Absinthe Frappe

Frappe.

Absinthe Frappe
2/3 Absinthe,
1/6 Syrup of Anisette, double quantity of water.
Shake up long enough until the outside of the shaker is thoroughly covered with ice. Strain into a small tumbler.

The Absinthe Frappe is basically a soda fountain style presentation for what is essentially an Absinthe Cobbler or Julep. It is NOT a drink for people who dislike Anise or Absinthe. On the other hand, if you like Absinthe, it is a pleasantly refreshing and cooling change of pace from the plain old Absinthe drip.

In “Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix Them” Stanley Clisby Arthur has one of my favorite text pieces with instructions and commentary on the Absinthe Frappe.

Absinthe Frappe

1 jigger Absinthe substitute
1 teaspoon sugar sirop
1 jigger charged water.

Fill a small highball glass with cracked or shaved ice. Pour in the sugar sirop, then the absinthe substitute, and drip water (seltzer or other charged water will improve it) slowly while frapeing with the spoon. Continue jiggling the barspoon until the glass becomes well frosted.

This is the simple and easy way to prepare an absinthe drink, one that has many devotees in many lands. Of course, if you have a shiny cocktail shaker and want to put it to work, you can use it. Shake until the shaker takes on a good coating of frost, and then pour the mixture into glasses which have been well iced before the drink is prepared.

Of course this also requires me to quote Clisby Arthur on “jiggling”:

Jiggling is not “stirring”. Stirring calls for a rotary motion, but “jiggling” is dashing the spoon up and down steadily until the outside of the goblet is frosted. Place the metal or glass container on a table to do your jiggling–do not hold the glass for heat of the hand will hinder frost from forming on the outside.

I like to use the disk end of European-style barspoons, usually intended for layering pousse cafe, when “jiggling”. I will also increase the amount of sweetener from Clisby Arthur, as I am not using a pre-sweetened “Absinthe Substitute” like Herbsaint, Pernod, or Ricard.

Absinthe Frappe.

1 1/2 oz Marteau Absinthe de la Belle Epoque;
1/4 oz Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup;
Soda Water;

Fill a small highball glass with cracked or shaved ice. Pour in the Absinthe, then the Gum Syrup, and soda water slowly into the glass while frapeing with the spoon. Continue jiggling the barspoon until the glass becomes well frosted.

Absinthe Frappe

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.

Lone Tree Cooler

Lone Tree Cooler
The Juice of 1/4 Lemon. (Juice 1/4 Lemon)
The Juice of 1 Orange. (Juice 1 orange)
1/3 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth)
2/3 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Hayman’s Old Tom Gin)
1 Liqueur Glass Grenadine. (1 oz Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
(2 dash Absinthe Verte)
Shake well strain into tumbler and fill with soda water.

I dunno, I just felt like a little Absinthe would add some interest to this rather odd recipe. Vermouth in a Cooler? Juice of 1 Orange? Anyway, it’s another cocktail where I wish I had cracked a book and done some research before making it…

As usual, the theoretical source for this recipe was Hugo Ensslin’s 1916, “Recipes for Mixed Drinks”.

However, Hugo’s recipe is hugely different:

Lone Tree Cooler
Juice of 1 Lemon;
Juice of ¼ Orange;
Pony Grenadine.

Made and served same as Apricot Cooler.

Righto. Well, there you go, cough, no booze at all, that’s way too brazen to be a typo. I guess whomever wrote the Savoy Cocktail Book felt the Lone Tree Cooler was good, but needed a little something to juice it up, like Gin and Dry Vermouth. Of course, then I came along and felt like it needed even a little more electricity, a la Maurice, and added Absinthe.

It is a wonder the same drink gets made the same way in more than once!

Ha! Sometimes I wonder if the same drink IS ever made more than once!

Well, if you’re looking for a non-alcoholic drink, you could certainly do worse than this lemonade sweetened with Grenadine, or, alternatively, slightly tarted up Shirley Temple.

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.

Morning Glory Fizz

First, just a reminder that Sunday, July 31, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails, (they also have a great beer selection,) on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders, (and me,) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Morning Glory Fizz
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon or 1 Lime. (Juice 1/2 Lemon, Juice 1/2 Lime)
1/2 Tablespoonful Powdered Sugar. (1 heaping teaspoon caster sugar)
The White of 1 Egg.
2 Dashes Absinthe (2 dash Absinthe Verte)
1 Glass Scotch Whisky (2 oz Highland Park 8, Gordon & MacPhail)
Shake well, strain into long tumbler and fill with syphon soda water.

