinthe. (Absinthe Verte de Fougerolles)
1/4 Lemon Juice. (1/2 oz Lemon Juice)
1/4 Cointreau. (1/2 oz Cointreau)
1/2 Dry Gin. (1 oz Plymouth Gin)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

The first of two cocktails called the “Queen Elizabeth Cocktail,”I was really kind of hoping this would be a super tasty variation on the White Lady Cocktail.  Unfortunately, it takes the simple elegance of that drink and muddies it with Absinthe.  And while I think Anise and Orange are often nice flavor combinations, they just don’t work for me here.

If you are really hot and bothered about making the Queen Elizabeth Cocktail, maybe you are a white collared Elizabethan at heart, I might suggest adding an egg white and then simply dotting small drops of absinthe on the top of the drink.  Or if you stick with the egg white free version, maybe just rinse the glass with absinthe.

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.

Queen’s Cocktail

Queen's Cocktail

Queen’s Cocktail.

1/2 Slice of Crushed Pineapple.
1/4 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Dolin French Vermouth)
1/4 Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Martini and Rossi Sweet Vermouth)
1/2 Gin. (1 1/2 oz Sarticious Gin)

(Muddle pineapple in shaker. Add ingredients and ice…) Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.
According to Robert Vermeire, this recipe was, “by Harry Craddock, New York.” Nice to get an actual verified Craddock cocktail. But wait, isn’t The Queen’s Cocktail just a slightly dried out version of The Plaza Cocktail?

In the case of the Queen’s I actually splurged and bought a fresh pineapple and muddled half a slice in the drink. Can’t say that the substitution made that much difference between them. I think possibly the fresh pineapple was slightly more flavorful and gave a bit better foam.  Both the Plaza and The Queen’s are fairly tasty, in a vaguely tropical, punch-like way.  Amazing how a couple pieces of fruit can take a cocktail a long way from being a perfect Martini!

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.

Quarter Deck Cocktail

Quarter Deck Cocktail

Quarter Deck Cocktail.

1 Teaspoonful of Lime Juice.
1/3 Sherry. (1 1/2 oz Bodega Dios Baco Amontillado Sherry)
2/3 Rum. (1 1/2 oz Havana Club 7 year)

Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

Boy was this just awful. Something about this combination of flavors just seemed to point up the more unfortunate mud and dirt type flavors of the Havana Club rum.

Possibly a different rum would work better? Santa Theresa and Diplomatico have nice affinities to sherry.

Havana Club 7, clearly does not. At all.

EDIT: You know, I wonder, if, like the Pegu Club, this “lime juice” shouldn’t be Rose’s.  Kinda thinking that would be better.

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.

Quaker’s Cocktail

Quaker's Cocktail

Quaker’s Cocktail

1/3 Brandy. (3/4 oz Osocalis Brandy)
1/3 Rum. (3/4 oz Barbancourt White Rum)
1/6 Lemon Juice. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Lemon Juice)
1/6 Raspberry Syrup. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Monin Rapberry syrup)

Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

This was OK, but I kind of felt like I should enjoy The Quaker Cocktail more than I did.  Maybe with a more flavorful raspberry syrup, this would have more character?

When I think of Quakers, the first thing that always comes to mind is “Simple Gifts” quoted musically and so lyrically by Aaron Copeland in his score for “Appalachian Spring”.

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come out right.

Well, that and Richard Nixon.

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–Carnegie Porter, 2004

Bar after close.

Bar top.

Empty seats.

Something, I dunno, peaceful, about being in the bar after a busy night. You’ve taken care of all your closing responsibilities and are waiting for your cab or ride. Between when the dishwashers finish and the cleaning crew shows up.

Botw.

While you’re there and contemplating the universe, or at least the small portion of it you experienced that night, you might as well have a beer, if you haven’t had a shift drink. Maybe the Carnegie (aka Pripps’) Porter? Nice stuff, vintage dated and from Sweden.

Pruneaux Cocktail

Pruneaux Cocktail

Pruneaux Cocktail
(6 People)
2 Glasses of Gin (1 oz Junipero Gin), 2 of Sherry (1 oz Bodega Dios Baco Amontillado), 1 of Syrup of Prunes (1/2 oz Prune Syrup) and 1 of strained Orange Juice (1/2 oz orange juice). Shake thoroughly in cracked ice, and serve.

Right, well, sure “Syrup of Prunes” isn’t exactly a SEXY ingredient, with its promises of regularity and high fiber content.

All the same, it’s a darn tasty sweetener! Kinda raisin-ey and complex, especially following the procedure below, this isn’t something to be laughed at.

It is a bit of an odd bird of a cocktail. Gin, Sherry, Orange Juice, and prune syrup. Actually, this cocktail, the Blues Cocktail, and the Ship Cocktail are the only three in the book that call for Prune Syrup.

Not exactly a Martinez. Complex and sorta fruity. It would be really interesting to put this in front of someone blind.

I really enjoyed it. And the prunes cooked in the syrup are delicious to eat!

*From Eddie Clarke’s Shaking in the Sixties, “Prune Syrup. Put one lb of prunes (which have been soaked in cold water for 24 hours) into a saucepan with two heaped teaspoonfuls of brown sugar, a piece of vanilla, and enough cold water to cover them. Boil until half the liquid has disappeared, then add a tumblerful of claret and simmer until the prunes are cooked. You may add a port glass of brandy to the prunes about ten minutes before removing them. Strain the contents of the saucepan and then pass the juice through muslin. When it is cool put it in a bottle and cork tightly. This syrup will keep for two to three weeks. The prunes, of course, are delicious to eat.”

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.