The Morning Glory Fizz, (unrelated to the Morning Glory Cocktail,) is another Savoy Fizz from Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 “Recipes for Mixed Drinks”.
Interestingly, Ensslin gives the recipe as:

Juice of ½ Lime; Juice of ½ Lemon; 1 teasponful Powdered Sugar; White of 1 Egg; 2 dashes Absinthe; 1 drink Scotch Whiskey. Made and served as directed for Plain Gin Fizz.

While Ensslin suggests the juice of half a lemon and half a lime, the Savoy Cocktail Book suggests you choose between them, significantly altering the sweet/sour balance. I chose to follow Hugo Ensslin’s advice and found the results pleasant. Whether you will agree, I guess depends on where you fall on the whole, “not too sweet spectrum”.

As a drink maker, you have complete control over the level of sweetness in the drinks you make and it’s pretty easy to make the drinks you like. It’s more tricky when you have to figure out what someone else means by, “not too sweet”. I mean, almost no one ever asks for a Sweet Cocktail.

I remember one conversation I had that went something like:

Guest: If I asked you to make something with Baileys, what would you make?

Me: Unfortunately, we don’t have Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Guest: So you couldn’t make a White Russian?

Me: (Thinking: What? there’s no Bailey’s in a White Russian.) We do have cream and Coffee Liqueur, I would be happy to make you something similar to a White Russian.

Guest: Never mind, tell me about your cocktails. I don’t like anything too sweet.

Me: (Thinking: Same person who wants a White Russian with Bailey’s doesn’t like her cocktails too sweet? Does Not Compute.) Do you enjoy ginger flavor in a cocktail? I think you will find this cocktail refreshing and enjoyable.

I made her the Biarritz Monk Buck, a Brandy Cocktail with Lemon, Ginger and Yellow Chartreuse. She enjoyed it enough to thank me for my suggestion when her group was leaving the restaurant.

Ninety percent of the time, the challenge isn’t making the drinks, it’s interpreting from the guest what they really want.

I use the word “interpret” because there’s a lot of jargon around mixed drinks and bartending which I am nominally fluent in, such that it’s practically a dialect of its own, but I can’t really expect guests to understand. “Up”, “Rocks”, “Dry”, “Perfect”, “Sweet”, “Dirty”, etc.

But my idea of a “not too sweet” cocktail is often a long distance from what a guest might mean. If anything, all the cocktails I make, that aren’t after dinner stickies, fall into the category of “not too sweet”. Generally a guest isn’t going to want a cocktail any less sweet than the recipes we make at either place I sometimes tend bar.

But sometimes they do, I’ll make them a standard recipe for their first drink and they’ll say, “Could you make something a little less sweet for the next drink?” We even had one person at Alembic Savoy Nights who would always order a Crow Cocktail: 2/3 Bourbon, 1/3 Lemon, but ask for it without even the dash of Grenadine. Now that’s a Whiskey Sour! But more commmonly, I’ll get “That was good but a little too tart for me, could you make something a little sweeter”.

Either way, it’s not hard to tweak recipes a little this way or that, the hard part is making the guest comfortable enough that they feel like they can ask for what they want. While there are undoubtedly bars and establishments in San Francisco which employ a sort of S&M ethic to their customer relations, it’s not my thing. I would prefer that we all make it to the end of the night a little happier than when we started. No whips, no chains, and minimal scarring.

And, well, unless you are a Scotch Whisky Stickler, a Morning Glory Fizz with Highland Park 8, is a fine start. Think of it as a slightly peaty Rattlesnake, don’t worry about the bite. The cocktail doesn’t, and neither do I.

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.

Special (Rough) Cocktail

Special (Rough) Cocktail
1 Dash Absinthe.
1/2 Applejack. (1 oz Laird’s Apple Brandy)
1/2 Brandy. (1 oz Osocalis Alambic Brandy
Shake well and strain into cocktail.

Well, sometimes people are just drinking to get themselves somewhere else. Out of their head, out of their life, out of their city.

And I guess this is a fast train out of town.

On the other hand, the name is pretty accurate. This is a rough way to go, more like hopping a freight train than riding in a luxury sleeper cab.

I hesitate to call it a complete waste of perfectly good booze, but I will go on record saying I would have rathered just drunk the brandy on its own.

It’s also been made not too long ago, as the slightly differently punctuated, “Special Rough Cocktail“.

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.

Zazarac Cocktail

Wow, this cocktail, and one more and a major portion of this project completed.

Oh, wait, I will have to change the footer, if I am going to continue on after the Zed…

Zazarac Cocktail
1/6 Bacardi Rum. (1/2 oz 3/4 oz Barbancourt 8 Year)
1/6 Anisette. (1/2 oz 3/4 oz Anis del Mono dulce)
1/6 Gomme Syrup. (1/2 oz 3/4 oz Mesquite Bean Syrup)
1/3 Canadian Club Whisky. (1/3 oz Rittenhouse Bonded)
1 Dash Angostura Bitters. (1 dash Angostura Bitters)
1 Dash Orange Bitters. (1 dash Regan’s Orange Bitters)
3 Dashes Absinthe. (3 dash Absinthe)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel on top.

Out of Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup, so instead substituting Mesquite Bean Syrup, which is made by extracting the juice from the mesquite bean pods that grow abundantly in the deserts of the southwestern United States.

As usual, in cocktails sourced from Harry McElhone’s 1928 “ABC of Cocktails”, that Harry Calls for Rye Whiskey instead of the Savoy Cocktail Book’s Canadian Club.

Such a long ingredient list, you just sort of wonder what was going on in the head of the person who threw all this together. Had they had a Sazerac many years ago and were attempting to recreate the flavor with ingredients they had at hand?

There is an interesting and somewhat unexpected spiciness, reminiscent of fruitcake. Still, there is no way this is anything other than way too sweet, even well stirred.

Spatchcock that chicken.

Really, I just like to say, “Spatchcock”. It’s probably a character flaw.

But it really is an awesome way to flatten out a chicken and roast it evenly. Works for Turkeys too!

The Roast Chicken with bread salad from Zuni Cafe, no matter how literally you take Judy Rodgers’ crazily detailed instructions, is a truly awesome presentation. One of the best dishes from that generation of chefs. Roast a chicken. Then deglaze your pan with wine and a little vinegar. Adjust seasonings. Fill a bowl with bitter greens, like Arugula, add some freshly toasted croutons. Pour the warm dressing over the greens and croutons and toss to combine. Serve your roast chicken pieces on top. So tasty!

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.

Yolanda Cocktail

First, just a reminder that Sunday, Feb 27, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders (and me) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

The countdown to the last “Cocktail” continues.

Say it with me, “SEVEN!”

Yolanda Cocktail
1 Dash Grenadine. (1 splash Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
1 Dash Absinthe (1 dash Duplais Verte Absinthe)
1/4 Dry Gin. (3/4 oz Martin Miller’s Gin)
1/2 Italian Vermouth. (1 1/2 oz Carpano Antica)
1/4 Brandy. (3/4 oz Osocalis Alambic Brandy)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass. (Squeeze Lemon Peel over glass and drop in.)

Yolanda sez to the barkeep, “You know, this Victor Cocktail is good, but it would be better with Grenadine and Absinthe.” And you know what? She was right, it is better with a dash of Absinthe and Grenadine.

Something about the herbal character of the Absinthe and touch of sweetness and tanin from the Grenadine pulls this together in a way that the Victor doesn’t even approach.

Raise a glass to Yolanda, whomever she may have been!

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.

Yokohama Cocktail

First, just a reminder that Sunday, Feb 27, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders (and me) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

The countdown to the last “Cocktail” continues.

Say it with me, “EIGHT!”

Yokohama Cocktail
1 Dash Absinthe. (1 dash Duplais Absinthe Verte)
1/6 Grenadine. (1/2 oz Grenadine)
1/6 Vodka. (1/2 oz Awamori)
1/3 Orange Juice. (1 oz Orange Juice)
1/3 Dry Gin. (1 oz Beefeater’s Gin)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Well, it does have a Japanese name, so I figured I should mix this with Japanese “Vodka”.

The Japanese were another culture which, as far as anyone knows, did not discover distillation until it was introduced from abroad.

The Japanese, being a particularly closed society for much of its history, were pretty late to the game, with the earliest written records showing up some time in the mid-1500s.

Distillation was probably introduced via the slightly looser federation of Islands to the South of Japan. These Islands were often in flux between Indonesia and Japan, so developed a more independent spirit and had contact with the various traders plying those waters. Like the Scottish Highlands, each Island would often have a distillery and a specialization.

Among the oldest traditions of Distilled spirits in the Islands near Japan are those of the Islands around Okinawa. Usually made from Rice, the Okinawan Spirits, called Awamori, are often aged for lengthy periods in clay jars.

While mildly flavored, this is really, by no stretch of the imagination anything near a “vodka”. With a good amount of character and flavor, this actually contributes far more than just Ethanol to the drink.

A close relative of the Monkey Gland, also from Harry McElhone’s 1928 “ABC of Cocktails”, the Yokohama is not bad. There is some interesting thing going on between the Grenadine, Orange and Awamori. I can see why people often mix Shochu with fruit juice!

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.

Yellow Parrot Cocktail

Yellow Parrot Cocktail
1/3 Absinthe. (3/4 oz Greenway Distiller’s Absinthe Superior)
1/3 Yellow Chartreuse. (3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse)
1/3 Apricot Brandy. (3/4 oz Blumme Marillen Apricot Eau-de-Vie)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

First off, there was no way I was making this cocktail as written, 2/3 liqueur and 1/3 Absinthe. Just NO way.

So, instead, I made it 1/3 liqueur, 1/3 booze, 1/3 Absinthe.

As such, it’s not exactly bad. I like the Blumme Marillen Apricot Eau-de-Vie, I like Yellow Chartreuse, and I like the Greenway Distillers Absinthe.

However, it is a pretty stiff drink, and, to be honest, it doesn’t quite pass the true test of a cocktail. “Does the combination of ingredients somehow elevate the drink beyond any of the single ingredients?”

Nope, instead of enjoying this rather bizarre combination, I kept thinking, “Greenway Distillers Absinthe and Water. Now, that would have been nice.”

Oddly, though, this drink does seem to have a bit of a “second life”, at least going from the number of websites it has been reproduced upon. Makes you wonder if anyone else is actually tasting the drinks they publish on their websites.

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.

Yellow Daisy Cocktail

Yellow Daisy Cocktail*
(6 People)
2 Glasses Gin. (1 oz Ransom Old Tom Gin)
2 Glasses French Vermouth. (1 oz Vermouth Perucchi Blanc)
1 Glass Grand Marnier. (1/2 oz Clement Creole Shrubb Orange Liqueur)
Before shaking add a dash of Absinthe. (1 dash Duplais Verte Absinthe)

*Not only the favourite drink, but also the one made famous, if not invented, by Richard William (” Deadwood Dick ”) Clark, recently deceased (84): onetime Custer scout, Pony Express rider, Deadwood Gulch stage coach guard, Inspiration for all the (64) Deadwood Dick novels of E. L. Wheeler ; friends off Wild Westerners, Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill, Poker Alice Tubbs, Calamity Jane, Madame Mustache and Diamond Dick Turner or Norfolk, Neb. : Clark is buried on Sun- rise Mountain overlooking Deadwood Gulch, S. Dak.

So, let me get this straight, this Gin drink, which probably came from Nina Toye and A.H. Adair’s 1925 “Drinks Long & Short” is a Cowboy drink?

I did my best to rough it up a bit, using the vaguely whiskey flavored Ransom Old Tom. I suppose I could have gone a bit further and used Anchor’s thoroughly rambunctious Genevieve Gin, but I killed that bottle trying to breath some life into the White Wings Cocktail.

On the other hand, this isn’t bad at all, along the lines of a Martinez. My notes for the drink were, “If this is what the Cowboys were drinking, count me in for some pony breaking.”

I was reading Ummamimart the other month, and Payman Bahmani wrote about Perucchi Vermouth from Catalonia: Happy Hour: Vermouth Perucchi. I was intrigued enough to comment on the post, and later when I wrote up the Turf Cocktail, I lamented the fact that Perucchi wasn’t available in the Bay Area. Shortly thereafter, David Driscoll commented on the post saying, “Uhhhhh…….we sell Perucchi at K&L. Just ask!” I guess between the time of Payman’s post and when I wrote about the Turf, unbeknownst to me, Perucchi had become available in the Bay Area. So ask I did, and shortly thereafter picked up a bottle of the Blanc and Red Vermouth from Perucchi.

Vermouth Perucchi is new to me. From what I can tell, they make three Vermouths: Red, Blanc, and Extra Dry. This is definitely the Blanc, not the Extra Dry. I really like it, but it is very much along the lines of a White Carpano Antica. Fairly sweet, with a strong vanilla element. Not as herbally intense as many of the Italian Bianco Vermouths, or even the Dolin Blanc. I’ve found myself drinking a lot of it with a splash of Cocchi Americano, or an Italian Amaro, and soda.

Anyway, the Perucchi Blanc works really well in the Yellow Daisy, complementing both the Clement Creole Shrubb Orange Liqueur and Ransom Old Tom.

Oh yeah, why not Grand Marnier? Laziness. I would have had to trek all the way down to the basement to track it down and the Creole Shrubb was handy. Well, also, Creole Shrubb just seemed a bit more Cowboy-esque, than Grand Marnier. Or at least Pirate-ey.

When I was mentioning the Yellow Daisy on the book of faces, Erick Castro made the amusing comment, “I love the Yellow Daisy. Especially, cause it’s not a daisy & not very yellow.”

Which got me thinking: Oh, uh, yeah. What’s the oldest Gin, French Vermouth, and Orange Bitters Cocktail recipe, predating the Martini? The Marguerite. What kind of flower is a Marguerite? Why it is a Yellow Daisy.

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.

Whizz-Bang Cocktail

First, just a reminder that Sunday, Jan 30, 2010, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders (and me) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Whizz-Bang Cocktail
2 Dashes Absinthe. (2 Dash Absinthe Duplais Verte)
2 Dashes Grenadine. (1 tsp. Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
2 Dashes Orange Bitters. (2 Dash Angostura Orange)
1/3 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)
2/3 Scotch Whisky. (1 1/2 oz Highland Park 8 Year Old, MacPhail’s Collection)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.
I suspect the source of this cocktail is Robert Vermiere’s 1922 recipe book, “Cocktails: How to Mix Them”. He notes, “Recipe by Tommy Burton, Sports’ Club, London, 1920. This cocktail is named after the high-velocity shells, so called by the “Tommies” during the war, because all you heard was a whiz and the explosion of the shell immediately afterwards.”

From the wikipedia article:

Tommy Atkins – or Thomas Atkins – has been used as a generic name for a common British soldier for many years. The precise origin is a subject of debate, but it is known to have been used as early as 1743. A letter sent from Jamaica about a mutiny amongst the troops says “except for those from N. America (mostly Irish Papists) ye Marines and Tommy Atkins behaved splendidly”. The surname Atkins means “little son of red earth”, a reference to the soldiers in their red tunics. Tommy (a diminutive of Thomas), meaning twin, has been a very popular English male name since Saint Thomas Becket was martyred in the 12th century.

For all the not so subtle menace implied by the name and the quote, this is a fairly easy going and drinkable cocktail. A sort of Rob Roy variation, the dry vermouth allows the Scotch to come more to the fore, even with the few embellishments. I got this Absinthe in a small tasting bottle a while ago, and am finding it pleasant, though a tad less assertive compared to other Absinthes I sometimes use. I suppose that isn’t entirely a bad thing for mixed drinks.

You sometimes get requests for Scotch Cocktails and there are not really all that many options. The Whizz-Bang would be a nice change up from the usual Bobby Burns, Rob Roy, Affinity, Blood and Sand, Laphroig Project, and Penicillin Cocktails.

Breaking News Update!

Between my making this cocktail and the post hitting the schedule, I heard from Craig Lane, of Bar Agricole. He wanted to put the cocktail on the menu there and was looking for source corroboration for the story related to its origin.

I provided the quote from Robert Vermeire and he asked if I was interested in the specifics of the version at their restaurant. Well, of course!

We decided to use the Sutton Cellars Brown Label vermouth, which synced up rather nicely with the palate of Famous Grouse. It was one of those recipes that didn’t require much tweaking after that. 1.5 oz Scotch, .75 oz Sutton Vermouth, 1 barspoon Grenadine, 2 dash Orange Bitters (ours), 2 dash Absinthe (Leopold’s).

Clearly a field trip to check out the Bar Agricole version is in order!

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.